In the book, enforcement agency head Burr is a man, Leonard. In the TV series, Burr is Angela played by Olivia Colman.
The woman lives for one thing: to bring down arms dealer Roper. Such focus and intensity is driven home on screen by a heavily pregnant Burr. Angela’s faced with betrayal and lack of support from the bullies at the establishment and the resulting stress and weariness are seen on her face and weary bodily movements. Each time I watched her stressing out, I feared her waters would break. But thank goodness it doesn’t. That’s when audiences realize that beneath the seeming fragility is someone made of stronger stuff.
Although she is part of this sort of boys club and world of espionage by working for the government, she hasn’t got many friends in this world because she is resolutely honest – and that has really annoyed some of her slightly dodgier comrades.
She has been…desperately trying to get funds to do what she thinks is right. I love that she never seems to compromise and won’t be bullied.
She finds in Jonathan Pine, the hotel night manager, commonality in values and promptly recruits him. In the book, Burr, having headhunted Pine, goes the extra mile to take good care of his recruit. So does Angela, like one mother toward her child. Even when everybody she trusts feared Pine had crossed to the other side or playing for both, she went with her gut and continued to believe in him. This arc is what makes this book of Le Carre’s unique. In his other books and other books on espionage, operations go awry because recruits are discredited and dropped off mid-ops by their recruiters. But, Burr
…she’s put him in this dangerous situation and she’ll do anything to make sure he’s OK.
Overall, I liked that a woman took on the role of Burr. And that the miniseries producers were OK with a powerful woman being pregnant. It sends out the message that women, pregnant or not, in highly-demanding and challenging work such as in intelligence bring to it the same level of dedication, skill, and knowledge as do her male counterparts PLUS the add-ons that only women could provide.
*Source: The Night Manager’ interview: Olivia Colman on playing Angela Burr, Cultbox