Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The Night Of.”
This was a fittingly unpredictable ending for an unpredictable drama.
The HBO miniseries “The Night Of” wrapped up Nazir “Naz” Khan’s trial and tried to answer the question of whether or not he murdered Andrea Cornish.
However, those looking for a clean answer did not get what they were hoping to see.
Naz’s lawyer Chandra is removed after footage is found of her kissing Naz, meaning his second chair attorney Stone must give the closing argument. After a bumpy trial, the case ends with a hung jury. Instead of gearing up for a retrial, district attorney Helen Weiss decides she would not like to prosecute Naz any further. Much to Stone and Chandra’s surprise and delight, Naz is set free.
This might have come as a shock to anyone who thought that the burden of evidence was against Naz. Remember he was found with a bloody knife in his pocket and left DNA evidence all over the scene of the crime. However, it likely helped him that Sgt. Box, on the eve of his retirement from the force, found another possible suspect, adding doubt in both his and Weiss’s minds to Naz’s role in the murder.
So Naz got off, but he wasn’t officially declared innocent. After the last few weeks in which prison was turning Naz into a hardened criminal leading up to a grisly murder in which he was a bystander, it seemed like the finale was headed towards a tragic conclusion.
Instead, the ending was actually somewhat low key.
Naz, now harboring a serious drug addiction, sits in the same spot where he and Andrea first bonded by the George Washington Bridge. Stone, meanwhile, gets a late night prison call from an unspecified new client. Shockingly, it seems like everybody has already moved on.
“No one’s even thinking about you anymore,” Stone tells Naz about the status of the trial.
And on that note, the show left us with more loose ends than answers. We don’t know who Stone spoke to on the phone. Naz left his prison mentor Freddy without so much as a goodbye. Andrea’s killer has yet to be convicted. This seems less like bad writing and more like an intentional ambiguity.
One thing that isn’t as surprising is that this was always a show that was more about the characters than the verdict. A broken justice system will move on whether or not Naz spends the rest of his life in prison. And in the end, Naz is haunted by the memories of Andrea, and not even sure if his family thinks he is innocent. No matter what judgment was handed down that day, Naz’s life is changed forever. It’s a haunting and unsettling way to end the most compelling crime drama of the year.
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