What Happens In 'The Little Drummer Girl' The Book? The John Le Carre Novel Is A Tense, Political Spy Drama
Are you hungrily awaiting tonight's premiere of the BBC's The Little Drummer Girl, a follow-up of sorts to 2016's The Night Manager? Are you already impatient to discover how the plot pans out, or curious as to whether the miniseries will deviate from the 1983 John le Carré novel? Those craving spoilers (and there are complete and unsparing spoilers ahead) are in luck; read on to discover what happens in The Little Drummer Girl book.
The six-part BBC adaptation is directed by Park Chan-wook; his previous masterworks include Oldboy and The Handmaiden. The cast is led by Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon, and Alexander Skarsgård, and also features rising British star Simona Brown, Michael Moshonov, Amir Khoury, and Max Irons.
Unlike the BBC's adaptation of The Night Manager — which replaced the 1990s of the le Carré novel with the present day — The Little Drummer Girl stays faithful to the novel's 1970s setting, according to the Guardian. Seems likely, then, that the miniseries will keep the major plot points of the novel intact. Depart the article here or forge onwards for thorough spoilers, readers!
The novel is set in the late 1970s, amidst a series of bombings killing prominent Jewish people across Europe. Israeli intelligence agent Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon) identifies Palestinian revolutionary Khalil (Charif Ghattas) as the perpetrator, developing an elaborate plan to track him down. That plan necessitates the recruitment of Charlie Ross, a struggling actress with a history of left-wing activism whose career has never matched up to her talent.
On holiday in Greece, Charlie meets and falls for the mysterious Joseph — an alias used by Israeli agent Gadi Becker. Through Becker, Charlie is recruited into the hunt for Khalil, promised a role her underwhelming stage career could never offer her. She's convinced to pose as the girlfriend of Khalil's younger brother, Salim (Amir Khoury), who Kurtz is holding captive. With Becker acting as Salim (to the pain and confusion of Charlie, who is in love with Becker), the pair strew conspicuous evidence of the fake relationship across Europe. Salim is killed in a staged car crash, and Khalil's network, as intended, subsequently reach out to his "girlfriend."
Charlie acts as a devoted recruit to the Palestinian cause, inching ever closer to Khalil as she does so. During her training, she spends time in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon; confronted with the plight of the refugees, her loyalties begin to waver. Still, she carries out her mission: she takes on an assignment from Khalil to plant a bomb at a lecture by a noteworthy Israeli speaker, leading Khalil to the Israeli agents, who kill him. Her role complete, Charlie experiences a breakdown.
The Little Drummer Girl airs on BBC One tonight, at 9 p.m., and from a quick glance at the surrounding media, expectations are pretty high. After all, The Night Manager raked in three Golden Globes, two Emmys, three BAFTAs, and a host of nominations on top. Will The Little Drummer Girl achieve the same?