'Night Agent' Gabriel Basso on staying 'sane' in often 'insulated, 'fake' acting world

Netflix star talks staying connected to the "real world" and wanting character Peter Sutherland to be "pushed to his absolute limit morally" in Season 2

Gabriel Basso as Peter Sutherland in episode 106 of The Night Agent. (Dan Power/Netflix)
Gabriel Basso as Peter Sutherland in episode 106 of The Night Agent. (Dan Power/Netflix)

Since its release on March 23, Netflix hit The Night Agent, starring Gabriel Basso, has continued to be one of the most popular shows on the streaming platform. It is still one of the Top 10 most-watched shows, viewed for 37.68 million hours.

"It's always nice to hear people like what you did," Basso told Yahoo Canada.

"In this medium where it's so collaborative, for me to accept the compliment, knowing how much work went into that final product and however much was out of my control, ... it feels strange for me to accept compliments."

The Night Agent is very much one of the most universally watchable shows that has been recently released. There's action, romance, thrills, political drama, it has something for everyone.

Basso plays Peter Sutherland, an FBI agent who is relegated to a desk in the basement of the White House, surprisingly after saving civilians from a terrorist bombing. Peter's job is essentially just to wait for a phone to ring if operatives are in trouble and need backup.

The phone never rings, except for this one night when Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan) calls, after getting the number from her aunt and uncle before they were murdered by assassins. That's when Peter is thrust into this journey of conspiracy and corruption, which leads all the way to the Oval Office.

'There's so much about this business that's insulated and fake'

Basso is far from your average leading man in this political thriller. The 28-year-old is also a visual artist, trained in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and even recently got his certification as a waller. When it comes to where acting fits into his life, he believes that art is "multifaceted" and a good artist can express themselves in different ways.

"I think the more real world experience you have, the better suited you are to handle this business because there's so much about this business that's insulated and fake," he said. "I think people step out into the real world and just get their minds blown, and they can't handle it because they grew up in this business or they stayed in this business."

"So as much as I can get out of this environment I do, just because I feel like it helps me stay sane. But I think it all helps acting. If you don't know what the real world is like, you can only pretend so much before someone looks at you and calls bullsh-t."

With that mindset, it's understandable that Basso was quite involved in the development of his character, working to make him as authentic and real as possible.

One thing that stands out in the show is that the action sequences are very much led by the story. For example, when Peter is feeling more defeated, that's translated in his physical abilities, which are very much linked to his FBI training.

"I definitely was adamant that, that was the tone because early on," Basso said. "I remember sitting down ... and being like, he's not trained to kill people as an FBI agent, he's trained to apprehend, so his action and his tools ... all should be utilized to apprehend and not to kill."

"I think it's cool that it could shift as he gets more desperate and especially once he kills one of the assassins that it becomes more urgent in his application of force."

'The Night Agent' Season 2

With critical and audience success, of course The Night Agent is getting a second season. Basso highlighted that he is a fan of how the first season closed out, coming to a full conclusion, even though more of this story will be told.

"I was excited that it was a complete story," Basso said. "I hate this whole, movies do it now [too], where they bait and presume that there's a second thing coming, so you don't feel satisfied as an audience member watching it."

"When the story that you just sat down to watch isn't really complete, you're left with more questions. So I'm glad that [creator Shawn Ryan] ended the story, but also sort of closed off and rewarded all the little plot points. Peter getting the responsibility that he wants and that he thinks he can handle. It was nice and refreshing."

One significant point of speculation for Night Agent fans is where Peter's romantic relationship stands with Rose. While the pairing was loved by fans, Basso wouldn't want that audience reaction to necessarily dictate the future between these two characters.

"I think what made that relationship special was impermanence and it was situational," Basso said. "I think they both recognize that they needed one another and there is a love there, but I'm not going to be kicking my feet on the edge of the bed while I'm on deployment somewhere to call her."

"I think it would be sort of insulting as an audience to have Peter go someplace and then still be able to talk to Rose, and have there be no personal loss there. ... I would just hate for them to see that the relationship is loved by people and then be like, 'Oh we've got to play into that.' What made it special was that it was realistic in how their relationship grew."

For the upcoming second season, Basso really wants to see Peter "pushed to his absolute limit morally."

"It's very rare to have someone with empathy and values in that environment," Basso said. "[To] get in this environment and be asked to do some dirty things, I think that'll be a shock to him."

"I'd love to see the stakes be spiritual and mental, as opposed to national and global. ... That's all played out stuff. I'd love to see, this good man's soul is now at stake doing these things that he's being asked to do."