The death of James Gandolfini left a big void in a lot of interesting projects. The Night Of had a pilot in the books with Gandolfini in the lead, surviving his death by being re-shot with John Turturro taking over from him. Based off a BBC mini-series, it’s a crime drama in the vein of True Detective as it’s designed as the first of what could be a similarly themed anthology series that focuses on the other side of the law & order formula.
Naz (Riz Ahmed) takes his father’s cab out for a joyride one night, looking to go to a party with friends, when he meets a mysterious woman Andrea (Sofia Black D’Elia) along the way. What begins as a sort of interesting romantic drama about two people meeting turns dark as he winds up waking up with her dead body. From there it’s a spiral through the legal system with his attorney (Turturro) as we (and him) try to figure out what happened as Naz doesn’t remember what happened.
It’s essentially an eight-hour episode of Law & Order focusing on one crime, but with a much deeper look into the case. We don’t know whether or not Naz did the crime, which makes it much more interesting as well. This is an exploration of the process from booking to trial as we see Naz go from a scared college kid, arrested for a crime he can’t remember committing, to a defendant in a trial of substance that takes New York City by storm.
The Night Of is a fascinating look into the whole process, allowing a brilliant slow burn over eight hours into the investigation of one murder.
It has the same vibe as True Detective in that we’re getting one complete story told long form as opposed to a mini-series that could be picked up later. The ability to do so allows for a full story to be told, which makes the show that much more interesting. There isn’t anything left on the table for another season we get a completed story.
It’s incredibly brilliant, too, as the further along we go the more gripping it gets. This is a show that slowly develops the story and we get to see as everyone involved tries to figure out the truth of what happened. The further we go the less we know, which makes for a terrific viewing. It’s shocking that HBO released this episodically as this feels like something designed by Netlflix as the perfect binge watch.
HBO presents The Night Of. Starring John Turturro, Riz Ahmed. Run Time: 524 minutes. Not Rated. Released 10/18/16
Tags: Criminal Justice, HBO, James Gandolfini, john turturro, Riz Ahmed, Sofia Black-D'Elia, The Night Of