The Night Of
|The Night Of|
|Created by||Richard Price
|Based on||Criminal Justice
by Peter Moffat
|Written by||Richard Price
|Directed by||Steven Zaillian
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||56–96 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||July 10– August 28, 2016|
The Night Of is a 2016 American eight-part crime drama television miniseries based on the first season of Criminal Justice, a 2008 British series. The miniseries was written by Richard Price and Steven Zaillian (based on the original Criminal Justice plot by Peter Moffat), and directed by Zaillian and James Marsh. Broadcast on HBO, The Night Of premiered on July 10, 2016 to critical acclaim. The first episode premiered on June 24, 2016, via HBO's on-demand services.
- John Turturro as John Stone, a lawyer who represents Nasir Khan
- Riz Ahmed as Nasir "Naz" Khan, a Pakistani-American college student accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side of New York City
- Michael K. Williams as Freddy Knight, an influential prisoner at Rikers Island
- Bill Camp as Dennis Box, a detective working on Nasir's case
- Jeannie Berlin as Helen Weiss, a district attorney working on Nasir's case
- Peyman Moaadi as Salim Khan, Nasir's father
- Poorna Jagannathan as Safar Khan, Nasir's mother
- Glenne Headly as Alison Crowe, a lawyer who represents Nasir Khan
- Amara Karan as Chandra Kapoor, Alison's employee
- Ashley "Bashy" Thomas as Calvin Hart, a prisoner at Rikers Island
- Paul Sparks as Don Taylor, Andrea's stepfather
- Sofia Black-D'Elia as Andrea Cornish, the victim
- Afton Williamson as Wiggins, a police officer working at the 21st precinct
- Ben Shenkman as Klein, a sergeant working at 21st precinct
- Chip Zien as Katz, a pathologist
- Paulo Costanzo as Ray Halle, financial adviser to Andrea and her mother
- Ned Eisenberg as Lawrence Felder, a judge
- Sticky Fingaz as a prisoner at Rikers Island
- Glenn Fleshler as Judge Roth
- Mohammad Bakri as Tariq, a taxi driver and Salim's colleague
- Nabil Elouahabi as Yusuf, a taxi driver and Salim's colleague
- Frank L. Ridley as Jerry
- Jeff Wincott as Lucas
- Fisher Stevens as Saul, John's pharmacist
- Lord Jamar as Tino
- Ariya Ghahramani as Amir Farik
- Syam Lafi as Hasan Khan
- Max Casella as Edgar
- J. D. Williams as Trevor Williams
- Frank Wood as Harry, the medical examiner
- Skipp Sudduth as Bell
- Kevin Dunn as Danny Lang
- Joe Egender as Cutler ("Cutty"), a drug dealer
On September 19, 2012, it was announced that HBO had ordered a pilot based on the British television series Criminal Justice. James Gandolfini was set to star, Richard Price would write the project, and Steven Zaillian would direct. On February 19, 2013, HBO passed on the project. However, on May 13, 2013, HBO reversed course, picking up Criminal Justice as a seven-part limited series. After Gandolfini's death on June 19, 2013, it was reported that the miniseries would move forward in his honor, and that Robert De Niro was set to replace Gandolfini. On April 21, 2014, John Turturro replaced De Niro because of scheduling conflicts. On March 11, 2016, it was announced that the project would premiere in the middle of 2016 under the title The Night Of. Gandolfini retains a posthumous executive producer credit.
In July 2016, Steven Zaillian commented about the possibility of a second season: "We're thinking about it and if we come up with something we all feel is worthy of doing, we'll do it. This was designed as a stand-alone piece. That being said, there are ways of certainly kind of taking what it feels like and what it's about and doing another season on another subject." In April 2017, Zaillian again commented on the possibility of a second season, saying: "Listen, we would love to do it, and when I say ‘we,’ I mean [co-creator] Richard Price and myself. If we can come up with something that we fall in love with, we’ll do it. If we don’t, we won’t.” In August 2017, John Turturro talked about the possibility of returning for season two: "We've been talking. So we'll see. I would be very interested because I felt that character offered something really rich. I'm hoping that that will come to fruition."
|No.||Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original air date||US viewers
|1||"The Beach"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price||June 24, 2016
July 10, 2016 (HBO)
|In October 2014, Nasir "Naz" Khan is a naive Pakistani-American college student living in Queens, New York. After stealing his father's cab one night with intentions to attend a popular party, Naz picks up a young woman, Andrea, and ends up cancelling his plans to spend the evening with her. After a night of sex and drugs with Andrea, Naz wakes and finds her stabbed to death in her bedroom; 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 and eventually asks for a lawyer, but one is not provided, until world-weary defense attorney John Stone hears of the case and steps in to represent Naz.|
|2||"Subtle Beast"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price||July 17, 2016||1.28|
|Stone continues to tell Naz to stop telling him "the truth" of what happened and to keep quiet. Det. Box returns to the crime scene to gather more evidence. He has Don Taylor, Andrea's stepfather, come in and identify the body, which Taylor does reluctantly. Det. Box questions him to get any possible information. Naz is visited by his parents in the precinct, and their conversation is recorded. Det. Box talks with Naz again, and when Naz won't make a confession, he charges him with homicide. Naz is then sent to Manhattan Central Booking, next to arraignment court where he pleads not guilty, and finally to Rikers Island to await prosecution.|
|3||"A Dark Crate"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price||July 24, 2016||1.20|
|Naz is processed at Rikers Island. Stone speaks with Naz's parents regarding legal fees and offers a flat fee of $50,000, but they can't afford him. Another attorney, Alison Crowe, interested in the media attention on the case, offers the Khans her services pro bono. Naz's father, who shares the taxi with two others, is unable to work due to the taxi being evidence in the crime, and his only option of getting it back would be to file grand theft charges against his son. Stone visits Naz in prison, where he learns that he's no longer Naz's lawyer. Freddy, an inmate with special privileges, offers his protection to Naz, but he declines. In the middle of the night, Naz uses the bathroom, and when he comes back, he finds his bed set on fire.|
|4||"The Art of War"||James Marsh||Richard Price||July 31, 2016||1.34|
|After having his arm cut by another prisoner, Naz meets with Freddy again, and Freddy tells him he wants to help Naz because Naz's intelligence is refreshing. Later, Naz witnesses Freddy beat a prisoner up in the exercise room. Meanwhile, Stone attends Andrea's funeral and learns about a drug rehab center she attended. He pays off a man named Edgar for her files. Crowe meets with Naz and tries to convince him to accept a plea bargain, agreeing to a lesser charge of manslaughter and a 15-year sentence. However, Crowe's assistant, Chandra, encourages him to refuse. At the hearing, Naz voids the plea and maintains his innocence. Crowe drops the case and hands it over to Chandra; she informs the Khans that it will no longer be pro bono. After the hearing, Naz is attacked by Calvin, a prisoner he had earlier befriended. He finally decides to ask Freddy for protection.|
|5||"The Season of the Witch"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price & Steven Zaillian||August 7, 2016||1.37|
|Now under the protection of Freddy, Naz has his own personal cell. Later, Freddy has Calvin laid down in the shower for Naz to retaliate for what he did. Naz brutally beats Calvin after he calls Naz a "faggot". Stone officially joins Chandra on the case after working out a fee. Det. Box makes a map of Naz's movements from the night of and shares it with Helen Weiss, the prosecutor. In the surveillance camera footage, Weiss sees Naz accept Andrea as a passenger after refusing two men, suggesting premeditation. They also discover that Naz had amphetamines in his system, which Andrea did not. Meanwhile, Naz smuggles cocaine into Rikers for Freddy. One of the witnesses, Trevor Williams, is brought in again for questioning. After learning from Naz that there was another man with Trevor (which Trevor had lied about), Stone questions Trevor about the other man. He finds out it's Duane Reade, a man with a criminal record who always uses a knife. Stone goes after Reade, but loses him in a foot chase.|
|6||"Samson and Delilah"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price & Steven Zaillian||August 14, 2016||1.41|
|Naz's parents are forced to take menial jobs as a result of fallout from his case. Freddy gives Naz a cell phone, both to talk to his family as well as a way to receive bribes from other prisoners for its use. Det. Box learns from Naz's high school basketball coach that Naz transferred to another high school after he pushed another boy down a flight of stairs, seemingly unprovoked; Naz defends his actions as a lashing out against bullying after September 11. Meanwhile, Chandra views security footage from the night of and sees a hearse driver, Mr. Day, who spoke to Andrea and later followed Naz out of a gas station. She speaks to him and he explains that he viewed Andrea as predatory and similar to Delilah; Chandra becomes suspicious of him. Stone learns that Andrea was able to live in an upscale townhouse due to wealth from her late mother, Evelyn. He speaks to Evelyn's financial adviser, who tells him that Andrea's stepfather, Don, has a violent history and is known for attempting to siphon wealth from much older women. Stone also learns that shortly before Andrea died, she refused to give Don her portion of Evelyn's wealth. Stone finds Don in a gym, training and flirting with an older woman.|
|7||"Ordinary Death"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price & Steven Zaillian||August 21, 2016||1.76|
|At Naz's trial, a doctor who had been prepped by Weiss testifies that the wounds on Naz's hand implicate him in a multiple stabbing. However, Dr. Katz, another medical expert, disputes the claims. It is also revealed that Naz injured a second boy in high school, and in college, he sold Adderall to other students for a significant profit. Stone learns more suspicious information about Don and joins his gym in an attempt to spy on him. Don discovers this, and threatens Stone and his family to stay away. During a meeting, Chandra and Naz kiss, which Chandra regrets immediately. Meanwhile, Stone becomes suspicious about Box's removal of Naz's inhaler from the crime scene, and subpoenas him. During the resulting testimony, Chandra tells Box she believes he doubts Naz's guilt. Naz finds a young prisoner named Petey, who earlier prostituted himself to another prisoner named Victor, has committed suicide. Naz tells Freddy, who kills Victor with a razor.|
|8||"The Call of the Wild"||Steven Zaillian||Richard Price & Steven Zaillian||August 28, 2016||2.16|
|Trevor, Reade, Day, and Don testify at Naz's trial, and each proclaim their innocence. Against Stone's wishes, Naz testifies, and it goes poorly; he forgets certain details and even expresses doubts over his own innocence. Freddy sends Stone a tape of Naz and Chandra kissing in hopes of forcing a mistrial, but it only results in Crowe firing Chandra and Stone being made lead attorney. Meanwhile, Det. Box learns from security footage that Andrea was being followed by a man he eventually identifies as Ray Halle, Evelyn's financial adviser; Box believes Halle was Andrea's boyfriend. Halle also had violent tendencies, and was seen at the scene of the crime. Box speaks with Halle and brings the evidence to Weiss, but she chooses to continue with the trial. Stone prepares his closing arguments while battling a recurrence of his eczema. After Stone's closing, the jury becomes deadlocked, leading Weiss to drop the charges against Naz. Naz returns home to tense relationships with his family and friends, continuing his drug habits from prison. Box and Weiss pursue Halle. Stone goes to meet with his next potential client.|
The Night Of received critical acclaim. On Metacritic, it currently has a score of 90, indicating "universal acclaim" based on 40 reviews. It currently has a score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.6/10 based on 62 reviews; its consensus reads, "The Night Of is a richly crafted, exquisitely performed mystery that will keep viewers enthralled and leave them devastated."
IGN reviewer Jesse Schedeen gave the entire miniseries an 8.9 out of 10 'Great' score, writing "With only a couple of exceptions, this summer hasn't been the greatest when it comes to new TV series, which makes The Night Of's brief run all the more special. This limited series did little to shake up the formula when it (comes to) crime dramas, but it was distinguished by its amazing cast and the pervasive tension that drove the series from start to finish."
In the United States, the miniseries experienced a TV ratings growth over its eight-episode run, with daily ratings tripling from its premiere to its finale. The premiere episode drew 2.1 million viewers, before increasing to an average gross audience of 8.2 million viewers on HBO. In the United Kingdom, it drew an online on-demand audience of 2.5 million viewers with Sky Atlantic.
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