Now that Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley have wrapped for the year, you might be wondering, what am I going to do with myself on Sunday nights now? Well, look no further than HBO’s new mini-series The Night Of. BECAUSE IT LOOKS AMAZING.
The series, which stars Riz Ahmed (remember Jake Gyllenhaal’s sidekick in the uber-creepy Nightcrawler?), will be right up your alley if you love crime stories like Making a Murderer and Serial. It centers around Nasir Khan (Ahmed), who, after a night of partying with a young woman, wakes up the next morning to find the same woman dead next to him. Disoriented and panicked, he flees the scene, but later ends up in prison as a suspect. The series then meticulously delves into our heavily-flawed criminal justice system from all sides — the victim, the suspects, the witnesses, the lawyers, the detectives, etc.
But unlike the aforementioned real crime docs, The Night Of is fiction, which might just be even more satisfying, because unlike the real-crime documentaries, we get to see what actually happened rather than just wonder.
“In each of those cases [Making a Murderer, Serial, The Jinx],” Matt Wilstein explains for the Daily Beast, “we simply don’t know the truth. The Night Of is a fictional story — based on the 2008 British series Criminal Justice — we get to be there with the alleged killer at the scene of the crime. The picture we are given by co-creators Steven Zaillian, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Schindler’s List, and Richard Price, an acclaimed novelist who wrote for The Wire, is so much richer and fuller than what amounts to guesswork in those documentaries.”
And speaking of very talented people we know and love, The Night Of features a lot of familiar HBO series faces like Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire), J.D. Williams (Bodie from The Wire), Bill Camp (Glenmore from Boardwalk Empire), Max Casella (of The Wire and Boardwalk Empire), and a brief appearance from Kevin Dunn (Ben from Veep!). We also have the super-talented John Turturro of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Transformers fame and Amara Karan of The Darjeeling Limited.
As Wilstein reports, James Gandolfini himself was essential in bringing the project to HBO almost ten years ago and was set to play an attorney before his unfortunate death. So, if you loved The Sopranos (who didn’t?), there’s a good chance you might love this, too.
The Hollywood Reporter explains why the show’s level of nuance will make it so compelling and why The Night Of is not just a critique of the criminal justice system:
“Or maybe the series will end up being an indictment of viewers. Like I said, Price and Zaillian have given us a lot to think about, but are we interpreting the evidence correctly? Will our own predictive flaws be brought on by a lack of attention or by our own prejudices? Are we jumping to conclusions based on Naz’s Muslim faith, his education, his initial politeness?”
We cannot WAIT to get into this show, which will begin airing on HBO on July 10th.
Watch the trailer below: