The Night Of (2016)
Developed By: Richard Price & Steven Zaillian Starring: John Turturro, Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi, Poorna Jagannathan, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Afton Williamson, Ben Shenkman, Jeannie Berlin, Paul Sparks, Ned Eisenberg, Nabil Elouahabi, Michael Kenneth Williams, Glenne Headly, Amara Karan, Kirk 'Sticky Fingaz' Jones, Mohammad Bakri, Ashley Thomas, Paulo Costanzo, Chip Zien, Glenn Fleshler
Certificate: 15 Running Time: 56-96 Minutes per Episode, 8 Episodes
Tagline: "What happened"
There have been several films and TV shows over the years that have dealt with the aftermath of an eventful night out (The Hangover being a fairly prominent recent example), but I can't imagine too many are as messed up, from the protagonist's perspective at least, as The Night Of. It's based on the first season of British drama, Criminal Justice, and is actually a miniseries rather than a new show proper, so this 'first season' is all there will be, but it's likely to be one that will stays with you long after the last of the eight one hour (on average) episodes has finished.
It stars Riz Ahmed as Nasir 'Naz' Khan, a Pakistani-American college student, and all he wants to do it go to a party. On the night of said soiree, his ride lets him down so he instead 'borrows' his father's taxi with the intention of driving himself there. Of course, idiotic people keep getting in his cab but he just keeps turfing them out. That is, until a young hotty with attitude plonks herself on his back seat.
All things considered, it's hard to see how any lawyer could mount a credible defence for Naz, nevermind someone like John Stone (Turturro). He is scruffy and plagued by unrelenting eczema that forces him to wear sandals everywhere, and as a result he is not taken seriously by cops at the station he trawls for potential clients. He is also not well regarded in legal circles and has never even tried a murder case before.
His transformation from the studious, slightly nerdy college kid we meet at the start to the tattooed, shaven-headed thug that prison turns him into is remarkable, not to mention rather ill-advised as far as his defence is concerned. It makes for a rivetting show though, and one whose outcome is not obvious. Shows don't always have the preditable, happy ends these days that they used to, and Nav's innocence or guilt is left deliberately ambiguous as well, so who knows how it might end?
The Night Of might seem like a bit of a formulaic drama at first glance but it isn't long before you realise you're in for something special. Everything about it is top-notch, especially the gripping performances by the fantastic cast. It's not perfect of course, but it's not too far off. It's a shame it's only a one-off series but you'll definitely enjoy it while it lasts. One of the best shows I've seen in recent years.
RKS Score: 9/10
This is about the best trailer I can find but it's still not a very good one. Take my word for it though - this show is mighty fine :)