The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel

To the uninitiated, The Night Agent is one of Netflix’s most-viewed series. Released on March 23, 2023, the thriller television series is based on Matthew Quirk’s book of the same name. With engaging action and commendable performances, the show is one to watch.

However, as most on-screen adaptations of books do, The Night Agent also strays away from its original story. Though it is nothing as major and disastrous as the movie adaptations of the first two Percy Jackson books, the changes are particularly essential to book readers.

From the metro attack in The Night Agent to the show’s second season, there are several significant deviations from the original book of the same name written by Matthew Quirk. Let us delve right into them!

10. The Metro Attack at the Beginning of the Season

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Peter Sutherland in The Night Agent

Though Quirk’s Night Agent also begins with a metro attack, the perpetrator of the assault, its method, and the fatalities caused differ from the show.

The Night Agent pulls its viewers in with an attack on the metro at the show’s beginning. Though this has been adapted from the book, the series has only a single fatality due to a bombing on the metro conducted by Vice President Redfield and a Navy SEAL-turned-business man Gordon Wick.

In the book, Quirk’s Peter Sutherland is also on the metro as the attack happens, though it is a cyber-attack orchestrated by the Russian government and Dianne Farr. It results in the death of 21 people. In the series, Peter is able to foil the attack by getting everyone off the train and then spots the attacker.

9. The Target of the Metro Attack

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Peter in another still from The Night Agent

As the attacker of the metro attack changes in the Night agent series, so does the attack’s target. An assault with a political agenda switches into an attack against a terrorist for business gains.

In the book, the attack on the metro is planned to make President Travers’ opponent, the former head of Homeland Security, look weak. The assault is made to swing votes in favor of Travers as it would imply that the Russian government has access to the US government through Farr.

In Netflix’s series, however, Redfield and Wick conduct the metro bombing in an attempt to assassinate suspected terrorist Omar Zadar by making it look like an unrelated terrorist attack. The perpetrators’ aim to secure Zadar’s political opponent’s position as he pays Wick billions for military equipment.

8. Farr’s Involvement in the Metro Attack

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Diane Farr in The Night Agent

Quirk’s novel The Night Agent had Diane Farr as the central character causing the metro attack and the conspiracy Peter is unraveling. However, in the show, she becomes a character solely trying to protect the President and Travers’ political position.

Farr’s character changes when moving from the book to the series, as she is no longer involved in the attack from the beginning. She is only brought in later to help Redfield cover up what happens. On the other hand, in the book, she is the prime perpetrator but with different motivations.

She is not innocent in the series either but her degree of involvement in the entire plot changes. The action series also cast the President as a target alongside Zadar, a new element of Wick and Redfield’s plan that Farr was unaware about.

7. The Assassins in The Night Agent

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Ellen in The Night Agent

Quirk’s The Night Agent had a single assassin Dimitri Sokolov who murders Rose’s Aunt and Uncle and kicks off Peter’s story. However, the series has two assassins working together, and their storyline within the larger plot.

Sokolov’s character is now two: Dale and Ellen. They are in a relationship and are on their hunt for Peter and Rose. The series explores their lives and histories, and the audience understands their plans, reasons, and journey. 

This gives the characters more substance and relatability, and they may recur throughout the series in prime roles.

6. Maddie and Chelsea

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
A scene from The Night Agent

Simply said, Maddie and Chelsea do not exist in Quirk’s novel The Night Agent. The book does not mention the Vice President; thus, his family finds no place in the plot, while Maddie and Chelsea are essential characters in the series.

In Netflix’s The Night Agent, Maddie Redfield is the Vice President’s daughter while Chelsea is her Secret Service detail. Maddie is kidnapped, and this motivates the metro bombing.

Chelsea also plays a vital role in the series as she is the one who protects Zadar on the day of the bombing and also helps save Maddie and the President from Redfield and Wick.

These new characters and a different plotline were added to create a story suitable for a TV series.

5. The Metro Bomber’s Story

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Another scene from The Night Agent

With all the changes from the book about the metro attack and its causes, the metro bomber’s and Mattheo’s storyline also changes in Netflix’s The Night Agent. This change supports Maddie’s plot line and adds more repercussions to the bombing.

After everything is in order for the bombing, Redfield and Wick try to have Mattheo killed, but by accident kill his twin brother. An enraged Mattheo then enlists his boyfriend’s help to kidnap Maddie for a ransom.

This entire subplot is different from the book and was added to provide enough substance to the story for a TV show.

4. Peter’s Father’s Story

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Peter Sutherland in another scene from The Night Agent

Though Peter’s father, Sutherland Sr., is accused of treason in both the book and series, it is not a motivation for Peter in any way. Peter is not a part of the FBI, nor is he trying to clear his father’s name in the book.

In the series, Peter’s motivation to be in the FBI is to clear his father’s name, as he was accused of leaking US secrets to the Russian government. However, in the novel, not much more than the accusation against Sutherland Sr. is present, and he remains shrouded in mystery.

The series, however, also gives Peter a chance at redemption at the end as he agrees to become a triple agent for the US government.

3. Peter’s Godfather

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
A scene from The Night Agent starring Gabriel Basso and Luciane Buchanan

In Quirk’s book, Peter’s godfather is a Russian asset who influences Sutherland Sr. into becoming a Russian spy. However, in the series, he is a journalist who reports on Sutherland’s treason, making his relationship with Peter strained.

In the novel, The Night Agent, Peter’s godfather, Gideon, is not a character on the good side. Though they are not close, the book does not provide a reason for the same.

However, in the series, his godfather is Jim Wilson, a good man. Yet, as Peter believes his father to be innocent, he does not have a good relationship with Wilson. There’s more character depth to Peter’s godfather in the series than in the books.

2. The Ending of The Night Agent

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Rose Larkin in The Night Agent

At the end of the Netflix series, The Night Agent, Peter saves Travers’ life, and Renfield and Wick are discovered. He learns about his father’s stint as a Russian Spy through a confessional video. However, the book ends here as Peter and Rose drive off from The White House.

In the series, Sutherland Sr.’s confession does not end there. He is further shown to become a triple agent before his death in an untimely car crash. Peter also redeems his father’s actions by becoming a Night Agent. The series ends as Rose sees him fly out for his first mission.

1. The Night Agent Season 2

The Night Agent: 10 Major Changes from the Original Novel
Gabriel Basso acts as Pether Sutherland in The Night Agent

The Netflix series The Night Agent has been renewed for a second season in its first week of release. However, the novel The Night Agent, on which it is based, is not a series; thus, the show will see new characters and plotlines in its next season.

Quirk’s The Night Agent is a standalone with Peter’s and Rose’s journey from the White House being unpenned and unknown. However, as the series’s second season has been promised, we will see a new story with the characters established in the first season.

New faces are also bound to appear with new ideas for the plot. Peter has become a Night Action agent, and the following season could explore his many upcoming missions. The forthcoming season will be the most significant deviation from the book ever, as there is no more story to adapt.

Stay tuned to Cine Dope for the latest updates on The Night Agent!

About The Night Agent

The Night Agent is an American action thriller television series created by Shawn Ryan based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quirk. Starring Gabriel Basso in the title role, it premiered on Netflix on March 23, 2023.

The series emerged as the third-most-viewed debuting series on Netflix in its first four days, and within a week it was renewed for a second season. Within three weeks, it became the streamer’s ninth-most-viewed series.

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Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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