The Night Agent – The Dark Secrets of the White House in a Conventional Spy Thriller

SERIES REVIEW – Netflix’s new action thriller series follows an FBI agent who investigates a deadly conspiracy after a mysterious phone call. It’s a fast-paced, tense, action-packed spy thriller, and while the genre’s obligatory clichés and a protagonist who initially seems a bit like a “mafia James Bond” can be a bit of a letdown, if you persevere you’ll get a pretty good Netflix spy thriller for your time.



A new thriller series based on the novel by Matthew Quirk has recently been added to Netflix. The action thriller, The Night Agent, follows a low-level FBI agent, Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso), who works in the basement of the White House handling a phone that never rings; until the night it rings, and Peter gets caught up in a conspiracy that leads all the way to the office of the President. The series consists of ten episodes, and so far, critical reviews have been mixed.



The call that changes everything


The Night Agent’s greatest strength is its tension-building and pacing. The series plunges the viewer into the action in the very first episode, when Peter receives a call from a secret informant who claims to know who is trying to kill the President. Peter has no choice but to help the unknown man whose life is in danger. Thus begins a thrilling chase in which Peter must confront not only his enemies, but also his own past and conscience. The story cleverly doles out information and twists that keep you interested and intrigued. The actors are also believable in their characters, especially Gabriel Basso, who convincingly plays the idealistic and courageous FBI agent, who is otherwise rather clichéd.

The series starts the story not only with a simple bomb plot, but also with a complex political conspiracy. The plot gradually unravels the mystery of who might be behind the assassination and why they want to assassinate the president. The narrative does not shy away from trying to ‘shock’ with surprising and not very realistic twists and turns that ‘fundamentally shake the expectations and assumptions of the audience’ (at least that was the intention, but the experienced thriller viewer will probably soon realise the ‘nonsense’.) Although the realism has gone down the drain, the story is at least able to maintain tension and suspense throughout the season. The series presents events not only from Peter’s point of view, but also from other characters who are connected to the story in different ways. This way the viewer gets more information than Peter, but not so much that we start to get bored.

Another attraction of The Night Agent is its depiction of political intrigue and corruption. The series gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the White House and reveals the power relationships and interest groups that influence the fate of the country. The story does not shy away from touching on topical issues such as Russian influence and climate change. Among the characters in the series are some who do not always play fair or loyal. One example is Hong Chau as Rose Tucker, the cybersecurity expert who becomes Peter’s sidekick in the investigation. Rose doesn’t always tell Peter the truth, or herself, and has her own agenda.



The trap of clichés


The Night Agent fails to break out of the clichés of the political thriller genre, often using clichés and predictable scenes that have become boring or trite. The characters are not well developed or original, and often behave in illogical or implausible ways. The story does not deal with important issues such as civil rights or national security, but rather tries to portray different ethnicities and gender identities in a politically correct way.

On the other hand, The Night Agent has many elements and situations that we have seen many times in other similar thrillers. For example, the phone call from a secret informer, the White House traitor, the Russian assassins, the bombing, the escape from the FBI, the cyber war, etc. With these elements, the series does not manage to surprise or innovate, but rather follows tried and tested recipes and patterns.

The characters are also not given enough depth or motivation, but rather portrayed in a superficial or clichéd way. Examples include Peter Sutherland, a typical good guy hero whose father was a traitor; Rose Larkin, a brilliant hacker daughter with no boyfriend; Diane Farr, a mysterious White House boss with her own agenda; etc. The story does not even address the characters’ state of mind or emotions, but rather just encourages them to act. Because of the superficially developed, clichéd characters, The Night Agent quickly loses both its human aspect and empathy and we care little for the fate of the heroes.



The power of entertainment


Of course, The Night Agent is far from being an in-depth or sophisticated thriller, but it doesn’t try to be. The creators aim to entertain the audience with a fast-paced and exciting story that doesn’t require too much thinking or feeling. This goal is achieved, as the spectacular action and chase scenes, the twisty plot and the well-portioned pacing keep the attention riveted. The series does not strive for realism or authenticity, but rather to be enjoyable and entertaining, providing light and pleasant entertainment for those who like political thrillers.

At the same time, The Night Agent does not take itself too seriously, nor does it attempt to explain or justify the many logical lapses or coincidences that litter the story. Instead, it relies on the audience to turn off their brains and enjoy the show. The creators are not even trying to convey some sort of The Three Days of the Vulture-level larger message or message, but the goal was just pure entertainment to brighten up a boring evening or relax after a long day. This series is nothing more or less than what it appears to be: a well-made action thriller with no greater ambition or purpose.



Going out for one night


The Night Agent is a mixed-quality Netflix thriller that doesn’t aim too high, but what the creators set out to do, it largely delivers. It builds tension and pacing with real skill, has a good cast, and is a fascinating look at the dark side of the White House and political intrigue. However, its clichéd and formulaic script and its superficial and clichéd characters prevent it from really standing out or making a lasting impression. The series does not take itself seriously, nor does it question important issues, but is rather an entertaining and fast-paced action thriller with no greater ambition or message.




The Night Agent

Direction - 6.8
Actors - 8.2
Story - 5.8
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.2
Ambience - 7.2



The Night Agent is a Netflix series that follows an FBI agent who investigates a deadly conspiracy after a mysterious phone call. The series is a thrilling and suspenseful action thriller that reveals the dark secrets of the White House. However, the series fails to stand out or make a lasting impression with its clichéd and formulaic script and its superficial and clichéd characters. The series is a light and pleasant diversion for those who like political thrillers.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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