Suspenseful Mystery Miniseries Sees An Innocent Man On Trial For Dark Crime

By Britta DeVore | Published

Over the years, HBO has become one of the top destinations for well-written and professionally performed dramas. Titles like True Detective and The Regime are drawing audiences in, with long-finished shows, including Game of Thrones and The Leftovers, still grabbing ahold of viewers and not letting go until they’ve binged every last bit. One of those in the latter category is The Night Of, a 2016 crime drama miniseries filled with captivating performances and an intriguing storyline that only became more intricate as each episode went on.

A Missing Night

Starring Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), The Night Of nabbed its storyline from the premiere season of the U.K.’s 2008 show Criminal Justice. In it, chaos and horror fully engross a college student’s life after the young man, Naz (Ahmed), goes out one night with a girl only to find her brutally murdered in his bed the next morning. Although he has no recollection of the events that led up to her untimely and tragic death, Naz is the leading suspect in the case, and – due to his memory struggle – he can’t provide law enforcement with the information needed to clear himself.

The Award-Winning Cast

Along with Riz Ahmed, The Night Of featured a myriad of stars working at their A-game. This call sheet also included the likes of John Turturro (The Batman), Michael K. Williams (The Wire), and Sofia Black-D’Elia (Single Drunk Female). Over eight gripping episodes, viewers were led through the ups and downs of Naz’s nightmarish journey in a screenplay penned by Richard Price and Steven Zaillian. Carefully teetering the line between suspicion and certainty, the project kept audiences guessing about Naz’s innocence vs. guilt behind the victim’s gruesome death.

A Hit With The Critics

Despite some being unhappy with the pacing, The Night Of was largely a favorite of both subscribers and critics. Mentioned by numerous award events, the series claimed nominations at such celebrations as the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Emmys. At the latter, the title received a whopping 13 nominations, bagging five, with Ahmed taking home the honor of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

The Original Plan

Almost as enthralling and intriguing as the show itself is the story behind how The Night Of came to be, with the first talks surfacing in 2012. The project was first meant to star James Gandolfini, who already had a terrific rapport with HBO thanks to the success of The Sopranos. Unfortunately, the network would ultimately pass on its first chance with The Night Of, and by the time the creative team got it up and running again, Gandolfini had passed away.

Only One Season

Given some time to think, HBO circled back on The Night Of, with Robert De Niro set to replace Gandolfini in the co-leading role. Being the busy man that he is, De Niro was unable to commit to the project, leaving the spot open for Turturro to take over.

While a second season has been speculated by both the creative team and stars like Turturro, as of right now, no major moves have been made. However, you can catch the first and only season of The Night Of as it’s now streaming on Max.