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The Night Of – Part 1: The Beach

The Night Of – Episode 1 | Starring: Riz AhmedJohn TurturroAriya GhahramaniBill Camp, Poorna JagannathanBill Camp

The Night Of

HBO’s new miniseries, The Night Of, officially premieres on July 10th, but the network made the first episode available on its streaming services (HBO GO and HBO Now) two weeks early. We’ll be covering the show with written reviews and a weekly podcast, so I jumped at the chance to check out the series – which I knew very little about – early.

Turns out, The Night Of is a cautionary tale of every warning your parents ever gave you about … well, damn near everything.

Nasir “Naz” Khan (Ahmed), a Pakistani-American college student from Queens, steals his father’s cab hoping to attend a party in Manhattan. He’s lost and unable to activate the taxi’s ‘off duty’ sign when Andrea (Sofia Black-D’Elia) gets into the backseat. She’s beautiful, mysterious, but clearly troubled – the perfect recipe for a night of drinking, drugs, casual sex, and murder. 

Images: HBO

Images: HBO

Naz awakens in Andrea’s swanky apartment and finds her dead of multiple stab wounds, and so begins a series of questionable decisions and epically bad luck that will have you on the edge of your seat, cringing and unable to look away. Just how many things can go wrong in one night? The answer is, apparently, all of them.

The Night Of promises to be more than just a by-the-book whodunit. It is set to explore the New York City criminal justice system which includes police procedure, attorneys, judges, and the prison system (Rikers Island, specifically). Hopefully, it will also highlight the experience of Khan’s Pakistani-American family and how it shapes what happens to him. There’s a hint of this when Naz appears on a key witness’ radar simply because the man verbally harasses Naz and calls him a terrorist.

Ahmed’s portrayal of Naz presents him as smart, but naive and perhaps too trusting. Still, he’s extremely likable and you’ll find yourself rooting for him as he literally stumbles into making one poor decision after another. And all of this despite the fact that we’re not 100% sure he didn’t commit the crime.

The Night Of - Naz patted downWorking against him is the lead detective on the case, Box (Camp), a grizzled veteran who sharply surveys the crime scene and sets into motion one of the most intense scenes in the entire premiere: Naz, not yet a suspect, in the police station with an unsuspecting witness and a few tired police officers. By the way, if you can watch the scene of everything falling into place in the police station and not hold your breath, you’re not human.

Jon Turturro stars as Stone, Naz’s attorney, who becomes involved in the case before he has a full understanding of what his doe-eyed client is suspected of doing. This role was originally supposed to be played by the late James Gandolfini, one of the series’ producers. I’m curious to see if the unaired pilot, from 2013, features Gandolfini in the role (he died in June of 2013). The role is completely Turturro’s, and he ups the already high New York City flavor that makes the city itself its own character.

The Night Of - Stone and Naz

The only negative to watching this early look at The Night Of is that we now have to wait three weeks until episode two, ‘Subtle Beast’ airs.

Leave your thoughts on the first episode below and we’ll read them on our special preview podcast.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this review stated that the first episode was available early On Demand, however it appears it’s only available early on HBO’s streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now.

The Night Of - Episode 1 = 9.8/10
  • 9.5/10
    Plot - 9.5/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
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User Review
5 (3 votes)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

4 Comments on The Night Of – Part 1: The Beach

  1. FOR THE PODCAST

    I didn’t know what to expect when I first decided to watch this show but I was intrigued by the promos because it had a True Detective Season 1 vibe to them. Little did I realize that while I was watching everything unfold how terrifying this show actually is.

    This shit right here reminds me of every horrifying wrong turn my Black ass could have made in my younger years fucking around and trying to be cool! Like every time I snuck out the house, every time I was kicking it with folks I shouldn’t have been hanging out with. Like the time that I actually did “borrow” my mothers car to go do something I had no business doing at that time. Thank the LAWD that I made it out of my young adult years alive and free.

    As soon as that white guhl got into the car I was instantly nervous! I was like DON’T *Bryson Tiller Voice* I was literally yelling at Nas through the TV like why are you so fucking stupid?! Your dick is not your friends get the fuck away from her! He made ALL the bad decisions and left ALL the evidence! As soon as he found her body I was like nigga yo Black ass is going to prison! I don’t think he did it but I do have a idea who may have but it might be kind of obvious, so I’ll just hint at it by saying that one final look back.

    On to the other things I liked, the acting was fucking impeccable. I loved Riz Ahmed in Nightcrawler and he did a great job here playing Nas. Turturro as equally awesome and a fitting replacement for the late James Gandolfini. I love how HBO recycles actors, lots of faces from Oz and The Wire in this, speaking of, speaking of I’m glad to see JD Williams aka Bodie Broadus working with HBO again.

    Loved this first episode even though it gave me flashbacks and nightmares and I can’t wait to see the rest of the miniseries unfold!

    Love you guys, Take care!

    P.S. Congratulations Nina & Donald on your new home! It looks gorgeous especially that pantry *raises power fist to Donny*

  2. FOR THE PODCAST

    I am sure you all will cover all the points and other commenters will as well. All I have to say that Nasir is dumb and it is nice for once that we can get a Pakistani lead who is rather than the trite stereotypes we get on TV. Yes, his dick was not his friend when he went for the “Benjamin Moore Super White” Bruja, but we never get to see someone like him fuck up in the first place.

    Still, I see that he needed to be slapped in his face because all he needed to do was LOCK THE DAMN CAR from the beginning and that would be that. All the things he did made me fear for him and I hope all men of color look at this and see how easy shit can escalate just because you wanted to fuck crazy Becks ole grand vagina.

    Overall I cannot wait until next week and I cannot wait for Hobo House Grandpa Lawyer to figure out how to help him. Also I cannot wait to see his parents specifically his momma rip into him. Y’all know that has to happen right? If it doesn’t, they must not have people of color writing this because ain’t no way Nasir won’t get chewed up and spit out by his momma. Thanks for the podcast!

  3. For the podcast:

    This show is just “eh” for me. Maybe my expectations are too high just because it’s on HBO but looks like all those other Law and Order/CSI crossed with Monk or House. I didn’t have a whole lot interest until the lawyer entered the picture. Although the man with hearse did a raise an eyebrow, when he asked “do you want to be my next passenger?”

    Just a little too formulaic so far. Maybe it’ll pick up next episode.

    But you should know by now that I would listen to y’all talk about a hamster running on a wheel. So I’m in either way

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