Netflix hit ‘The Night Agent’ has a vicious Cal-Stanford burn


Last week, everyone seemed to enjoy the debut of Netflix’s new No. 1 show, “The Night Agent,” with one possible exception: Stanford alums.

The political thriller racked up 168 million hours viewed in its first four days on the platform. It marked the third biggest opening week for a first season for the Los Gatos-headquartered streaming giant, which renewed the show for a second 10-episode season just days after it was released.

Based on the Matthew Quirk novel of the same name, “The Night Agent” follows Peter Sutherland, a low-level FBI agent who works a graveyard shift in the White House basement watching a phone that never rings — until it finally does. The line is intended for distress calls from off-the-books “Night Agents” who handle covert operations, but this call is from Rose Larkin (Luciane Buchanan), the niece of two agents who’ve just been murdered. Sutherland and Larkin race to find out who killed her aunt and uncle, a plot-twisty affair that goes all the way to the Oval Office.

Along the way, Stanford catches an all-time stray from Larkin, a tech entrepreneur who was the CEO of a failed cybersecurity startup in Silicon Valley. 

During the course of their investigation, Larkin and Sutherland end up at Georgetown University in Episode 5. While walking to the library, they offer up this vicious exchange:

Larkin: “I thought I could read my way to Stanford.”

Sutherland: “S—t, you went to Stanford?”

Larkin: “No. Those bastards rejected me. I went to a community college then transferred to Berkeley. When I started my company I hired a bunch of Stanford grads to grab me coffee.”

Minutes later, the two are about to separate to follow up on two different leads, and again, Stanford ends up in the crosshairs:

Sutherland: “Just check in with me.”

Larkin, sarcastically: “And call me if someone tries shooting at you, I’ve got some tips.”

Sutherland: “Really?”

Larkin: “Yeah.”

Sutherland: “Did you pick those up at Stanford?”

Larkin: “No, f—k Stanford, they didn’t deserve me.”

Oddly enough, Stanford and Cal don’t appear in Quirk’s novel at all. In the book, Larkin is from Virginia, lived in LA and founded a startup that streamlines loans to small businesses. So the Stanford ribbing is added just for TV. A quick glance of the credits for Episode 5 offers up a potential explanation for the Stanford taunting.

There’s just one person on the entire production crew with a connection to either university: Rachel Wolf, who has a staff writer credit on every episode and was likely in the room for the writing of the episode, even though Corey Deshon is credited with actually writing Episode 5. Wolf not only got an MBA from Stanford, she also went to Palo Alto High.

This story has been updated.

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