HBO’s The Night Of… Is Naz Really Innocent?



HBO’s eight-part series, The Night Of starring John Turturro (John Stone) and Riz Ahmed ( Nasir “Naz” Khan) is the story of a New York City murder case where a young, asthmatic, socially awkward, Pakistani college student  is charged with murder after a dangerous drug and alcohol riddled one-night-stand goes terribly awry. Based on the BBC series Criminal Justice,  the dark gritty series follows many paths as prosecutors use the overwhelming evidence against him to quickly prosecute while his ambulance chasing lawyer tries his best to prove his innocence.

I’ve recently caught up on the first seven episodes in anticipation of Sunday night’s final episode. Side note: I likely won’t be able to watch it live Sunday so please don’t spoil me!

In the first episode we see Naz wake up after a night of first time drug and alcohol use (He’s Muslim) and his second sexual partner, in the kitchen of the twenty-two year old girl’s very expensive home.  When he returns to the bedroom to gather his belongings and begin his walk of shame to the taxi he borrowed from his father without permission, he discovers her brutally murdered body.

While the police have enough evidence to put him away and don’t even consider other suspects, we are given a few along the way. A violent man on the street who hurled anti Muslim slurs at him before they went inside the brownstone, a creep mortician that seemed to follow them home from the gas station, and even the girl’s step father.

As Naz spends weeks in Rikers awaiting trial and trying to stay alive, he transforms both psychologically and physically from a nerdy social misfit into a genuine prison thug.  While in prison he has done drugs, been a drug mule, instigated a suicide and was complicit in a murder. If he was innocent before, as we have believed all along, he is far from innocent now.

the-night-of Naz


Each week John Stone, an attorney with a horrible case of eczema on his feet and a love for a cat that he cannot touch due to severe allergies, is also interwoven into the story. For me, this was perhaps my favorite part of the entire season.

As we approach the finale episode, it’s clearly been leading up to Stone, who is much maligned by his peers as a low life attorney, proving that the step father was actually the killer and exonerating an innocent Naz. It was clear to me when he was called in to identify the body that the stepfather was the killer. Then, the fact that she was stabbed 22 times, once for every year of her life, followed by the news that he was upset with the dead girls portion of  the inheritance when his cougar wife (and her mother) died made the motive and killer abundantly obvious.

Perhaps too obvious. And in the last couple of episodes, the writers have given us reason to wonder if Naz is innocent at all. Perhaps the mountain of evidence should be believed. Is the innocent thing all an act? Is the person he is now in Rikers his true self?

Will they shock us by providing a yet unknown motive for the creepy mortician or the violent dude named after a drug store chain to be the real killers?

Sidenote: There are Internet spoilers out there about the BBC version of the show. If you have read them, please don’t post them here as we speculate how it will all end for the US version on Sunday.

The penultimate episode had a very odd kiss between Naz and his female lead attorney, who appeared to be sort of falling for Stone, and then out of nowhere made out with Naz in a prison holding cell. I honestly thought that was all in Naz’s imagination, but it was not. It seemed out of place and is making me wonder if this is something that will make way for a second season since the first on has been so popular.  Perhaps Naz will be convicted and season two would be an appeal? Because it is both of his attorneys’ first murder case,  an appeal due to ineffective counsel has certainly been set up.

I look forward to being able to watch the episode, perhaps on west coast time Sunday or Monday at the latest. I almost passed on this series due to the dark nature of the plot, but I am glad I stuck it out. The final episode is called The Call of the Wild after the Jack London book about a dog named Buck who is removed from his family to become a sled dog. Based on that title, and the plot of the book, it seems like foreshadowing that Naz may spend the rest of his life in prison. Or maybe they just want us to think that.

What are your thoughts?


Filed under Entertainment News, HBO

46 responses to “HBO’s The Night Of… Is Naz Really Innocent?

  1. CoBe

    YES YES YES!!!!! I’m so glad you recapped this!!

    I don’t usually watch this genre, as I am not a big fan of blood and gore. The mystery part has completely dragged me in.

    After forcing my partner to watch the entire series (thus far) with me, I’ve come up with some conclusions and things that others seem to have missed:

    1. The cat has a larger role to play. Of course I get that the back gate was left open because of the cat, but I really believe there is more there.

    2. The young guy that committed suicide was in the holding cell when Naz was brought in. I didn’t catch that until I rewatched with the better half. I think that plays a role.

    3. Freddy has said that he is in Rikers because he has copped to a murder that he didn’t commit. Does this play a role?

    4. I feel certain that Box will play a further role. I think he knows something. At the very least, he knows that evidence was not properly handled (again, gleaned from a rewatch).

    5. Defense investigator had found blood in the backyard (said it could be from a squirrel), but we haven’t heard anything about that yet. Whose blood was it?

    I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting for Sunday. How can HBO be so cruel?? Just tell us already!!

    I’m also a little concerned that one hour will not be enough to really tie loose ends together. I will be utterly devastated if it is some trite last minute grab bag perpetrator. I thought the stepfather was also guilty, but at this point, it would be anticlimactic unless there is a really ingenious twist.

    If you haven’t rewatched the first episode armed with the information you have now, I urge you to rewatch it. I was amazed at all of the tiny details that leapt out.

    Until Sunday . . .

    • anna

      Oh my god, now who have forced me to re~watch all episodes before Sunday’s finale. I too was sucked into this series by my 2 son’s who asked me to watch , and after only 15 minutes into it, I was STUCK. I too don’t think the kiss was smart on the writers part, but …. I’ll let it slide. ( I too would have kissed him, he’s adorable ), although probably a killer. I’m so glad you re~capped this TT!!!

    • oh wow! Ive gotta go back and re-watch.. Ive obviously missed some major things

      1. I agree about the cat.. why is this cat getting so much air time if theres not something to it?

      2. suicide??? ok I TOTALLY missed that

      Thanks for the re-cap.. Im so glad that Ive got others to compare notes with

      • CoBe

        Lil Miss, the kid who Freddy had promised to protect in jail. Instead, he was sexually assaulted and committed suicide in the jail bathroom.

        It was his mom who was bringing in the drugs.

        Definitely re-watch the first episode. It’s intriguing to see it again from a more informed perspective.

    • Dee

      Shit…now I need to re watch as well! Great recap and comments. Loved Freddy in The Wire; wish he had more roles.

      • Shae

        He was excellent in Boardwalk Empire (if you haven’t seen it)

      • SJ

        Freddy, Michael k Williams has a new series about the underbelly of American people called Black Market. According to his interview with Charlie Rose, he started his own production Company to tell these stories. Very hard to watch but a story that needs to be told.

      • Dee

        Thanks for the info. I never got into Boardwalk Empire, maybe I’ll give it another try. I will most definitely watch Black Market. Thx again!

    • CapricornLady

      Which young man committed suicide? Did I miss something? The cat though? You gonna make me binge watch again!

    • tbk

      Next week is 85 minutes. Whoo hoo!

  2. CupcakeScholar

    This series is dark, disturbing, haunting, arresting (no pun intended)….and freakin’ awesome! I relate to ALL of the characters so I need to see a professional ASAP.

  3. CoBe

    PS: That awkward kiss was totally inappropriate and added a circus quality to otherwise fully fleshed out characters. Cheapened Chandra and the writers should be ashamed of themselves.

    Setting it up for appeal because of the kiss? Well, okay, if that’s what it takes for another season. But really, the appeal could have been simply that the attorneys involved were inexperienced.

    I’m actually a bit angry with the writers for doing that to such a strong female character.

  4. Charlie

    I hated the kiss too. Totally out of character. Also, theres no way Naz is the killer (unless he murdered her while he was totally blacked out) This is why- when he wakes up at the table and gets his stuff to leave, he speaks to her. There is no one else there. He says he has to go, he looks down at her. He gets confused and turns on the lights. And then gets totally freaked out at the bloody mess. So if the writers make him the killer and he knowingly killed her, they are the dumbest and most dishonest writers ever!

    Also, in one of the earlier episodes a cop made mention at the crime scene that there was a camera hidden somewhere, and it was giving him the creeps. Or something like that. Im wondering if that was more than just a passing comment and will be discovered on the finale.

    My 2 cents. :)

  5. Matzah60

    Excited for this recap. I have only watched the first episode, so I stopped reading past that point. One of my sons called me on Sunday and told me to turn on HBO and to watch the last two episodes of this series. He said I’d love it. I wanted to see the series from the beginning to see if I’d like it and to go in sequence. I love criminal mystery shows. I guess I have a morbid side to me, but I find them fascinating, particularly when the characters are plucked from real characters in society.

    So glad you’re recapping. Anxious to watch the remaining episodes, to read your recaps, Tamara, and read all the comments!!


  6. CapricornLady


  7. I thought that HBO was only doing one season of this, hence it being a mini series. Also, a few fun facts. The ambulance chasing attorney was initially supposed to be played by James Gandolfini aka “Tony Soprano”. The series was shelved for a couple of years due to his untimely death. The powers that be chose his very good friend John Turturro, who was very hesitant in taking on the role. He went forward with it, at the urging of Gandolfini’s widow, and we also got a cameo of “Janice Soprano”, who is the real life cousin of Turturro. She was the rehab counselor. I was a Sopranos fanatic, and what fun it would have been to see those two opposite of each other again, if only for a second.

    • CapricornLady

      Yeah when I was looking at the credits in the 1st episode and saw James Gandolfini I had to look up what was going on!. LOL

    • Yeah they posthumously credited him. He was a phenominal actor. I forgot to add that DeNiro was first choice for his replacement.

    • CoBe

      Wow, great scoop!

      I can’t imagine anyone but Turturro in this role. I guess that says a whole lot about his acting.

      • tamaratattles

        For me everyone was fantastic, but Turturro stole every scene he was in..

      • Yes he did. Without question. He is always able to step into his character as if it’s really who he is. I seen Do The Right Thing when I was really young. For years I could not understand how he was able to keep getting cast in movies if he was such a racist. Why did Spike Lee keep choosing him? Lol. Nine of Lee’s films, over 30 years later and I’m still mesmerized by his sheer talent.

      • Lisa j

        Even if it’s a lie, please tell me you started watching because I recommended you see it several weeks ago. It’s the best tv in a very very long time. Excellent recap!!

      • tamaratattles

        I started watching this because of you , Lisa J. I knew a few of you were watching. I wasn’t that interested because I thought it was a horror series. With the Olympics cutting down my DVR stockpile, I opted to check out the first episode and was hooked. So Thanks!

    • JennLovesAndy

      Thanks for explaining the James Gandolfini connection- I had wondered…

    • Cara

      How prescient they were that this kind of story would be so popular! If they were developing this story years ago, they were way ahead of Serial/Adnan Syed and Making a Murderer.

      A shout-out as well to Richard Price, a great novelist and screenwriter, who does such great dialogue. Love him. This series is my new favorite.

  8. Shae

    Loving this show. I’m wondering what’s going on with the deer head in Andrea’s apartment because they’ve cut back to it several times, like it’s important for some reason. Could there be a camera of some type inside? Something that will exonerate Nas?

    The stepfather clearly has millions of reasons to off Andrea, with him being the sole heir in the event of hear death. Wondering if he hired duane reade to take care of the situation and he just got a little overzealous with the rape/brutality of it. The stepdad certainly fits the MO and seems capable.

    Nas is definitely not the innocent he seemed to be at first. We found out he did use adderall recreationally, he wasn’t a total stranger to drugs, and he had several violent incidents with students at his old school (even if many were provoked by post 9/11 anti-muslim bullying). I don’t think he did it, but he has a dark side that wasn’t initially apparent.

    I think Det. Box is POS, though. He knows damn well none of this fits, he just didn’t want to dig and work such a tough case right before retirement. Shameful.

    • CoBe

      Ah, Shae!!!! I think you may be on to something there. I remember thinking something had to be going on with the deer head as well, but thought it must have been something to do with the blood.

      The deer head would be a perfect place to hide a camera.

      I’m going to +1 you on this theory.

  9. MaggieG

    So far everything about this production is great: the writing, the acting, the intrigue. The John Stone character is the most compelling to me & I attribute this to Turturro’s talent. Chandra recently broke up with her boyfriend so maybe she’s just horny…who knows.

    My understanding was that this was intended to be a limited mini series so while it seems a lot to expect it to wrap up in only one more episode, I’ll be so disappointed if the greed for ratings results in another season. Invariably, good programs become compromised when chasing beyond the original concept.

  10. tamaratattles

    Off topic, I just now finished watching the first episode of a new MTV show called Unlocking the Truth. The main guy on the show was falsely convicted of murdering someone and spent 10 years in prison. He is now working to investigate and potentially free other wrongfully convicted people. The first case was compelling.. A 14 year old convicted on very little evidence convicted of burning his mother to death. He got life.

  11. Rose

    I love with this show. Reminds me of American Crime where you see things from various angles and how one decision affects the lives of everyone involved and can’t be undone. Until episode 5 I believed Naz was innocent. After episode 6 I became uncertain. When the Coach talked about him beating up that kid. Then as Safar, his Mom, has been uncovering things in his room and realizing she doesn’t know her son as she thought. Stone is a trip and offers comic relief to me from his feet (I cried when he was able to wear shoes again) to his cat. Freddy (I’ve loved Michael K. Williams since The Wire) showed Naz The Call of the Wild book when they were in his cell back in episode 4 and recommended Naz read it because he said the author could write about dogs and teach you all you need to know. Naz told Freddy he already read it. This was back when Freddy and Naz were still feeling each other out….then Freddy told Naz you’re full of secrets. Mr. Day, the mortician, is a creep. I didn’t mind the make-out session Naz had since he had called her before to say thanks but the hidden meaning of lust was there. The stellar is a douche but i think he is to obvious. Ultimately I do think Naz will be proven innocent but his life and that of his family has been forever changed.

  12. S.Hughes

    I don’t think we will find out this season. Not enough time left. I’m sure the cat has something to do with solving the murder. Did you notice he was outside the gate on the first episode. I was thinking that NAZ may end of hurting /getting killed in prison and thats the end of it! Don’t know if there will be a season 2 or not. Sometimes it 1 season and done.

    • Shae

      There isn’t a season two of this story, it’s a miniseries and the writers have said it’s only meant to go through these 8 episodes. If they decided to do a second season or miniseries, they’d do another story altogether, not a continuation of this one.

      I admit, I’m wondering how they’re going to bring this all to a conclusion but I’ve read the finale is 95 minutes long, so that helps.

  13. S.Hughes

    Just thought of something else. Maybe the whole show is presented to show the futility of the justice system. They may not be violent when they go in, but they come out violent or sometimes die in prison.

    • CupcakeScholar

      I agree. Nas is no saint, but he probably did not murder anyone that night. If the stepfather did do it, he probably won’t be prosecuted. I feel sick at that possibility…

  14. If Naz killed her why was he not covered in her blood?

    • Lisa j

      Thank you!!! I kept looking at the blood splatter on the wall too, it doesn’t fit. I’m voting innocent especially with the plea deal he was offered. Adderol, give me a break. I don’t know of many college kids that don’t take that for studying. As far as the other incidents, it was post 9/11 and being a Muslim anywhere was dangerous.

    • Shae

      Exactly, he’d be BATHED in it if he cut her up that badly. We know he didn’t shower because he still had a little bit of blood on him from when they played the knife game and he stabbed her hand. If he’d showered at some point in his black out, that would’ve come off.

  15. Walter Van Geel

    What’s with the 2 policemen looking down on a badly cut up dead body and commenting that it is a similar type of crime. Will that not, ultimately, prove Naz’s innocence?

  16. upstateNYgyrl

    Just reading the threads I am so into this show. I have been binge watching like crazy, finished sopranos, and on my last three episodes left of boardwalk empire. I am really getting my crime and suspense fix filled with this show. Why is the cat getting so much attention? I don’t think there is more to it, but I like the cat now too. As far as that kiss, it seemed a little out of character for the attorney. She was so professional and then this? And….what a dummy, she kissed him on camera- that definitely may bite her in the butt.
    So, who is the killer? Definitely the man who was never interviewed that drove the hearse, I’m calling it!! He loathes women who think they run men so all of those stab wounds she exhibits could still be a crime of passion – but against women. Her stepdad is way too obvious. As far as Duane Reade, how about the other witness didn’t mention him because he was on his way to committing some homosexual down-low activity and doesn’t want it to get out?

  17. Sali

    So glad you recapped this, TT! After reading some of the comments, I’m definitely going to have to binge it this weekend to see what’s been mentioned here

  18. Nessa4910

    The cat is all too important. Remember Naz is allergic to it which is why Andrea let’s it outside. Fast forward to the scene where Stone wakes up wheezing only to discover he slept with the cat. His allergic reaction-the rash on his neck- resembles the scratches on Naz’s back. Could Naz have the same or similar allergic reaction?

    The writers foreshadow the impotance as well Here are two examples that I found besides the parallel allergic reaction.:
    The defense’s expert witness is named Katz (cats)
    There is a cat that walks behind Naz’s father when he standing in the middle of the street

    If there are any additional ones, please share!

    • TexasEx

      NESSA4910!! You’re brilliant! I’ve watched each episode at least 2ce and cannot remember ever concentrating so well on a TV episodic tv show. Connecting threads, looking for hidden clues b’c anyone who is into this show knows it is so well written that EVERYTHING shown is not simply filling time, but will play a part in the story as a whole. I’ve paid attention to the cat throughout, and on last episode pondered Stone’s neck marks from the cat as not really looking like an allergic reaction & questioning if he jumped up b’c he was scratched? And BOOM you nailed it Nessa. They are exactly like the marks on Naz’s back, which are prolific. You’ve hit on what is probably going to be one of the biggest revelations in the finale! Congrats! Well done.

      Tamara, EXCELLENT recap on what is a profoundly complicated show with so many moving parts.
      I honestly don’t know how anyone could have done a better job. Consider this angle on the female lawyer/Stone/Naz triangle. From the first time she entered the picture one of her first things to do was go out of her way to connect w/ Naz by telling him in the pre-plea hearing she advised him not to take the deal if he didn’t do it. It then seemed she got close to Stone to work Naz’s case even going out of her way by doing her own dangerous investigation of “creepy mortician dude”. Female lawyer (Chandra) kissing Naz, while he looked like, smelled like (we infer), and behaved like a full blown prison thug put a bow on Chandras crush on Naz that went from relating to him b’c of his ethnic make-up, to pitying him, and finally to crushing on him regardless of his situation. Maybe?

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