The Night Agent (2023) is an action-packed 10-episode espionage thriller series adapted from the novel by the same name written by author Matthew Quirk.
Here’s the premise: While monitoring an emergency line, an FBI agent answers a call that plunges him into a deadly conspiracy involving a mole at the White House.
To borrow a line from the series’ main character, Special Agent Peter Sutherland, it’s way above my clearance to categorically deny with high certainty that a room in the basement of the White House manned by FBI agents does not exist. But I hope not.
Currently, there are American citizens who do not support the FBI, primarily because of their concerns that the agency has become politicized. It is therefore unnervingly ironic that everyone, including me, is hooked on a TV show where politics and the FBI are blatantly tied together. The series features an FBI where the Bureau, including the director, other leaders, and lower-level agents, meets regularly and takes direction from the president and her chief of staff.
An FBI control by the Administration is a frightening and unfathomable concept. Perhaps the Night Agent should be categorized as a horror show and an action thriller?
To calm my fear, as I watched the series, I repeated the mantra, “This is fiction. This is fiction. This is fiction.” And because I understand that, I could sit back and enjoy each pulse-raising scene, as the night agent follows his mission to protect Rose Larkin, a young cybersecurity genius. She’s the target of unknown assassins hellbent on killing her before she and SA Sutherland can thwart the next terrorism attack.
So, what teachable moments about FBI policies and procedures did I gleam from viewing The Night Agent? Plenty, when it comes to witness protection and witness retaliation.
Many believe witness protection is primarily the responsibility of the US Marshals Service. However, that’s not correct. Yes, the Marshals operate the Witness Security Program known as WITSEC and provide for the security and safety of government witnesses, and their immediate dependents, whose lives are in danger as a result of their testimony against drug traffickers, terrorists, organized crime members and other major criminals, besides apprehending fugitives and judicial security (excerpted from their website).
However, FBI agents also protect witnesses who are cooperating in FBI cases and preparing to testify at trial. When needed, the Bureau provides 24-hour security protection, relocates witnesses to safe housing, and provides them with transportation to court proceedings to assure they’re available to provide testimony.
If an FBI informant or witness is murdered to prevent them from testifying or in retaliation for them having provided testimony, the murder investigation falls under the FBI’s investigative jurisdiction.
Recently, I was texting with former Philadelphia Division colleague Steve Heaney (Episode 128) about The Night Agent. He likes the series, too. He told me about babysitting, I mean protecting, a mob associate scheduled to testify against the Philly LCN. Steve took the guy out to a diner to eat and watched as his protectee wolfed down his meal, and then insisted they rush back to the safe house. Steve assumed he was worried about his safety, but discovered later that the mob associate wanted to get back in time to catch that evening’s episode of The Sopranos. True story.
Learn more about how the FBI protects witnesses and investigates witness retaliation in these FBI Retired Case File Review episodes:
The Night Agent is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch the official trailer here.