The Night Of is an HBO crime drama starring Riz Ahmed as Nassir Khan and John Torturro as John Stone. Nassir, or Naz, is a Pakistani American living in New York City. One night he goes out, planning on going to a party, but ends up meeting a young woman on his way there. They end up going back to her place for a night of drug-infused romance. The next morning, Naz wakes up to find the woman brutally murdered and is arrested by the police not long after. In the remainder of this blog, I’ll give my thoughts on this series and what I found the most interesting. There will be spoilers, so don’t read further if you haven’t seen this show yet and plan on watching.
My first reaction to The Night Of was a fear that the type of situation Naz found himself in was not all that unrealistic. Everything about what happened that night makes it seem very obvious to those on the outside that Naz was the killer. It’s a rather extreme circumstance of “this is not what it looks like”. You can’t really blame anyone in the show for automatically assuming it was him. He was at the house, he had the murder weapon, a witness saw him leave the house, and he tried to run from the police after he was arrested. As if he wasn’t unlucky enough, he ends up getting pulled over after leaving the house which ultimately does him in. Any one of us could end up in a situation where, despite doing nothing wrong, all of the circumstances point toward guilt and there’s nothing you can really say to defend yourself, which is a scary notion. Even Naz’s own mother turns against him at one point during the trial.
Something I found interesting throughout this series was the prison culture. When Naz first enters prison, he’s scared, lonely kid who doesn’t look like he’ll last more than a few days. However, after becoming allies with Freddy, the ring-leader of the prison, he realizes what he has to do to survive. We watch him transform from a defenseless kid to a ruthless prisoner smuggling in drugs and viciously beating other inmates. In an ideal world, we would expect the prison system to reform criminals. It should help them see the error of there’s ways so that they can be a better person when they are released. In The Night Of, we see the exact opposite happen to Naz: he was a very kind, gentle, and hard-working young man before being arrested, but eventually leaves a prison a cold, angry, hardened young man with an addiction to heroin. The Night Of did an excellent job of showing that, while there was a happy ending with Naz finally getting out of prison, prison life does take a toll on people with permanent consequences.
I thought this was a really great show overall. The premiere was one of the best episodes of television of the year, and the acting was phenomenal throughout the whole series. While there were a few extraneous story-lines such as the cat and John Torturro’s ongoing feet problems, the show’s writer Richard Price did a phenomenal job of showing how the criminal justice system operates – from the detectives, to the police, to the prison, and to the lawyers and jury during the trial. I also thought the finale was more than satisfactory. We get to see Naz freed from prison and the show strongly hints at the real killer and what actually happened that night. I would highly recommend The Night Of to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.
Thanks to everyone for reading. Let me know your thoughts and opinions on the show in the comments down below.