Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Night Agent's Creator Explains Why He Adapted The Book With Two Assassins

Book adaptations usually take some creative liberties with the source material in order for events, characters, and plots to be a bit easier to understand or follow, and it looks like Netflix's latest endeavor, "The Night Agent," is no different. Inspired by the book from author Matthew Quirk, "The Night Agent" focuses on Peter Sutherland (Gabriel Basso), whose quick thinking is able to save a subway train from a terrorist attack. For his efforts, he is given the task of being a Night Agent in a special division of the FBI. Unfortunately, Peter soon finds himself embroiled in a likely conspiracy, and unlike the book in which "The Night Agent" is based, Peter has not one, but two adversaries.

The reason for the shift from the book to TV is grounded in storytelling. In a recent interview with Deadline, "The Night Agent" showrunner Shawn Ryan explained the reasoning behind this decision. Ryan elaborated, "To have the sole assassin worried me. In a book, you can put the readers into the heads of the characters and you understand what they're thinking, why they're behaving. In a TV show, having this sort of lone assassin just silently moving through, I thought we won't really get to know much about that character. And in the TV/film world, I've seen a lot of sort of Russian bad guys."

The Night Agent showrunner wanted the show to focus on relationships

Showrunner Shawn Ryan's statement shows that the decision to change the lone assassin from the book "The Night Agent" to two in the Netflix adaptation is rooted in making sure the audience is able to understand the motivations and thought processes of the characters. Within a book, the narrator, or perhaps even the characters themselves, can explain what is going through their heads, but a version for television doesn't have this kind of liberty. By adding an accomplice, suddenly the former lone assassin gains much more depth.

Known as Dale (Phoenix Raei) and Ellen (Eve Harlow) in the Netflix iteration of "The Night Agent," these individuals act as antagonists and are the ultimate targets of FBI agent Peter Sutherland. Ryan also told Deadline that he wanted "The Night Agent" to explore interpersonal dynamics, and said, "One of the things that I really wanted to get into in this show was the idea of how men and women work together in different workplaces. If you look at the series, Peter and Rose have to develop a working relationship as they're on the run; Dale and Ellen, these killers, have this working relationship along with a personal relationship. Chelsea and Erik, the two Secret Service agents tasked with protecting Maddie, have to have this relationship." 

So, besides making the killer(s) in "The Night Agent" a bit easier to understand, it looks like the reason for the two assassins also stems from showrunner Ryan's focus on different types of relationships.