Watching Naz on HBO’s The Night Of is like watching a wide-eyed Bambi nuzzle a hunter’s rifle. From the fantastic first episode, Riz Ahmed is committed to making the unbelievable believable: Dear sweet Jesus, why would you do that, Naz? you are undoubtedly screaming at the TV. But scream all you want, dear viewer, because our naïve protagonist has apparently never watched an episode of Law & Order, Criminal Minds, The Wire, or, for God’s sake, Bones in his entire existence. He’s a freshly hatched chick, oblivious to the most basic rules of conduct after you’ve been arrested for a crime. So let’s snap to it: Here’s a running list of dumb things that Naz has done so far — one that has only lengthened approaching the finale. And we’re being charitable here.
Leave the house in the first place.
All the signs were telling you this wasn’t meant to be the night you got laid. Your parents told you not to go to that party, all your friends bailed on you, and you couldn’t find a ride. In New York City, that’s when we call it a night. But no, you chose to steal your dad’s only source of income, the cab he owns with two other people, and take a joyride through Manhattan with the very first hot stranger who mistakes you for an actual cabbie. If, by some miracle you make it out of this, Naz, maybe next time, don’t think with your dick.
Not know how to use your father’s taxi.
You know what else could have prevented this entire chain of horrific events? If you just switched to “Off Duty” on your father’s cab. You should have figured this out before you started driving!
Pop a random pill from a stranger.
What did your mother tell you about taking drugs from hot strangers?
Put the murder weapon in your jacket pocket.
All right. If we were ranking this list, this is beyond a reasonable doubt the number one dumb thing that Naz does. We get it: You’re freaked out! You just had the wildest night of crazy drug sex in your life and you wake up to a dead body. Yikes! You have no idea what happened, or if — gasp — you did it. But the very, very, very last thing you should do is put the murder weapon in your pocket and run away with it. Come on! At least wipe the fingerprints and leave it.
Break back into the apartment because you forgot your keys.
We actually feel for you on this one, Naz. We lose our keys all the time. This was just the worst possible time you could have done that.
Try to run away from the cops — in the police station.
There were a lot of times you could have run, Naz. In fact, you tried at the beginning. Good effort. But, the worst time to pull this trick is in the police station after the cops find a bloody knife in your pocket. Where are your critical-thinking skills?
Talk to the cop!
Get. [clap emoji] A. [clap emoji] Lawyer. [clap emoji]
Agree to DNA testing.
Oh my God, Naz, this is the second-dumbest thing you could have done. The detective Dennis Box is actually telling you, “I need your consent, Naz.” That means you have a choice here to say no. You know you had rough sex with Andrea: Is there any question that her DNA will be all over your penis?
Trust literally every inmate who speaks to you.
If the guy in the bed next to you informs you he knows how to turn lukewarm water into acid with baby oil from the commissary, shows you the crime-scene photo of his dead niece, and repeatedly tells you he’s in for trying to kill her killer, maybe stay far away. He is not your buddy. He will not help you. Stop following him around like a lost puppy. And quite frankly, when he flips the script and throws said acid at your face, you deserve it. (And while we’re at it, quit confiding in Freddy! This will not end well.)
Royally screw up the plea deal.
Look, we get it, 12-to-15 years is a long time to spend in prison. Especially for someone so clearly unfit for prison life as you, Naz. But you know what’s longer than 15 years? Your entire life! Potentially without possibility of parole! How you failed so miserably to accept the lesser of two evils here — and continue to naïvely think your version of the truth will set your free — defies logic, like pretty much everything you’ve done since you followed your penis to that party downtown.
Tell your free lawyer to quit.
After flushing the plea deal down the toilet, any sympathetic son might have mercy on his poor parents’ depleted wallets. But nope! On a power trip, you proceed to taunt your pro-bono lawyer to quit, putting your already too-patient mother and father in the dire position of having to pay a lofty lawyer’s fee for the entirety of your doomed trial. Did you even realize this impulsive decision now means your fate is in the hands of a younger attorney who very obviously has never led the defense on a murder trial? Way to go, buddy!
Shave your head.
While your Vulture editors differ on whether Riz looks hotter with a shaved head, what we do agree on is that it is a monumentally bad idea to do so before you appear in court. Love that you’re getting swole, though.
Become a drug mule.
The D.A.R.E. program really failed you, Naz.
Tattoo “Sin” and “Bad” on his knuckles.
LOL, you’re so damn corny.
Start smoking crack.
Ahem, see above.
Kiss his lawyer.
So this is on both of you, but Naz is such a vortex that he can bring even the level-headed Chandra down to the depths of dumb. To be fair, Naz kind of started this mess by calling her on his secret burner phone, but Chandra: We expected more from you, girl. (I mean, we kind of get it, though. Those eyes.)
Repeatedly lie to your lawyers.
A lie by omission is still a lie, Naz. And when your life is on the line, maybe don’t forget to tell your lawyers you also took (and previously dealt!) Adderall the night you possibly murdered someone. And your violent past? How about you be more forthright about that next time so your lawyers aren’t totally blindsided during the trial.
Help Freddy kill a guy.
Prison has really changed you, Naz.