I’m not much of a TV guy, but in this golden age of television where there are far too many good shows on TV to watch, occasionally one of them sneaks up on me.
I started watching “The Night Of” after hearing an interview with Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire). I liked him on The Wire, and although I watched all the episodes, ‘The Wire’ isn’t my kind of show. I loved Williams on ‘Boardwalk Empire’ which was my kind of show and I was curious how he’d do on ‘The Night Of’ which I assumed wouldn’t be my kind of show because I don’t like shows on crime, police, and especially prison.
Michael K. Williams doesn’t show up until the 3rd episode, but when I saw John Turturro in episode one, I really got intrigued. (Turturro played in many Spike Lee movies).
The show’s finale episode was on Sunday night which I probably won’t see until later this week. Reviewer Neal Zoren did a story in today’s Delaware County Daily Times on the finale episode and provided an excellent overview of what made the show so special. (I wish I could write so well).
The series, in telling Naz’s story, has addressed some important issues of our time and done so, blessedly, by incorporating them into a taut, suspenseful, compelling drama rather than beating us over the head with them or making them the overriding issue the way so may TV shows, movies, and plays do.
Maybe that’s why I don’t like crime, police and prison shows. I don’t like being beat over the head.
By sticking to Naz’s descent into corruption, writers Steven Zaillian and Richard Price have shown how corruption snowballs in many areas of life, including crime detection, the criminal justice system, the public’s perception of an ethnic group, and that group’s ideas about one of its own gone rogue.
Naz is of Indian decent and represents any and all minorities that find themselves in a situation where the authorities make a lot of assumptions about character.
Zaillian and Price expose both the expediency that makes one wonder if anyone should ever enter a courtroom without some measure of contempt and a brand of dedicated complexity that, if delved into, can mitigate that expediency and lead towards fairness and justice.
Criminal justice and social justice are real issues and the need for both is one of the most complex issues we’re dealing with in America today.
…there’s an insidious undercurrent of contempt and hatred that seems to follow Naz from routine life to the conclusion he is the type that could murder and to the changes we see in him as he becomes more inured in the prison setting.
Prison is no joke. I’m constantly amazed at how many people are so quick to see people punished by the criminal justice system in order for them to ‘learn a lesson’, not recognizing that the lessons they learn are often the wrong ones for the alleged criminal and society.
“The Night Of” is a lesson in the kind of scrutiny given to anyone suspected of a crime. It also shows how routine things like crime, accusation, and imprisonment are to people who deal with such things every day and how shattering they are to accused, particularly the falsely accused, and his family.
I didn’t realize ‘The Night Of’ was only a mini series. This is the type of show that needs to continue because it exposes the flaws of our society in a way that is educational, entertaining, and impactful.
The Twitter-verse along with Zoren’s review is full of spoilers that only makes me more anxious to see the final episode. I don’t watch much TV, but ‘The Night Of’ is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.