There are definitely some folks who would say a good guy is just a bad guy with better PR. A misunderstood mastermind, if you will. Such is the belief of the man at the center of AMC’s latest mini-series, The Night Manager. Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) is an international businessman who simply plays the part, using his wealth to aid refugees around the world as a sort of good-guy armor. Only… his company’s real deal is a far more nefarious, deeply hidden and removed arms trade, under a guise so tight that his empire might only be exposed by the likes of a fancy hotel’s night manager (there it is!) named Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), with an underestimated and scrappy British intelligence agent, Angela Burr (Olivia Colman), at his side. (But to get into all the nitty-gritty details of all that would spoil it for you.)
The real icing on this already truly superb espionage cake (not yet slated for next season of the Great British Bake-Off as far as I know) is hearing Roper justify his life and choices—another of his flaws being the way he treats and interacts with those he loves and has around him, like girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) and second in command Corky (Tom Hollander). Relationships roll and tussle with equal abandon in what ends up a blisteringly good adaptation of John le Carré’s novel of the same name. (If you’re a fan of any sort of spy shenanigans, it should be added to your watch-list immediately. Like, seriously, what are you doing? It premieres Tuesday, April 19 at 10PM on AMC!)
And it is with all that in mind we drew up a list of our own favorite misunderstood masterminds in popular culture, and asked the cast of The Night Manager they thought these baddies were truly misunderstood… or just plain bad. From Roper to Thanos to Snape and, yes, even Loki, we got honest thoughts from experts on just this sort of character appraisal.
To hear more of the cast’s thoughts on this adaptation, be sure to check out the rest of the interview below. And stay tuned for another video where the cast breaks down what their secret spy identities would be.
Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor of Nerdist. Find her on Twitter (@alicialutes).