They actually say “The Night Of” in the show! We all whooped for a full 10 hours afterwards!
Back in the heady days of 2016 a boring ol’ drama with lawyers, Muslims an’ that hit the television screens.
It was pretty good.
The Night Of stars the above John Turturro as scumbag Lawyer John Stone. I’m not sure there is much more to say about him, apart from he is every bit as good as he always is; but this isn’t the Turturro show. Riz Ahmed is the unwitting focus of the police…. cough… and telly show.
Yes…the following is a bit Spoiler-ish. You sure you want to read on? I mean, you could just watch the show? You want actual reasons to watch it? Very well.
Riz Ahmed plays Nasir Khan, a good Muslim boy who has a very bad day. Look, who hasn’t been accused of a murder they probably didn’t commit? Who hasn’t been a Muslim in the Land of the Free® post 9-11? It’s happened to us all. ‘Merica!
The first episode is compelling, rich in information with a slow burning pace. It has to be this way because you’ll have to soak everything in. Not a show for those wanting to watch fireworks.
You know what I hate in these articles? The wankers recap. Typing a synopsis about what happens, so let’s not type out a Wikipedia entry. Let’s get to it.
Several days after watching the series you will think about it. If you watched it with others, you’ll discuss how and why things happened. You’ll note the mistakes of the characters and why people do the things they do. You’ll question motive. Hell, you’ll question the innocence of characters before someone points out facts. You’ll treat it like it really happened.
It is incredibly rare to come across a tv show that fundamentally makes sense. Real thought has gone into everything. You’ll remember the time the tired detective takes the inhaler from the crime scene because it doesn’t fit. A bright spark will also recall how it’s not covered in blood and it’s right next to the corpse that’s been savagely stabbed to bits. It was planted on the bed. No-one ever tells you this. The detective noticed… you noticed him remove it from evidence. Normally basic thought blasts holes in most television plots.
Without preaching you’ll observe the change in Nasir “Naz” Khan as every bad trait is sucked to the surface. For some strange reason, surviving in a place with hardened criminals doesn’t tend to bring out the best in people. Lives are ruined, other peoples lives continue like nothing happened. All we can do is blink, sit and watch.
It feels like it’s happening right now. It likely is.
The rich detail extends to the most minor characters. The fathers work colleagues demanding their cab back, their livelihoods on the line. They have good reason. Most of the characters do, before tensions boil over and it comes to a head. The pharmacist shows up for a minute and instantly livens the whole thing up. Young legal whizkid Chandra wasn’t the noble hero you’d thought her to be; she was just as flawed as everyone else and she pays for it. One of the few characters that really didn’t deserve her fate… but hey, that’s what happens. There is no dead time, nor waste. The Night Of might be slow paced but it’s lean.
By the end you’ll find both peace and anger. There’s no grand walking into the sunset ending. Like nearly all endings, things are bittersweet. John Stone doesn’t restart his career as a high powered defence lawyer, he gets back to it. That kinda sums it up.
We all have to get back to the grind. Back to work, you.