‘The Night Manager’ review: Episode 5 is gripping and emotionally fraught

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It’s the penultimate episode this week and there are a number of shocks in a tense, gripping and emotionally fraught instalment.

As Roper’s team make their way to the Haven, the question of how Angela got hold of the incriminating documents hangs in the air. ‘Anyone can betray anyone,’ Roper tells Jonathan whose part in the on-going events has become ever more complicated. Fearing his game might be up, Jonathan resolutely denies any involvement and it seems his secret is safe. For now.

Roper plays the part of generous philanthropist in scenes that closely parallel the current real-life refugee crisis. He pretends to give out international aid but it’s just a delicately timed act of theatre to disguise his true intentions. Roper’s mind lingers on the threat of his exposure, however, and even Sandy feels a hint of his wrath.

When Mr Barghati arrives in the midst of the desert the scene is set for the most monumental of all showpieces. There’s no denying the immense authority Roper feels as they watch the impressive display of weaponry light up the horizons. ‘We are Emperors of Rome…blood and steel, the only elements that ever meant anything.’ If you weren’t awed by Hugh Laurie’s masterful performance before, by the end of this hour you will be completely transfixed. And maybe just a teeny bit scared too.

A distressed Angela learns that following the withdrawal of funding; Operation Limpet is to be closed down. With Joel recalled to Washington time is running out for Angela to make the biggest catch of her career. Increasing the tension is Dromgoole who offers a dire warning: “For your own safety do not get in the way.”

In his determination to uncover the traitor in his flock, Roper sends for Corky and Jed to join them. After Roper subjects Jed to a gruelling interrogation, Jonathan finally admits his true identity and carefully coerces her into laying the blame at Corky’s feet. It’s easy to finger Corky whose fall from grace has been so deliciously orchestrated thus far.

Jonathan discovers the true effect of Roper’s firework display when he sneaks out of the camp to deliver a message to Istanbul. However, Jonathan risks more than his exposure when Corky catches him climbing back through the fence. As their mutual dislike for one another reaches breaking point the ensuing fight results in Corky’s demise. Turning the situation around, Jonathan delivers one last ignominy for the unfortunate Corky.

When Jonathan’s message successfully reaches Angela she realises they have to act fast if they’re to have any hope of stopping Richard Roper. She immediately contacts Joel who secures military authorisation to search the convoy before it crosses the Syrian border. But Roper’s game of cat and mouse is one step ahead and the inspection finds only agricultural equipment. As an irate Joel decides Jonathan duped them have they missed their last chance to catch Roper in the act?

After Angela finds her house ransacked and her husband brutally attacked it appears Dromgoole has delivered on his earlier warning. Back in Turkey, Roper phones Hamid and they make their way to Egypt. Jonathan is brought full circle back to the Nefertiti Hotel as we prepare to enter the final chapter.

Episode 5 is perhaps the most viscerally shocking so far and indicates a drama saving its biggest punches for last. Whilst Tom’s Hiddleston and Hollander remain impressive, it’s Hugh Laurie’s towering presence that seizes the hour.


Aired at 9pm on Sunday 20 March 2016 on BBC One.

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