The Night Agent

The Night Agent

2023 - United States

Along with the cliched plot, everything about the show felt very much like a throwback to the early aughts

The Night Agent reviewed by Jennifer Ariesta

The Night Agent threw every possible spy genre trope to ever exist into 8 episodes of this mildly entertaining Netflix show. The show is adapted from a book of the same name by Matthew Quirk. Within weeks of its release, the show racked up such impressive viewerships that Netflix gave it an unusually quick renewal. Frankly, with all the political-espionage offerings on the service, it’s baffling that this is the one with the most success.

The Night Agent

The show is about Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso), a low-rank White House official whose sole job is manning a phone that never rings. Until it does. Soon, he’s thrown into the orbit of disgraced tech executive Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan), who’s suddenly being hunted by assassins sent by a mysterious figure connected to the White House. Together, the two go on the run while trying to uncover who and what’s behind her murder attempts.

The Night Agent

First of all, why do all espionage series feature a man and a woman against the world? The plot beats felt all too familiar: two really attractive people are thrown into an unprecedented circumstance while a bigger conspiracy is brewing behind the scene; they become hunted one way or another and must embark on a dangerous adventure across many different locations. Bond movies pioneered it, Bourne movies subverted it, Mission: Impossible eventually did away with it - there was really nothing new that this series could offer to the well-worn trope. And this is probably not the last we’ll see of a similar setup. Citadel, Amazon Prime’s upcoming spy thriller show, appears set to replicate the same formula with Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra. Oy vey!

Along with the clichéd plot, everything about the show felt very much like a throwback to the early aughts. The cinematography is cribbed straight from the Bourne movies - all shaky cams, greyish colour grading, and ominous vibe all around. The character dynamics, in which people with high-stake jobs are somehow romantically involved all the time, definitely gave off old CW/ABC shows energy. The latter could’ve been interesting in the hands of more expressive actors with better chemistry, but alas, that wasn’t the case.

The Night Agent

Speaking of the acting, The Night Agent is content with giving us serviceable performances out of the actors, with one notable exception named Hong Chau. At this point, I’m convinced that she is incapable of giving a terrible performance and her role as Peter’s White House handler is the only one keeping the series from being straight up corny.

The Night Agent

In a world after 24, The Bodyguard, and Homeland existed, the political conspiracy introduced on The Night Agent seemed redundant. You can’t tell me that the opening sequence on the train didn’t give off strong resemblance to the beginning of The Bodyguard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still well-plotted enough to enjoy on a lazy evening. Occasionally, the show displayed bursts of charm and wit that injected some energy into the whole affair. Just don’t expect to get blown away. 

Published on April 10th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Daisy Jones and the Six

Set in the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1970s, the series charts the ups and downs of a fictional rock band, partly inspired by Fleetwood Mac, through a documentary style series of interviews

Also released in 2023

I Spy

Spy thriller - the first to feature an African American alongside a white actor in a lead role.

Also tagged Spy Thriller

A Perfect Spy

Magnus Pym is a self-serving, unfeeling individual who leads a life of duplicity and betrayal.

Also tagged Spy Thriller

Poker Face

Stylish character driven murder mystery series, adapting the inverted detective story format popularised by Columbo, centred round a casino worker with a 'special talent', who goes on the run from her boss when he threatens to kill her

Also starring Hong Chau

Supernatural detective thriller set in an alternate version of present-day Britain where ghosts, who are deadly to the touch, are rising from their graves

Also released in 2023

The Callan File

We open the file on unwilling British government assassin David Callan.

Also tagged Spy Thriller

Kleo tv series

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a former East German spy resolves to find out who betrayed her and why — and use her lethal skills to exact revenge in this action thriller series that will appeal to fans of 'Killing Eve'

Also tagged Spy Thriller

Archangel

When a maverick academic attends a conference in Moscow about the newly opened Soviet Archives he uncovers a secret which could change the face of Russian history forever. A riveting British TV series that will keep you on the edge of your seat

Also tagged Spy Thriller

Chuck

Chuck Bartowski is stuck in a dead end job as a computer nerd. One day, he accidentally receives an email containing a software program full of government secrets that is downloaded into his brain. Chuck is about to enter into a world of spies, danger, and frenzy...

Also tagged Spy Thriller