SPOILER WARNING: The following reveals major plot points from Season 1 of Netflix’s The Night Agent.
Gabriel Basso made his debut as FBI Agent Peter Sutherland this week in Netflix’s political drama The Night Agent, from creator Shawn Ryan. The role is a long way away from his days as a child star, working on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and ABC’s The Middle, before landing his breakout in Showtime’s The Big C, opposite Laura Linney at the age of 16.
As he set out on his journey of self-discovery and figuring out what his true passions are—with a few breaks from the entertainment industry in between—everything’s worked out as it should. And if he needs to pivot, he already has a Plan B.
Basso spoke to Leak Herald about taking on the role that could set him on the path of becoming a bonified action star, working with powerful women like Oscar nominee Hong Chau on the series, and what the future could look like for his character.
DEADLINE: Peter gets involved in some heavy-duty drama in Season 1 of The Night Agent. How did he get caught up in all of it?
GABRIEL BASSO: I think he was thrust into this position—it could’ve been someone else on shift. The fact that it was Peter is important because he’s the kind of person that doesn’t abandon his pursuit of truth in the face of adversity. I think this whole show is basically about: even if it offends your friend or Farr [Chau] or if everything is sort of crumbling around you, all you have is your values. That’ll put you into a position where you’re holding the gun to the President’s head—which is how he ends up in the finale. It never feels like he’s willing to compromise and not do the objectively right thing which I think is important.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Farr, she is one of many characters that keep you guessing about their involvement up until the very end, which adds to the viewer’s need to speed over to the next episode as soon as one finished.
BASSO: It was cool what Shawn and the writers did with Farr, with her not really being involved from the beginning of the plot. And so that leaves a little nuance for— what would you do in that situation? And is this an example of— is she actually a trader or was she just doing what she could with the hand she was dealt? I do think that people like Peter wouldn’t have made that call, they would have turned everyone in and gone down with the ship. So I think that’s where that cool conflict comes from, valuing this tangible world over your own values that are intangible and Farr definitely made the wrong choice.
DEADLINE: What was your experience like working with multiple strong women like Chau?
BASSO: My favorite part was how no one’s plot points or any side character felt like they were being artificially introduced. We worked in a way where one wasn’t taking from another, which I think was really cool and unique. All their strengths are complementary, and it’s not really one trying to outdo the other. When Peter’s weak, Rose [Luciane Buchanan] helped him out, and when Rose needs help, Peter’s there. If Farr needs an agent on the ground…she’s not doing it herself. All these different people are all strong and professional in their own way and no one’s stepping on anyone else’s toes. I think it was a really adept way of writing and portraying it.
Everything is so intertwined and necessary for this story to feel complete. I think by the end, despite there being sort of a cliffhanger as an ending, it’s very complete in itself. It doesn’t end with the audience feeling deprived of that satisfaction that it’s over and done. I think that took a lot of maturity on Shawn’s end, and the writers’ to complete their story before they start another one.
DEADLINE: Would you like to keep telling Peter’s stories?
BASSO: I would but I think the story in Season 1 is complete. All the loose ends are sort of tied up in a nice way. But I think that Peter has a lot more searching with what he knows now about his dad. I think yeah, it’d be interesting to see what happens to him because I almost think he would die. I almost think that you can’t have a sense of objective good in an environment where so many things are gray and lines are blurred and I think his taking a moral stance would be a detriment to him.
BASSO: He can’t die yet, he just got the girl!
BASSO: I don’t know if he gets her. I think getting implies that they both know their trajectory in life. And I think that kiss and those moments between them were all unique to the three days that the show was happening over. I think there’s a recognition between them as she’s watching the jet and he sort of looks back at her that this might be the last time they see each other. He’s at the hands of the government now and he does what he’s told in a super top-secret environment. Maybe out of love for her he won’t involve her in what he’s going through—you never know. What was so special about that relationship, I think is its impermanence in how temporary it was. They sort of met at rock bottom and they helped build each other back up and then it’s over. It might be, or it might not. I don’t know. In the context of the show, it’s a great relationship but you’d have to know how Peter and Rose’s life completely unfold to say that it’s a good thing.
DEADLINE: So if there is a Season 2, you don’t think they’d reconnect?
BASSO: I think out of love for one another and out of respect for Rose, maybe he won’t reach back out to her. Maybe he’ll recognize that if he did that it put her life in jeopardy. Reinvolving her and the danger is sort of out of love for her you probably wouldn’t.
DEADLINE: In the finale when you’ve saved the President’s life, she offers Peter anything he’d like. He asks for the truth about what happened to his father. While an important mystery, wouldn’t it have served him better to keep investigating on his own and ask for something like tax exemption for life?
BASSO: It’s funny that you say that because I did improve one line—no more income taxes! Tax exemptions for me and my friends. I think what he does ask for shows what he values and it reinforces what he puts importance on in his life, which is truth. I think that’s a big sort of character moment for him.
DEADLINE: Tell me about your journey from being a child actor to this moment right now as your new show is about to premiere.
BASSO: I took like seven-ish years off from acting, and I did a bunch of other stuff, real-world stuff that helped me a lot as a person. I think it’s interesting coming back to this business as an adult because you have so much more sovereignty as a human being and now all my life experiences have helped me put this business in the context of what it is. And I’m not under any illusion that this is anything else but clown world. It didn’t take me long and I think that’s a benefit of child acting. I looked around and I saw people that had been in it their whole life that were miserable and projecting their misery onto people. And I just sort of got to say, You know what? I don’t want to do that right now. I wanted to go get my stonemasons license, so now I’m a level one certified, dry stack waller. If there’s no Season 2, I’ll be walling.”
Season 1 of Netflix’s The Night Agent is available to stream now.