Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a naive Pakistani-American college student living in Queens, New York. While using his father’s cab one night with intentions to attend a popular party, Naz picks up a young woman, Andrea Cornish (Sofia Black D’Elia). After a night of sex and drugs with the woman, Naz wakes and finds her stabbed to death; he has no recollection of what happened. Naz leaves the scene but is arrested for a minor traffic violation shortly after. At the station, he declines to answer calls to his mobile phone from his parents, who are worried about him and trying to reach him. When searching Naz, the police find a knife matching the suspected murder weapon in his pocket and witnesses identify him. Naz is interrogated by detective Dennis Box (Bill Camp) and eventually asks for a lawyer, but one is not provided, until world-weary defense attorney John Stone (John Turturro) hears of the case and steps in to represent Naz.I watched the first three episodes of The Night Of to preview the show for RTE’s Arena programme, and once I was past the time-worn trope of ‘Naz wakes and finds her stabbed to death’, I found myself enthralled. Bracingly cynical, superbly characterised (if I’m ever arrested for a crime I’m not sure I’ve committed, Bill Camp’s ‘subtle beast’ Detective Box is the man I want investigating the case) and brilliantly acted, it’s a multi-faceted exploration of how getting caught up in the impersonal machinery of the justice system is a crushing experience for everyone involved. If you liked the Serial podcast or Making of a Murderer, or you’re a fan of the Scandi-Noir TV series, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this.
For my review of The Night Of, clickety-click here. For all the details of the show, clickety-click here.