Showrunner Shawn Ryan’s statement shows that the decision to change the lone assassin from the book “The Night Agent” to two in the Netflix adaptation is rooted in making sure the audience is able to understand the motivations and thought processes of the characters. Within a book, the narrator, or perhaps even the characters themselves, can explain what is going through their heads, but a version for television doesn’t have this kind of liberty. By adding an accomplice, suddenly the former lone assassin gains much more depth.
Known as Dale (Phoenix Raei) and Ellen (Eve Harlow) in the Netflix iteration of “The Night Agent,” these individuals act as antagonists and are the ultimate targets of FBI agent Peter Sutherland. Ryan also told Deadline that he wanted “The Night Agent” to explore interpersonal dynamics, and said, “One of the things that I really wanted to get into in this show was the idea of how men and women work together in different workplaces. If you look at the series, Peter and Rose have to develop a working relationship as they’re on the run; Dale and Ellen, these killers, have this working relationship along with a personal relationship. Chelsea and Erik, the two Secret Service agents tasked with protecting Maddie, have to have this relationship.”
So, besides making the killer(s) in “The Night Agent” a bit easier to understand, it looks like the reason for the two assassins also stems from showrunner Ryan’s focus on different types of relationships.