A night of partying with an unknown female leaves a young college student in jail with even himself unsure of what exactly went on. Naz Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a university student living in New York, born to hard working Pakistani parents. One night he borrows his father’s taxi-cab to get to a party. Plans change when he unintentionally picks up a young woman in his cab and takes her home, where he is then invited in. After a series of drinks and other things, Naz ends up sleeping with the mystery woman. Hours later, he wakes up, disorientated, in her kitchen, and when he goes up to check on his date, he makes a grisly discovery, and he doesn’t know what happened or who did it.
The Night Of hadn’t been a show that had been on my radar until I found myself watching the preview/trailer thing on IMDb one Sunday evening. During the two-minute clip, I thought I spied the face of someone whom I have grown to be very fond of, and after doing some research, I discovered my eyes had not been mistaken, and that I would certainly be seeing the show. I feel like that was a very positive decision to make as I absolutely loved watching this mini-series!
Many people have said that it was not the story that made this show so great, but that it is the way it was told and I couldn’t agree more. There were some phenomenal performances throughout the series, most notably those provided by Riz Ahmed and John Turturro as Naz and his lawyer. All I had seen of Ahmed prior to this was in Nightcrawler and I recall being quite impressed then, although there might have been another factor influencing my verdict then. He didn’t disappoint me here as Naz. There was quite an evolution that took place over the course of the story, and I think both Ahmed’s performance and the writers did a great job of ensuring this gradual change in character left the audience undecided about whether Naz had committed the crime he stood accused of.
As much as I admired Ahmed’s wonderful showing though, I have to say I thought John Turturro’s turn as underdog defence lawyer John Stone was a real treat to witness. It was a prime example of what you could say was tough love, and it was absolutely brilliant! It was one of those performances that are just captivating – when he was on-screen there was nothing I could do to take my eyes off him. Turturro played perhaps not the most easily likeable character but I think it’s fair to say that by the time the final verdict had been reached in the courtroom, he was certainly a fan favourite.
Right, now, even though he has a somewhat minor character, I’m still going to crowbar in a small bit about the man who was the reason The Night Of caught my attention. The Wire’s finest, Michael Kenneth Williams, starred as prison kingpin and Naz’s mentor, Freddy – a role very befitting of him if you ask me. He was charismatic as always, and I loved seeing him on my TV again.
The story, as I’ve mentioned, really is nothing that we haven’t seen before but, as I’ve also mentioned, it was done in a way that made it stand out from some of the more mediocre crime shows. In each episode the writers showed us another side of Naz that left us unsure as to whether or not he could have killed his lady friend, which meant we were left undecided about his innocence (or guilt) right until that final episode – exactly what you want from a show like this.
On the whole, The Night Of is definitely a show you should check out if you haven’t already, and if you’re in a position to binge-watch when you do so, 100% just go for it! This is going to be one of the contenders at some of the big TV awards I think – it was a really solid show. The writing and acting go hand in hand to deliver to us a very fine TV show that I think most people will struggle to find fault with.
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