Diane Farr on 'Diane Farr': Fire Country Star Has Thoughts About Night Agent Namesake — Author Clears the Air

It was one of those end-of-interview questions that you thought would elicit a chuckle. Maybe a kind platitude.

But no, actress Diane Farr has definite thoughts about Diane Farr, the character from Netflix’s The Night Agent that bears her name.

Based on the 2019 novel by Matthew Quirk, The Night Agent — which was an instant, quickly renewed hit for Netflix — follows Peter Sutherland (played by Gabriel Basso), a low-level FBI agent who works in the basement of the White House manning a phone that never rings, until the night that it does, propelling him into a conspiracy. Among those that FBI Agent Sutherland reports to are White House chief of staff Diane Farr, played by Hong Chau.

When TVLine asked Fire Country star Diane Farr about her namesake on both page and screen, she champed at the bit to weigh in on the… homage? Coincidence? Low-key identity theft?

“I love you so much for asking this question…,” Farr said, excitedly launching into her opinion. “First off, let’s look at this fact: That TV show is based on a book, which came out after I finished playing an FBI agent on Numb3rs.”

Secondly, Farr notes, “The name ‘Diane Farr’ does not tell you anything about a character. It’s not a regional name. It has no nationality. It has no culture.” Meaning, it wasn’t carefully chosen to tell us anything about the White House chief of staff. “The only thing it said to me was that I played an FBI agent for three years, and then he wrote a story about FBI agents and didn’t use my character name (Megan Reeves) but used my real name,” Farr says.

Author Matthew Quirk, though, tells TVLine it was all a mere “coincidence.”

Farr with Rob Morrow on ‘Numb3rs’ (Everett Collection)

“The character was named Diane Carruthers in the first draft,” Quinn elaborates, “and I believe I changed the last name later to have something that was shorter and sounded cooler, and to avoid it being similar to some other characters’ surnames.”

Quirk says he didn’t know the actress Diane Farr by name, yet once alerted to the match with his Night Agent character, “I recognized her from many shows I’ve seen — and she’s great!”

Whatever the case, Farr says that when the casting call for the Netflix series went out, “I heard about it from every person in the business.

“First when they were auditioning, everyone called me like, ‘I’m so sorry, I just got an audition for a part that was clearly written for you.’ And I was like, ‘It was not written for me. They just took my name. Go, have a good time!’”

And then there were those who, through a Hollywood version of The Telephone Game, thought that Farr herself was in The Night Agent.

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“People kept saying to me, ‘Oh my God, how are you doing two shows??’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not on that other show. They just took my name for their character.’”

Night Agent showrunner Shawn Ryan told Deadline that Farr herself auditioned to play Farr, but ultimately Hong was their pick: “It’s tough to tell Diane Farr she can’t play Diane Farr.”

To be sure, the real deal has only the highest regard for Diane Farr’s eventual portrayer, who long after being cast in The Night Agent would earn an Oscar nomination for The Whale.

“Hong Chau is amazing,” Farr raves. “She’s the saving grace in all of this!”

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