We end HBO’s 8 part series with Nasir Khan with someone less innocent than when he walked into Rikers, hooked on smack and having involved himself in a real murder. John Stone relapses on his eczema back to where he was before. It’s all a little perfect circle.
Writer/ Creator Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List, American Gangster, Moneyball, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) followed him from The Night Of to his eventual release leaving the audience at a certain distance. We still only know a bit more of what might have happened that night, and Nas (wonderfully underplayed by Nightcrawler’s Riz Ahmed) has gotten more distant from the audience the more involved he gets with the crime world.
The resolution is as satisfying as it is predictable with a nice subtle nod to who the real killer might be that is consistent with how the show operated, yet to me there’s an unsettling feeling that there may be more to do. Is there enough to put the real perpetrator away? Who is highly suggested to be Royal Pains/ Joey/ Road Trip star Paulo Costanzo who plays Ray Halle, a CPA who was a friend/ associate later revealed to be drug dealing boyfriend John Stone (John Turturro) sought out earlier in the series. This is all if Nas wasn’t actually infact the real killer. What of the procedural overlap in dual investigations and the minor mishaps that lead to Nas’ conviction? What of the other witnesses? Duane Reid? Will Freddy’s cellmate’s murder implicate Naz be followed up on in a future season? These convenient wrap ups and loose ends feel a bit more earned shown on tv during a summer movie season where such answers have attempted twice as much in half the effort, and here it feels natural in a way that these small things fall through the cracks. I make such a comparison because the creator known exclusively for film work is quoted as saying the whole thing shot felt like one long movie. So overall I would say the series is worth watching, never as gripping as its premiere, but a well done procedural nonetheless in a year that hasn’t seen much.