New Netflix Drama Series Skyrockets to No. 1 Immediately Following Premiere

Less than one week into its run on Netflix, The Night Agent has shot up to the number 1 slot on the streamer's charts. At the time of this writing, the spy thriller series has been the number 1 series on Netflix in the U.S. every day since its release – and in many other countries as well. Some critics are completely perplexed by this performance.

The Night Agent stars Gabriel Basso as Peter Sutherland, an FBI agent chosen to monitor the top secret Night Action phone line in the White House. Its cast is populated with talented actors, but no universally recognized household names that you might expect to bring this kind of audience in. It is based on a novel by author Matthew Quirk and was created for TV by Shawn Ryan – known for co-creating other action thrillers like S.W.A.T. Even behind the camera, it doesn't look like name recognition is responsible for The Night Agent's instant success.

Instead, a great deal of credit likely goes to the heart-stopping trailer, where Agent Sutherland single-handedly saves a subway car full of people from a bomb threat before being offered his job as a telephone operator. The show promises intrigue and conspiracy but with an emphasis on the personal, not the political. Whether it delivers is another question – remember that Netflix's metrics count incomplete viewings in many cases.

Of course, the success of the show is also likely due to existing fans of Quirk's book. The 42-year-old writer worked as a journalist who reported on crime and terrorism for years before publishing his first novel in 2012. The Night Agent was his fifth book, and he has published three more since. His first two books are a series following a hero named Mike Ford, while his third and fourth books are a series following John Hayes. The three books he has written since The Night Agent are all marketed as "stand-alone books," but in 2019 Quirk hinted that he may write more books about Agent Peter Sutherland in the future.

"While out on a walk a whole arc for him and Rose popped into my head, so we'll see," Quirk said in an interview with Criminal Element. "I'd love to spend more time with those two."

A successful TV adaptation may be just the push Quirk needs to start working on that next book, but he will have to act fast to meet Netflix's typical renewal schedule. For now, The Night Agent is streaming on Netflix and Quirk's books are available in print, digital and audiobook formats.