OK, so, let’s take a look at this HBO mini-series, a harrowing look at the justice system following a murder in New York City. The accused is a young Pakistani-American man.
Yeah, it sure looks like this will be something.
The Night Of was an ultimately final project for Sopranos star James Gandolfini. Gandolfini is still listed as an executive producer, but what was probably meant to be his role was taken by John Torturro. The advertising I’ve seen for it made it look as if it would be entirely about the young man, Nasir “Naz”Khan, and his awful trip through the legal system as he is wrongfully accused of murder with Turturro’s John Stone as his attorney.
That’s not quite what I saw in this first episode. True, everything I described is up there, but there’s also a good deal going on with the cops investigating the case.
Here’s what happened: all-around good kid Naz is diving his father’s cab on the way to a party. He’s a college student, seems to be good at math. The cab’s “off duty” light isn’t working, and an attractive young woman named Andrea climbs into the cab. She seems a bit troubled, but she talks Naz into trying some drugs and going back to her place, where they drink a bit and play with a knife. Off they go for sex, and then Naz wakes up in the kitchen. He stumbles upstairs to get his clothes and discovers Andrea has been very brutally stabbed to death. And that’s where his problems begin.
First, he panics and makes a run for it, but realizes he left something inside Andrea’s place and has to break in to retrieve it. He also takes the knife they were playing with that doesn’t seem to be the murder weapon, but there is some of her blood on it. The noise of the break-in alerts a neighbor across the street who sees someone drive away in a taxi.
Not far from the scene, Naz is arrested for a minor traffic offense while under the influence. Eventually, with the help of the neighbor, and another young man who harassed Naz in the street when Naz and Andrea first got back to her place, and with the bloody knife in his pocket, he’s arrested and the case is in the hands of one Detective Box. Naz asserts his innocence, but he doesn’t really know what happened and neither does the audience.
Does Naz have a lawyer? Not at first, but his pitiful appearance catches the eye of John Stone, there to see a client of his own, and Stone takes the case before realizing that both Box is on the case and Naz is charged with murder.
It probably helps to find that stuff out before you take a case.
So far, we’re off to a good start.