Gabriel Basso (FBI Agent Peter Sutherland) led the ensemble cast of The Night Agent to achieve notable milestones that set the show apart as one of Netflix’s biggest successes. Created by Shawn Ryan, the American action thriller television series depicts a secret operation in the White House basement that metamorphosed into a quest to uncover a conspiracy about a mole with clues leading all the way up to the Oval Office. Sutherland, a low-level FBI agent must find the traitor presumed to be a top government official while protecting young entrepreneur Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan) from assassins.
Based on Matthew Quirk‘s novel of the same name, The Night Agent season 1 is a wrap with the show green-lit for a second season. The show premiered on March 23, 2023, to mostly positive reviews but the ending left a lot of mysteries and unanswered questions, a decent move to whet viewers’ appetite in anticipation for season 2. however, there are noticeable deviations from Quirk’s original novel in the series storyline. Apparently, Quirk’s novel didn’t have enough content to make a television series but Shawn Ryan came to the rescue with an idea he had for a movie. He joined the storylines together to turn The Night Agent into a series, thus the changes. However, the main characters – Sutherland and Larkin retain their status in both the book and on the show. From the metro bombing to the cliffhanger ending, here are some of the biggest changes The Night Agent made from the original storyline in the book.
The Inclusion of Maddie and Chelsea
To achieve a hit series with The Night Agent storyline, Shawn Ryan had to invent more characters to boost the ones in the book. The Vice President’s daughter Maddie Redfield (Sarah Desjardins) and the ambitious Secret Service agent Chelsea Arrington (Fola Evans-Akingbola) who leads Maddie’s security detail are some of the new characters created to make the show a success. Maddie was introduced to audiences in episode 3 with her kidnapping story linked to the metro bombing. Chelsea’s role in keeping Maddie and others safe is also vital to the success of the show. Additional characters invented by Ryan and his team include Ellen (Eve Harlow) and her partner Dale (Phoenix Raei).
The Metro Bombing
The showrunner put several twists and turns at the beginning of the series to spice things up. Both the book and TV show start with an attack on the metro with Peter Sutherland playing a key role as a witness. However, while the book begins with a cyber attack organized by the Russian government and Diane Farr (Hong Chau), the series takes off with a bomb attack on the metro disrupted by Peter Sutherland. Also, the attack in the book was successful, leading to the death of 21 people but there’s only one casualty in the series Sutherland was able to get everyone off the targetted train. The metro bombing in the series is orchestrated by Vice President Redfield (Christopher Shyer) and a Navy SEAL-turned-business man Gordon Wick (Ben Cotton) and not the Russian government like in the book.
Diane Farr’s Original Book Role
White House Chief of Staff Diane Farr is one of the key changes from the Night Agent book. Diane Farr is one main characters seen in Quirk’s book and the Netflix series. She is largely linked to the attack on the Washington Metro but with some significant changes. Unlike the book where Farr is directly behind the cyber attack in collaboration with the Russian government, she didn’t contribute to the planning of the attack in the series. However, she came into the picture to help Redfield and Wick cover things up after the attack failed. Farr’s motivation in the series is to protect the president and his administration but she has other motives in the book.
Peter Sutherland’s Motivations in the Night Agent Series
In the Netflix series, Peter Sutherland’s motive for joining the FBI is to clear his father’s name. Sutherland Sr., who was accused of leaking sensitive United States data to the Russian government has a more important role to play in the series storyline. However, while the book mentioned the treason allegedly committed by Peter Sutherland’s father, there is no mention of him joining the bureau to redeem the family name.
Shawn Ryan split the original villain in Quirk’s book into two to get Ellen and her partner, Dale. The original story in the book portrays one major villain, a Russian assassin identified as Dimitri Sokolove. The Russian assassin is responsible for the murder of Rose Larkin’s aunt and uncle in the book while the task is carried out by Ellen and Dale in the series. Ryan likened the two assassins to Bonnie and Clyde. According to the show creator, having only one assassin is not enough for a TV show, thus the split.
The Night Agent Series Ending Sees Major Changes from the Book
The Night Agent season 1 has come to an end and so did Quirk’s novel which is a standalone book. The show ends with President Travers (Kari Matchett) rewarding Peter Sutherland for saving his life by revealing the truth about his father. Sutherland learns how his father became a double agent and was on the verge of being a triple agent before tragedy struck. Travers then offers him a spot in the Night Action program and the show ends with Rose Larkin watching Sutherland fly off to accomplish an undisclosed mission. In the book, Sutherland also meets with the President in the White House for the same purpose. However, he drives off with Rose Larkin in the end. Overall, Netflix’s The Night Agent is a loose adaptation of Quirk’s novel, telling a different story with snippets from the premise and characters.