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Let’s Discuss The Night Of Finale, ‘Call of the Wild’

We’ll be talking here about what transpired in the finale of The Night Of. Suffice it to say: Megaspoilers abound in what follows.

Now we know. We know who killed Andrea Cornish on the “night of” referred to in the name of this series. It was not Duane Reade. It was not Mr. Day the creepy undertaker, nor Don Taylor the gold-digging stepfather. It wasn’t, thankfully, Naz. It wasn’t even the cat, that poor, allergy-inducing feline that put a surprisingly touching period at the end of the otherwise pretty bleak but engrossing sentence that was this Night Of finale.

The murderer turned out to be Raymond Halle, the accountant who helpfully slipped John Stone all of Don Taylor’s incriminating personal information without bothering to mention his own romantic relationship with Andrea or, by the way, the fact that he killed her and there’s sufficient evidence to prove it.

As was the case in Criminal Justice, the British show on which The Night Of is based, a hell of a lot of important facts came out in the 11th hour of Naz’s case, facts that threw some cold water on the show’s credibility. (How did no one bother to look at all that security footage before?) But in keeping with the key difference between the American version and the U.K. one, those facts and the rest of this story were presented with much greater commitment to detail, deeper nuance, and far more focus on John Stone, the sleazy defense attorney who keeps coming to the aide of every mug who stupidly gets himself in trouble with the law. In the end, The Night Of was ultimately a drama about him as much as, if not more, than it was about Naz or the inevitable, depressing churn of the legal system.

By the end of this mini-series, the career of an intelligent but misguided young attorney was ruined; a depressed, eczema-ridden defense attorney was still scratching all his same old itches, both literal and metaphorical; and one drug-addicted young person (Andrea) was replaced by another — Naz, the innocent wrongly accused of killing her. I’d say it wasn’t exactly the feel-good TV series of the summer, but then that cat strolled through John’s apartment at the end, confirming that John could never get rid of a defenseless animal, including the kind of “animals” who commit crimes. And suddenly my heart warmed, just a little.

While a lot of ends were tied up in this finale, there are still some questions rattling around. Our recap will no doubt address some of those. But for now, some things to ponder:

Seriously, why was no one looking at all this security footage?
Box, who was supposed to be retired, was the only person who bothered to pull every possible piece of security-camera footage that revealed more about Andrea’s whereabouts prior to her connection with Naz and, as it turned out, the nature of her relationship with Ray. I can understand why the prosecution might not bother with this: They thought they had their guy in an open-and-shut case. But Chandra, who went to the trouble to look at the footage from the gas station, should have been exploring this material, too. Other than for the sake of narrative convenience, it doesn’t make sense that she didn’t try to do that, especially since she was clearly determined to shine a light on any and all other suspects who could have committed the murder. (By the way, I liked the way it was obvious from the very beginning of the episode that, unlike in Criminal Justice, Box would not turn out to be the bad guy. “How about a series about a cop who doesn’t give a shit?” suggested a guy drinking at the bar where Box was sitting, making it very clear that this would not be a series about a cop who doesn’t give a shit.)

Did it make any sense to put Naz on the stand?
No, it did not. Like, none whatsoever.

Did Chandra deserve to have her career ruined?
Her judgment was terrible, yes, but I also think she was very good at examining witnesses and keeping a cool head in front of the jury. Given her willingness to engage in illegal activities at her client’s request, she probably shouldn’t be a lawyer anymore. But I still felt badly for her.

Is John Turturro just the best?
Yes, he sure is. His closing-argument scene is clearly going straight to For Your Consideration Emmy status, which is precisely where it belongs.

If Weiss and Box, as implied in the episode, are now going to pursue Ray, does this mean we’ll get a second installment of The Night Of that follows their attempt to indict and prosecute him?
Unclear, but it would be nice to get more complete closure on this case. And it would certainly be interesting to see Stone defending that guy after, more or less, getting Naz off the hook.

Now it’s your turn to discuss these and other matters. To the comments, ladies and gentlemen of The Night Of jury!

The Night Of Finale: Let Us Discuss the Verdict