Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - By An­dre Paine

HBO’S le­gal thriller has caused a real buzz but does it live up to the hype?

HBO’S The Night Of was one of the most talked about shows of 2016. Im­prob­a­bly, the se­ries is a US re­make of a 2008 BBC drama, Crim­i­nal Jus­tice, writ­ten by Peter Mof­fat. The ac­tion has been moved to New York City, but it’s heart­en­ing to see British break­out star Riz Ahmed ( Rogue One, Ja­son Bourne) in the lead role of Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan, an easy­go­ing stu­dent who is sus­pected of mur­der.

Naz’s fate seems to have been sealed the mo­ment he se­cretly bor­rows his father’s taxi for a night on the town. When a young wo­man, An­drea Cor­nish (Sofia Black-d’elia), gets into the cab, he ac­cepts the fare. One thing leads to an­other and they end up at her Up­per West Side brown­stone, high on drugs and booze, play­ing with knives and hav­ing sex. When Naz awakes, he dis­cov­ers that she’s been bru­tally stabbed to death in the bed. In a blind panic, he flees the scene, tak­ing a bloody knife which may in­crim­i­nate him.

The bravura open­ing episode crack­les with ten­sion, as Naz is pulled over for a traf­fic vi­o­la­tion, ends up in the po­lice sta­tion and is inches away from free­dom. Un­for­tu­nately, wily de­tec­tive Den­nis Box (Bill Camp) then re­alises that the prime mur­der sus­pect has fallen into his lap. It looks bad for Naz, but world- weary de­fence at­tor­ney John Stone (John Tur­turro) takes on his seem­ingly hope­less case.

Tur­turro gives a com­mand­ing per­for­mance as the ec­cen­tric lawyer who could have been a con­tender. Di­vorced and lonely, Stone’s been re­duced to grubby plea bar­gain cases and is af­flicted by eczema.

While Stone searches for an­gles, The Night Of in­tro­duces a vi­o­lent prison sto­ry­line, as Naz en­ters Rik­ers Is­land on re­mand. Taken un­der the wing of for­mer boxer Freddy Knight (Michael Ken­neth Wil­liams), the nerdy stu­dent is trans­formed into a pumped-up pris­oner. You even be­gin to doubt his in­no­cence...

The Night Of is an ex­plo­ration of the Amer­i­can crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem that never sac­ri­fices sto­ry­telling for a preachy agenda. In ad­di­tion to por­tray­ing the racial ram­i­fi­ca­tions of Naz Khan’s case for New York City as a whole, it’s a nu­anced le­gal thriller that builds over eight im­mac­u­late episodes to an af­fect­ing fi­nale which marked it as one of the year’s most mem­o­rable TV ex­pe­ri­ences.

British star­riz Ahmed shines in this suc­cess­ful US adap­ta­tion of the BBC se­ries Crim­i­nal Jus­tice.

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