Debuting on July 10, The Night Of is a well-crafted miniseries that comfortably takes you to some very uncomfortable places. In the manner of the best of upmarket procedurals and like a thick thriller paperback, Richard Price and Steve Zaillian’s eight-parter based on the UK series Criminal Justice might, as I say in my video review above, prove a perfect summer distraction.
The HBO and BBC Worldwide co-production, which has had its first episode on HBO Go and on-demand since June 24, follows the downward spiral of Nasir Khan, a young Pakistani-America man played by Four Lions alum and Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed. What starts out as a really great night with a fare he picks up in his father’s cab turns into a nightmare when the Queens native wakes up in the morning next to the mutilated and dead body of his Upper West Side lover. With the Clockers and Lush Life author co-piloting and Schindler’s List screenwriter Zaillian directing almost all of the strongly stylized episodes, you can see the topics of race, bigotry, the broken justice system, badly judged trust and Rikers Island threats coming – and, with Hap And Leonard’s Michael Kenneth Williams on board, the journey is worth the price of admission, or in this case, subscription.
In a role played in the pilot by the late great James Gandolfini and then intended for Robert De Niro, John Turturro portrays world-weary lawyer Jack Stone. With payday at first in mind, the attorney takes on Khan’s blood-soaked case. Detective Dennis Box, played to precision by Law & Order alum and theater actor Bill Camp, is Stone’s counterpoint as he both investigates and coaxes the case along.
More in the vein of said Law & Order or even Cracker than last summer’s HBO offering of the fantastically dense Show Me A Hero, The Night Of has ambitions that aim high and find nice midbrow targets – and that’s a good place to be.
Take a look at my video review of The Night Of above and see what you think.