Quite frankly you could just tune into the immaculate opening credits of The Night Manager and switch off right there feeling perfectly satisfied.
But then you would miss so much: a superb cast, exotic locales, a cinematic score and a thrill-ride from this knockout BBC series.
The Night Manager is money on the screen. Expect nothing less from a John le Carré novel, the first to hit the small screen in almost 30 years, for this 6 part series.
At the centre of the story is Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) a dashing former Brit soldier now working the late shift at Nefertiti Hotel in Cairo. In the middle of the Arab Spring revolts he endeavours to keep his hotel guests safe. Not much fazes him. But when Sophie Alekan (Aure Atika), the mistress of the hotel’s owner Freddie Hamid (David Avery), discloses a list of arms sales to arms dealer Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) he leaks the information to the British government -via an ambassador played by Russell Tovey.
The information makes its way to Angela Burr (Olivia Colman), a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service. She has been after Roper for years and warns Pine that Sophie is in danger. More lover than fighter, or hotel receptionist for that matter, Pine is drawn to the alluring Sophie -a scenario that won’t end well given the power plays that are going on.
Suffice to say Angela will convince Pine to infiltrate the world of Roper in order to bring him down. To do this he must set up a fake identity and leave a trail of criminal activities that look convincing enough for A-grade baddies to believe him.
The backdrop to this espionage is vast. Over the course of just two episodes we already traverse 5 years and scenes in Cairo, London, Mallorca, the Swiss Alps and Devon. There are speed boats, aerial shots, heists, and getting the girl in just 25 minutes in. Pure spy stuff, geddit?
While the first episode is clearly putting its house of cards in place, the second episode really propels the plot, including with a terrifying opening sequence. The timeline is somewhat confusing in episode two as it flashes back without any identification.
Tom Hiddleston is smouldering in the central role, ticking both the macho and intelligence boxes -no wonder his name has been touted as a potential James Bond as a result of this role. Olivia Colman, who dazzled in Broadchurch, brings a dimensional performance to this action tale. Hugh Laurie is suitably detestable as the high-flying businessman and family man dealing in blood money. Australian Elizabeth Debicki is alluring as his mistress. The cast will also feature Tom Hollander and David Harewood.
The script by David Farr (Spooks, Outcasts) has updated John le Carré’s 1993 novel to modern day, but it steps up as a smart, contemporary thriller that promises twists, action and romance.
With a BBC budget to boot, what more could you want?
The Night Manager airs 8:30pm Sundays on BBC First.