By Jaelin Wilson
This is the only television show that makes sex, drugs, and murder supplementary plot devicesâ€”and itâ€™s more engaging than anything youâ€™ve seen this year.
Steven Zaillainâ€™s (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, American Gangster) and Richard Priceâ€™s (The Wire) â€œThe Night Of,â€ is HBOâ€™s newest crime mystery, and itâ€™s the best show youâ€™ve never seen.
In New York City, After a spontaneous hook-up and night of tomfoolery, Nasir Khan, a seemingly studious college student, awakes from a drug and alcohol induced slumber to find last nightâ€™s hook-up slain. She was stabbed 22 timesâ€”enough to make Jack the Ripperâ€™s arm sore.
This is when â€œThe Night Ofâ€ stops being a whodunit and morphs into something else.
â€œThe Night Ofâ€ is hardly about a college kid whoâ€™s suspected of murder; itâ€™s about people. The human condition is given the centerfold in this TV mini-series. Like in all of our lives, passion and circumstance dictate how we react in real time.
This idiosyncratic show starts to portray what a real reality show might look like. It taps into the world we live in, where the rules arenâ€™t always followed, where the good guys finish wherever they finish, and sometimes, where the obvious isnâ€™t so obvious.
Due to this approach, the mini-series is critiqued for having â€œholes.â€ But really, it has just strayed from televisionâ€™s status quo. Something that goes like: (A) happened because of (B), and I expect this character to do (X) because of (Y). Â
Unlike other crime shows, â€œThe Night Ofâ€â€™s storylines arenâ€™t wrapped up in a pretty bow, theyâ€™re thrown at youâ€”and creators Zaillian and Price donâ€™t care if you catch them. Not every piece of the puzzle is of critical importance in â€œThe Night Of,â€ yet Zaillian and Price make you feel like everything is.
Like in the real world, this show doesnâ€™t wait up for your emotions, or care if you realize whatâ€™s going on. In this way, â€œThe Night Ofâ€ takes on a fitting New York City personality: fast, uncaring and rich with people of different cultures.
Rikerâ€™s Island, where Khanâ€”the suspected murdererâ€”is held awaiting his trial, acts as our time machine. Mentally and physically, Khan adapts to his environment, as we all do. It just so happens that his environment includes crack pipes, drug smuggling, and murder. In â€œThe Night Of,â€ seeking protection never seemed more dangerous.
If the human condition has the centerfold in this series, the American penal and justice systems have pull-out pages of their own in â€œThe Night Ofâ€ magazine.
In eight episodes, Khan goes from college kid to hardened criminal, a product of the American penal system; presumed innocent yet behind bars.
â€œThe Night Ofâ€ shows that the word â€œinnocentâ€ is a misnomer in a court of law. To stand where guilty men have stood may doom you just by association. Nothing has to make perfect sense in â€œThe Night Ofâ€â€”in reality, it hardly ever does.
â€œThe Night Ofâ€ (95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) concluded on August 28 and is streaming in its entirety on HBO Go. Do yourself a favor: Binge it.