Riz Ahmed’s Tragic Transformation on “the Night Of”

Article/Op-Ed in the New Yorker
Aug. 30, 2016

Alexis Okeowo wrote for the New Yorker about "the Night Of":

The HBO miniseries “The Night Of” was never a particularly successful crime series, and perhaps it never set out to be. From the first episode—in which a college student from Queens named Naz (Riz Ahmed), having snuck out in his father’s cab, has a drug-fuelled night with a mysterious girl, wakes up to find her dead, and then is arrested for her murder and taken to Rikers Island—it was clear that the show was going to be not a detective story in the traditional sense but an intimate study of a young man caught in a dysfunctional criminal-justice system. In the course of its eight episodes, which followed Naz’s trial and the toll it takes on him, his parents, and his lawyers (John Turturro and Amara Karan), the show devoted only minimal energy to investigating other suspects and motives for the crime, and its story-lines were sometimes uneven. In the finale, which aired on Sunday night (spoilers follow), the trial’s outcome hinged upon a mundane and unsatisfying technicality—a deadlocked jury—and on the personal ethics of a relatively minor character, the case’s prosecutor (Jeannie Berlin), who became convinced that Naz was innocent and declined to retry the case.