The Night Of Part 1 is available exclusively on HBO GO, HBO NOW and HBO On Demand beginning Friday, June 24. The series premieres on HBO Sunday, July 10 at 9pm.
Nasir Khan thought he was about to have the best night of his life.
Invited to a party by the popular jock he tutors, the doe-eyed college kid begs a pal to drive him there and, when his bud backs out, snatches the family cab instead. It’s late. Dad’s already turned in. What harm could come?
Plenty. And that is the heart of HBO’s obsession-worthy limited series The Night Of, which began as a passion project for late actor James Gandolfini.
When he died in 2013, the Sopranos star was lead and co-executive producer of the series (then called Criminal Justice), an adaptation of Peter Moffat’s BBC drama of the same name. This version, crafted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian and The Wire scribe Richard Price, took Moffat’s twisty crime-and-justice tale and added potent racial and sociopolitical layers that make the eight-parter unforgettable.
In the original pilot, Gandolfini played Jack Stone, an opportunistic New York lawyer who right-place-right-times himself into what could be the biggest case of his career. Robert De Niro committed to step in, then backed out, citing schedules.
Enter Gandolfini’s Romance & Cigarettes director, the Emmy-winning character actor John Turturro, who is by turns steely and heartbreaking in the emotionally charged role.
Dropping by a hardboiled Manhattan precinct, the eczema-bedeviled Stone spots Naz — Queens-born to immigrant parents (and hauntingly played by Riz Ahmed) — sitting alone in a holding cell. Suspecting the unit’s shrewd investigator Detective Box (Damages’ Bill Camp) already raked the kid over but good, Stone injects himself into the case, launching a tense and thought-provoking ride through the justice system.
See, Naz never made it to that party because a gorgeous girl with a nose for trouble hopped into his cab first. Now that girl is gruesomely dead and — plied with booze and drugs before he hopped into her bed — the inexperienced Naz has no clue how it happened. Did he do it? And is the case as clear-cut as Detective Box wants Naz to believe it is?
As Stone and high-priced, high-profile legal eagle Alison Crowe (Glenne Headly, Monk) battle for control of the sheltered young man, his bewildered parents and his hot-button case, Naz gets brutal life lessons at the hands of his fellow inmates, and a public and justice system that hardly pretend to be color or culture blind.
And we who watch are reminded how that system can create lost souls whether it convicts or acquits.
The Night Of Part 1 is now available exclusively on HBO GO, HBO NOW and HBO On Demand. The series premieres on HBO Sunday, July 10 at 9/8CT.