The following is a quick review of the first episode of the HBO Limited Series “The Night Of.”
The Night Of, which is based on Peter Moffat’s Criminal Justice, follows Nasir “Naz” Khan (played by Riz Ahmed), a Pakistani-American college student, on the night that he is arrested for the murder of a young woman (played by Sofia Black-D’Elia). But there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
This is a whodunnit. We don’t know if Naz did it or not. The evidence points towards our protagonist, but the show does a nice job of making us trust the character. Naz is a good guy, and Riz Ahmed gives a great performance here. You may remember Ahmed from the great film, Nightcrawler (if you haven’t seen that one, then watch that now – here‘s my review for that film, by the way).
This first episode is just here to present the case to us. Who is Naz? What happened that night? What were his intentions? Now, the problem is that there are a number of hours that we don’t know what happened in. Maybe Naz did something wrong, maybe someone else did. We just don’t know yet.
Now, this is a 75-minute episode, and a large part of that time is spent on us getting to know about the day that Naz’s life changed forever. But, thankfully, we do get a little bit of John Turturro. Turturro plays Naz’s lawyer, but that’s about it. I had expected that both Ahmed and Turturro would be great, so no surprise there, but Bill Camp is also great in this first episode.
I don’t have a lot of problems with the episode. Maybe Naz isn’t very smart here, but he’s startled for most of the episode, so I would say that that is understandable. I loved this first episode (“The Beach”), it was everything I wanted out of it. A new HBO show (even though it is just a mini-series) to satiate my need for something like the Serial Podcast or True Detective. It was excellent. Well-shot, well-acted.
The first episode is streaming early on HBO and HBO Nordic, and the show officially launches on HBO on July 10th, 2016. It’s off to a terrific start, and I cannot wait to see where this show is headed. I plan to review each and every episode after they’ve been released on HBO Nordic. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then I really think you should as soon as possible.
– I’m Jeffrey Rex