The Night Agent is Netflix's new TV show darling – but it won't surpass Stranger Things

Peter Sutherland looks concerned in The Night Agent on Netflix
The Night Agent racked up 100 million-plus hours viewed in its first week. (Image credit: Dan Power/Netflix)

Every so often, a new Netflix series comes out of nowhere and blows the competition away to stunning effect. Think Stranger Things, Wednesday, and Squid Game, and you'll get the idea.

Three months into 2023 and Netflix has another unexpected TV-based success to add to that roster. Step forward The Night Agent, a politically-charged action thriller that stormed to the top of the Netflix TV charts less than a week after it debuted on the world's best streaming service.

Based on Matthew Quirk's book of the same name, The Night Agent stars Gabriel Basso as Peter Sutherland, an FBI agent who becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy at the heart of the US government. Cue a race against time to stop the mole leaking intel and potentially causing US society from collapsing in on itself.

As plot synopses go, it's a simple one. Clearly, though, audiences have lapped up what's on offer in The Night Agent, with millions of viewers becoming absorbed in its cat and mouse-style narrative, shocking revelations, and suspense-filled teases that have left many on tenterhooks.

Georgia looks and smiles at a stony faced Ginny in Ginny and Georgia on Netflix

Ginny and Georgia season 2 is the only Netflix show to perform better than The Night Agent this year. (Image credit: Netflix)

In fact, The Night Agent has proven so popular that it's only the second Netflix show to debut this year with a whopping 100 million-plus hours streamed. The Night Agent only premiered on March 23 but, six days post-release, it's accrued 168.7 million hours viewed (per Netflix's Top 10 website).

Ginny and Georgia season 2 is the only English-language TV show to rack up more hours viewed in its first week this year – the comedy drama series amassing 180.4 million hours streamed during its opening week. On the non-English language front, revenge thriller The Glory (125.3 million hours streamed in its first week) is the only series to come close to matching The Night Agent's impressive tally.

Considering that The Night Agent has outperformed fan-favorite series like You (season 4 part 2 accumulated 92 million hours viewed in its first week) and Outer Banks (season 3 earned 154.9 million hours streamed during opening week), its success shouldn't be dismissed so easily. Expect The Night Agent to join that duo on our best Netflix shows list shortly.

Even more impressively, The Night Agent's opening week viewing figures were three times bigger than its nearest rival. Shadow and Bone season 2, which landed on March 16, collected 55 million hours viewed in its second week on Netflix (read our Shadow and Bone season 2 review while you're here). Love is Blind season 4 and Waco: American Apocalypse, which debuted alongside The Night Agent, performed terribly compared to the spy thriller – the pair racking up just 25.5 million hours and 21.5 million hours streamed respectively.

Analysis: a tough challenge to reach the top

A close up of Wednesday Addams, with Thing standing on her shoulder, in Wednesday's Netflix TV series

The Night Agent has got a job on its hands to surpass Wednesday (Image credit: Netflix)

Unexpected as The Night Agent's, well, overnight success has been, it's unlikely to trouble Netflix's most-watched original shows of all-time.

Stranger Things season 4, Wednesday, Squid Game, and Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story racked up one billion-plus hours viewed each in the weeks after their respective launches. With Stranger Things season 5, Squid Game season 2, and Wednesday season 2, and a new installment in Netflix's Monster series all in development, the next entry in each of these global hits is likely to surpass their predecessor in the viewership stakes.

The Night Agent might be the latest TV darling to grace Netflix, but it's got a huge fight on its hands to even come close to matching its contemporaries' viewing figures. Of course, the series could enjoy a bumper second week at the top of the charts, especially if Netflix users recommend The Night Agent to their families, friends, and co-workers. Even with that word of mouth aid, though, we'd be surprised if The Night Agent makes a major play for the Netflix TV show throne. Yes, it'll continue to perform well for a couple more weeks, but it'll need more traction among viewers to stand a chance of tackling Netflix's most-streamed shows ever.

For more Netflix coverage, check out our new Netflix movies, best Netflix movies, and best Netflix documentaries guides.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.