I must admit, I was late catching onto the HBO mini-series at first, but I’m glad I decided to watch it. The first episode had me hooked almost instantly. I don’t know if it was the premise, the bleak colors that matched the series’ theme perfectly, the amazing acting or the outstanding writing, but I was enthralled with “The Night Of” from the get-go.
As I said, I was a few weeks behind when the series actually ran on HBO, so I watched “The Night Of” on-demand. I began watching the series with my family, and I remember it buffering one time during the pilot. I was so into the first episode, I screamed, “Come on!” My dad looked at me and said, “Calm down.” But that’s how addicting “The Night Of” was right out of the gates.
The mini-series takes many wild turns and continually drops different details to make you think different people may be the culprit. But my favorite part of “The Night Of” is the irony of Nasir in prison. The show portrays him to be a clean, innocent college kid in the beginning, but after he gets to prison for something that I think is fair to say we as the audience probably don’t believe he did, Nasir becomes the quintessential convict. Freddy (Michael Kenneth Williams), a former boxing champ, takes Nasir under his wing and teaches his the art of being a convict. Nasir shaves his head, gets tattoos and begins smoking and smuggling in crack cocaine. This beautiful irony is placed perfectly by the writers of the series. Honestly, this is the type of show that makes me want to become a better writer. I have recently delved into screenwriting and I really enjoy the craft. A series like “The Night Of” makes me want to come up with a show that tests the moral and social outlook on certain areas of life. In my opinion, that’s what makes a show great, and I believe “The Night Of” hit the nail right on the head.
This show also did a great job at showing the full circle. Nasir is the good college kid, goes to prison, becomes a good convict and gets out but not without taking a piece of prison with him as he smokes crack where he and Andrea originally hung out by the bridge in the finale. I also enjoyed how the writers chose not to give us a full flashback in the final episode. In doing so, we were able to interpret what happened on our own. I thought it was a nice touch of ambiguity.
The acting throught the mini-series was simply superb. I thought John Turturro’s role as Jack Stone and Nasir’s first attorney was amazing. I thought the writers portrayed Jack Stone as the perfect “precinct crawler” with the subtle weirdness of the Eczema outbreaks and how he kept the cat from the crime scene even though he was extremely allergic. I just thought he was perfectly quirky. I also loved Michael Kenneth Williams’ role as Freddy. Through his character, I felt like it gave a really good look into what I’m sure many convicts are like in prison. Riz Ahmed also killed his role as Nasir. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he will blow up as a big-time actor in the near future (I guess it’s not such a huge limb because he will be in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” this December). “The Night Of” was just oozing with excellent talent from top to bottom. I even noticed that James Gandolfini was a posthumous executive producer, which made me like the series that much more. I believe Gandolfini was actually set to star in the series before his death in 2013.
I even loved the minor details about “The Night Of” that added to the cinematography of the series. The transitions were on point, the color tones were bleak and ominous and the close ups of random items seemed to fit perfectly.
“The Night Of” was just an amazing piece of work. It’s honestly the best show I’ve seen in quite some time. The plot, the acting, the cinematography, the writing, the pace, everything was on another level. If you don’t have HBO, I recommend that you get it to watch this excellent mini-series.