Last year’s lavishly-set miniseries The Night Manager was an impressive and slick television event. Adapting the 1993 novel of the same name by the iconic English espionage author John le Carré, the miniseries, a joint intercontinental offering from the BBC and AMC, starred Tom Hiddleston as an ex-soldier-turned hotelier who is thrust into the world of an amoral arms dealer played by Hugh Laurie. While its six-episode run did come to a seemingly satisfying conclusion, fans will be delighted to hear that a second season could, nevertheless, be on the horizon.
A writer has now been hired to have a crack at extending the story. Matthew Orton, who won a BBC young writers’ competition in 2012 and has been moving onwards and upwards ever since, is the man producing studio The Ink Factory have tapped for the job. He’s currently also working on Reason Of State, a 10 Downing Street political thriller from Black Bear Pictures.
Earlier in the year, a joint statement from The Ink Factory and broadcasters AMC and the BBC announced that a prospective second series of The Night Manager was in early stages of development. Said statement also quickly pointed out that no commitment had been made to produce series 2, with the triumvirate stating that “nothing is definite yet and we have nothing to announce.” However, it did somewhat corroborate what series 1 director Susanne Bier told Broadcast – that a series 2 script was “slowly being developed.”
The Night Manager utilised elegant aesthetics and suspenseful action, put through the lens of top-notch performances from a spectacular cast, with stars Hiddleston and Laurie supported by names like Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Debicki, Tom Hollander, Alistair Petrie, Adeel Akhtar and Tobias Menzies. It also reaped awards season riches, earning Primetime Emmys for director Susanne Bier and Victor Reyes’ musical score. The Golden Globes, however, yielded performance accolades, with wins for Tom Hiddleston (Best Actor), Hugh Laurie (Best Supporting Actor) and Oliva Colman (Best Supporting Actress).
While series 1 of The Night Manager played out the events of the book, it did so with notable changes to the ending, seemingly delivering apparent just desserts to Laurie’s arms dealer Richard Roper as he’s whisked away by his cheated terrorist clientele; a stark contrast to the character’s more auspicious fate in le Carré’s novel. Yet, even with the miniseries succumbing to a more saccharine happy ending, things were left open-ended enough to see the further travails of Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine for series 2. Of course, with such a task requiring the continuing compounding of anachronisms to le Carré’s source material, the risk runs higher of bastardising the integrity of the story. Director Bier offers a cautious caveat to Broadcast (via Variety) explaining:
“We all very much want to do a season two but the thing we absolutely do not want is to do something that does not live up to the level of season one. That would be a really bad idea.”
Of course, the aspect of ‘money talks’ will also come into play when it comes to the prospects for series 2. The miniseries aired in over 180 countries, garnered accolades and seemed to evoke a generally positive response, barring the tangential outrage from le Carré purists over its array of alterations. With big-name stars now enjoying the loose schedule of recurring limited event television, exemplified by Tom Hardy’s recently-renewed FX series Taboo, it’s quite feasible that The Night Manager could become an intriguingly sophisticated recurring small screen side hustle for Tom Hiddleston. Whether that ultimately happens remains to be seen.
More as we have it.