The Night Of
The Night Of sees the wrong place and the wrong time turn party plans into a nightmare ride to prison.
Award-winning thriller miniseries The Night Of (2016-current) is available on internet streaming service Showmax. In the span of eight episodes, Pakistani-American Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) goes from humble student to murder accused and the authorities don’t care that Naz is pleading innocence. He was found with the murder weapon and witnesses saw him with Andrea (Sofia BlackD’Elia), who was stabbed to death.
“I can’t even begin to think what it must be like for people who live in that situation,” says the 33-year-old. “I’d rank it [playing Nasir] as the most challenging experience I’ve ever had as an actor. It was emotionally and physically draining. I caught the slightest glimpse of what it’s like to be a prisoner.” He adds that he never watched Criminal Justice (the 2008 and 2009 British series that the show is based on) but he does know that they have different endings. “And we’d love to do a second series if it’s at all possible,” he hints.
Nasir’s only saving grace is his legal council John Stone (John Turturro), a hardened lawyer who takes pity on the youngster. He tells Naz to “shut up” because he knows that his client is in trouble. It’s only in episode 2 that it dawns on Naz just how much trouble, when he’s charged with homicide and sent to await trial at Rickers Island. As the episodes play out, it seems the odds were stacked against Naz from the start. Here’s a play-by-play recount of how one event changes his night and life…
Nerdy Naz’s plans to party in Manhattan with his pals are ruined when he is dropped at the last minute. With no way to get to the party, Naz borrows his dad’s taxi. No harm, no foul, right?
SERVICE WITH A SMILE
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t need to worry about the “in service” light (which indicates that the taxi is on the clock). Instead, people jump in and want to be taken to their destinations, like Andrea. And no one wants to hear Naz saying, “I’m not on duty… I’m not even a real taxi driver!”
WHO’S THAT GIRL?
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t have met Andrea. And he wouldn’t have been asked to take her to the beach, which he foolishly does as he forgets about his friends and the party.
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t have stayed with Andrea at the beach – and he wouldn’t have been invited to her townhouse for a nightcap (read: beer and hallucinogenic pills).
NIGHT OF KNIVES
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t be listening to Andrea mumbling about knives or something more troubling. Naz also wouldn’t be as high as a kite and would have been able to run away long before Andrea’s demise.
BITS & PIECES
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t be lying next to a bloodied corpse full of stab wounds. Did he kill Andrea in a drug-induced fit of rage? Was there someone else in the house? Did Andrea do it? Who knows – Naz doesn’t. The night before is still a blur.
RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN
If Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t be panicking and fleeing the scene of the crime. Instead, he would have been at home with his parents and not in his dad’s taxi, stopped for a random traffic violation.
And if Naz had got a lift with his friends, he wouldn’t have the bloodied knife with him – and after a little police work, the cops link it to a new murder case opened that very morning!
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time” is the world’s oldest excuse. Except in Naz’s case, it might be true!
Naz (right) fights for his life in court, with some help from his lawyer John Stone.