The Night Of, HBO. *****
A spectacularly shot thriller, The Night Of proved to be edge-of-your-seat Easter viewing. Staring Riz Ahmed (Four Lions) and Michael Williams (Omar from The Wire), the acting throughout set it apart from other crime dramas.
The tension is at times unbearable; Nas (Ahmed) is caught at the scene of a gruesome murder, and the series tracks his trial. The series creators have not missed a step with the police processes, the detective work or the legal proceedings. It all seems frighteningly authentic.
Lawyer John Stone and Detective Dennis Box are The Night Of’s yin and yang, and both actors are incredible storytellers. Much like The Wire, the series focuses on the real rather than the fairytale. It’s exceptionally difficult to identify the good guys and the bad guys, with the characters moral codes constantly shifting.
The ending is deliberately, infuriatingly, realistically ambiguous. However, what is clear is that despite Nas’s (presumed) innocence, his time inside a New York penitentiary has caused a very dark shift in his psyche. Essential viewing.