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The Night Manager’ delivers slick, engrossing espionage

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The charming spy: Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine in The Night Manager.

Three and a half stars

The Night Manager Tuesdays, 10 p.m., AMC.

Renowned spy novelist John le Carré has been served well by the latest adaptations of his work, and while The Night Manager isn’t quite as good as recent feature films Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and A Most Wanted Man, it comes pretty close. A joint production between AMC and the BBC, Night is a six-part miniseries adapting le Carré’s 1993 novel about a British ex-soldier who gets involved in an operation to bring down a high-level arms dealer.

Tom Hiddleston brings sophistication and charm to his portrayal of Jonathan Pine, who’s working at an upscale hotel when he falls for a woman who incurs the wrath of weapons tycoon Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Several years later, Pine gets the opportunity to avenge his beloved when a no-nonsense British intelligence operative (Olivia Colman) recruits him to go undercover in Roper’s organization.

Laurie never overplays the quietly menacing Roper, who makes for an effective and chillingly believable villain, and supporting actors Colman and Elizabeth Debicki (as Roper’s troubled girlfriend) are as memorable as the charismatic leading men, even if the show sometimes mishandles its female characters. Writer David Farr and director Susanne Bier make the undercover work and the spy-agency infighting equally riveting, sustaining the suspense all the way to the inevitable (if slightly disappointing) end.

Tags: Television
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