I laughed, I cried.
No, it's not all about me, but The Night Of Season 1 Episode 8 delivered about as much of a happy ending as the series could have under the circumstances.
There was a very non-case related reason I thought the character revealed as the killer would be the killer, but other than justice for Andrea, finding the killer was hardly the reason to watch The Night Of.
From the point of watching a case and learning how your average citizen can be raked over the coals. their life inexplicably changed forever just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, The Night Of was a brilliant learning experience.
Thankfully, Naz got his "happy" ending because a retiring Detective Box couldn't (and wouldn't) in the end leave the case with so many unanswered questions.
If Stone hadn't decided to get involved with Naz after seeing him in lockup that first night, that might have been a different story entirely. Someone who wasn't as hungry to taste a bigger case might have let all of the little things ride, or really screwed up. Just like Chandra and her boss. Heck, I've forgotten that lady's name. She was forgettable.
It was simply mind blowing the lengths to which Chandra ended up going for Naz. There are no words. We weren't given any indication that she wasn't in her right mind, but outside of that notion, what else would have compelled her to put Naz on the stand against Stone's advice and to do what she did to secure Naz's testimony?
You know, at the beginning, I thought maybe we had a 10% shot. Now? Zero. You just convicted him.Stone
Chandra is a very, very lucky woman. She was, ultimately, a kiss away from prosecution and a prison sentence. If
Box** hadn't found that kiss, he would have looked further into their lawyer/client chats and discovered her pulling condoms filled with goodies out of her nether regions.
**Update: Thank you, good readers. It is clear now. It was Freddy who was shown the DVD first in prison. I thought there were TWO. Now I see my error. Freddy had the DVD sent to Stone, thereby saving Naz. He really did care, even with all the dubious things he did. Still wasn't in question, but even nicer on the inside.**
And Naz? Well, he and Chandra would have made great prison pen pals.
When you think of how close Box was earlier to finding the right suspect, it's incredibly frustrating. If he had only listened to his guy instead of Mrs. Weiss. He had watched that video of Andrea walking on the sidewalk so many times, but never paid attention to anything but her walking up to the cab.
WHY she wanted the cab was what was important to finding other suspects. Well, better than never.
When Mrs. Weiss didn't listen to him again he had to resort to setting up a mistrial. A kid's life was on the line. An innocent. He wasn't going to start talking about what he knew, but he was going to do what he could to make sure someone had to look at the other evidence.
It didn't work like Box or Stone expected. The judge wanted Stone to deliver the closing argument. This sent him into a tailspin.
It's a shame, really, because nobody knew the case as well as Stone, and nobody cared as deeply for Naz. But he got so stressed out that a full blown panic attack blew up every allergic reaction he had.
Shelter Employee: No!
Stone: I'm not discussing it.
He had already taken Kitty back (if seeing Kitty's little head pop up out of that box didn't crush your heart, you better check around your torso...it might have been dislodged). He couldn't blame the cat for his problems. It had to be the first time Stone realized the full weight of his burden being his own issues.
Mrs. Weiss delivered a closing argument that Box just couldn't sit through, and getting up to walk out at the exact moment she said the police never had another suspect really flustered her. She was incapable of finishing her close.
Stone though, even with his appearance as ragged as he had ever looked, spoke from the heart and with all the intellect and passion of someone who had been delivering closing arguments for years.
Meanwhile, Naz had to go back to Rikers one last time, because the jury was deliberating into the night.
As his life was hanging in the balance, Freddy reminded Naz that staying there wouldn't be so awful. People cared about Naz there. Freddy himself cared about Naz, and when Naz wondered again why the man cared at all, Freddy reminded him of everything he had said before.
Naz is special, and having Naz under his wing made Freddy feel like he was protecting a unicorn. How screwed up would it be if he let something happen to him? What kind of person did Naz think he was, anyway?
And that was so enlightening, because it was impossible not to believe Freddy when he said that, even as he was the person who had done the most damage to Naz other than the police. By protecting Naz, he had introduced him to heroin and other drugs, he'd permanently marked his body with tattoos and made him an accessory to murder, among other things.
But Naz came out better than some others, I'm sure. Some people go in and fly under the radar. Some go in and are so above the radar, they have to find protection. And that protection comes at a cost. Naz's cost wasn't anywhere near as dear as what people like Petey suffered.
The deadlocked jury gave Mrs. Weiss the opportunity to do the right thing in not trying Naz again. If the jury hadn't been deadlocked, Stone's appeal would have been successful, but how far gone would have Naz been by then?
Arguably, he's too far gone now to ever reclaim the life he had before. The worried look upon Andrea's face as she sat beside him as he got high made me wonder if Naz wouldn't be joining her sooner rather than later. And would he be happier for it?
He wasn't a happy kid before prison, and he sure as hell will not be able to call himself happy after that experience. At least he held his own when he came face-to-face with the guy who testified against him. Will that remain true when Stone isn't with him? Who knows?
Stone: Everyone's got a cross to bear, Naz, pardon the expression. Fuck 'em all. Live your life.
Naz: Thank you for what you did for me.
Stone: Don't mention it.
Mrs. Weiss and Box have the pleasure of arresting Ray Halle. Paulo Costanzo in the role led me to believe he should be considered a suspect, along with his willingness to point fingers at others and his over eager desire to assist Stone.
And finally, there was Stone. Back into his old habits. Watching something like Forensics Files (even if it wasn't, it should be, because what a great show that was), and from experience, I can tell you there is an ASPCA commercial at least once during every episode. It brings me to tears, as it did as I imagined Stone and Kitty.
Stone took that call, and got ready to walk out the door. But he didn't go near Kitty's door, so I was a little bit bereft. I'm not going to lie. Animal stories kill me. So Naz is now a drug addict. WHAT ABOUT KITTY??
As they continued to focus on that door, I was shedding tears as Roberta Flack continued to poke at my soft inner core, right through my crusty crab shell. I kid you not. I felt so awful for Stone, and I was a little confused, because I was SO sure he would have gone back for Kitty. Surely I wasn't wrong!
Then Kitty came strolling across the kitchen floor. Kitty doesn't stay in one room anymore! I want an HBO series about Stone and his crazy cases. That's what I want. His life and these characters can sustain it. Would John Turturro be up for it? Don't know. But I'd watch. One big case, a couple of smaller cases per season.
This has been so entertaining, informative and more engaging than your regular run of the mill whodunnit on television. Would you be up for more? Let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for riding along with us at TV Fanatic! It's been a pleasure. Until the next series...
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.