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The Night Of

The Night Of is a series about the main character Nasir “Naz” Khan who is accused of murdering Andrea Cornish. The story starts off with Naz getting a phone call from his friend about a party, though Naz is a very disciplined and overall a good guy he is hesitant at first, but decides to go thinking not much will happen, but little does he know what awaits. He steals his dad’s cab and goes to Manhattan for the party. On the way he gets lost and stops by the side of the road to find the destination, in that time a young girl hops into the cab thinking he is a cab driver, but Naz does not tell her to get out of the cab due to the fact he thought she was very attractive and just went along took her where she wanted to go. Their connection starts to grow and they start getting more fond of each other as the night goes on. He buys her beer, even though he does not drink himself and they go sit by the Brooklyn Bridge. Andrea offers Naz some type of drug, though he has never taken any before he ends up taking the drug. As the night progresses they go back to Andrea’s place. When they get to her place, they take more drugs and drink. Andrea starts playing a game with a knife and ends up stabbing herself in the hand. They both end up going upstairs and start making love. What seems to be later on in the night, Naz who has been blacked out wakes up in the kitchen and realizes he’s been out too late and goes upstairs to say goodbye to Andrea but when he enters her bedroom she is covered in blood with stab markings all down her back. The room is covered with blood stains, starting from the back wall all the way to the curtains. Like any normal person Naz freaks out and does not know what has happened. He is trying to figure out what happened in the time between they were together and now. He is sure of the fact that he did not kill her, but he is so freaked out he grabs the knife that has blood stains on it and the pills, so the police do not have evidence of who might have done it. Naz gets caught in an unexpected way. He originally gets stopped by the police for drunk driving, but during the same time the cops gets a call about a break in the same area and because they are the closest cop car to that scene they have to go, and end up taking Naz with them in the back seat of the car. As they approach the scene it ends up being Andrea’s apartment. A neighbor saw a man trying to break in who was Naz trying to get his keys. The cops go inside and end up finding Andrea dead in a pool of her own blood. The investigation then starts and because it has been so long since Naz has been in the back they cannot perform the drink test on him, so the cops decide to let him go, but before he is let go they have to check him for unarmed weapons, and as the cop is searching him she finds the knife that Naz took from the apartment covered in blood; and from there Naz is the main suspect of the crime.

         Naz is taken into custody and is questioned by detective Dennis Box. The audience can see that Naz is in shock and does not understand what has happened. He went from hanging out with this random girl and the next thing you know he sees that she is laying in her own blood, but deep down he knows that he did not kill her, but the authorities think otherwise. After his questioning he is sitting in the cell, while he is there attorney Jack Stone walks by him and sees he is in need of help. Jack offers to help Naz unaware of the fact that he is accused of homicide. Jack is trying his best to help when attorney Alison Crowe decides to take on the case and help out Naz. Naz now has been transferred into Riker’s Island jail. This series gives us a glimpse to the way jails run in America. We see the real truth of how inmates are living with each other and how hard it can be for many of the inmates. On Naz’s first night he is given many death threats and at one point the bed he sleeps on is put on fire while he went to the bathroom. Throughout his time in jail we see that he starts to change, the once so innocent Naz is starting to get influenced by the people he is surrounded with. He starts getting tattoos and then goes on to doing weed while he is in there. You can see his whole mannerisms start to change and he is starting to look like a criminal, but throughout the whole time he stands his ground and does not plead guilty, which leads us to the corruption of how attorneys and lawyers work. Naz’s lawyer meets with prosecutor Helen Weiss and is negotiating the sentence Naz would get if he pleads guilty. She gives Naz the news and explains to him that this is the best offer he will get if he wants to get out and have a life. If he does not plead guilty, he is risking the possibility of having a life sentence. This type of occurrence is very common in cases, which is very sad. People are forced to plead guilty for crimes they have not committed to ensure that they can be free some point in their life. These types of situations tell us a lot about how America’s legal system works, and how all lawyers really care about is winning their cases, not about the people they are trying to defend. Innocent people are forced to plead guilty for crimes they have not done just so they do not have to spend the rest of their lives in jail. But throughout the show Naz does not give up and pleads not guilty. At the end of the series the grand jury ends up having a tie 6 to 6. The judge gives prosecutor Helen the option to do another trial with a new jury, but she denies the offer which makes Naz a free man. Helen and Box decide to take on the lead that homicide detective Box found earlier who is the man that we see is the first guy they meet walking down the street in the first episode and is the guy who killed Andrea. This series pinpoints many different themes and problems that are occurring in America and its legal system now. Overall this was a very interesting show and I am glad this assignment finally gave me a chance to finish this very well put together series.

Girl Power

I had already watched this entire tv show before it was a choice for this prompt which was exciting as I knew I could now have a reason to rewatch this amazing show and dig deeper into the meaning. Although this was a gruesome watch, in the end displayed an important message of empowerment, something I didn’t notice when I watched it the first time around.

This show begins to explain the all too common issue our country faces everyday of serial rapists walking the streets freely. The viewers are first put into the show by being told and shown that a young troubled girl, Marie, gets raped by a masked man in her apartment. After clear signs of her being uncomfortable and scared, it seems as if she is almost coerced into retracting her statement by two male detectives as her stories and past are a little off putting. At this point, they completely shove Marie to the side and even charge her with false statements, something she could go to jail for. Immediately, the audience understands the dramatic irony being played out as we have to watch the scene take place over and over again in Marie’s mind.

The most interesting aspect of this show to me was power in each female characters presence and motive. This is shown particularly when we are introduced to the two lead female detectives, Karen Duvall and Grace Rassmussen, begin to search for the same rapist, due to many separate incidences happening very close to them. We learn that within the system, rape cases are more often than not pushed to the side because of homicide cases, something a lot of people deem as more important or catastrophic. Although this is a common speculation in the real world also, rape victims, in most cases, seem to be more traumatized for the rest of their lives than those of the family and friends of homicide cases. Although this is not always true, there is still some accuracy behind this.

Finally, when many women are group together as all violated by the same man, the two powerful detectives work together to find the horrific man behind all of these twisted crimes. Although they are pushed to the side numerous times by different detectives, police officers, and FBI agents, all who are males, they continue on only to find many more victims of similar crimes.

We continue to hear about Marie’s story as although she is suffering through many criminal court system due to this false charge, she is put on probation and everything in her life begins to fall apart. The saddest part about this show is that it takes the last episode for anyone to even believe her. She tells her mandatory therapist that this all happened to her and other girls everywhere because “if the truth is inconvenient, […] they don’t believe it”. However, unknown to her at the time, there are two powerful and successful women trying to find her and give her the truth that no one wanted to believe.

Although this show and message is not trying to discredit every male presence that enters the plot, and that is not what they display. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of female intuition and what it means to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the most convenient or popular. Even after they have the man in custody it is found out that he may have many more pictures of victims on a hard drive that is password protected. Instead of truly caring about this issue, the state prosector gives up and acts like he almost doesn’t care because he is getting what he wants out of the charges.

In the end, The serial rapist is charged with the maximum sentence of 300+ years in prison and will never walk as a free man again. Just as important, he eventually asked to be interviewed to “explain himself” but requests a male interviewers as, ironically, “women make him uncomfortable”.

Although this show is a great display of powerful police work and the intuition of women, the most prominent theme of each episode is the strength within each victim, like Marie. Although these women will never be the same, they each have their own story to tell and life to carry on with. It takes an extraordinary person to be put in a horrific situation like this and come out stronger, and many women of this show did. As Marie was wronged for many things while in the system, she decides she will no longer just take what is given to her and decides to sue the state for these injustices. although they do not go to trial, she is given a great amount of settlement money that allows her to move on and leave her current life. She eventually talks to detective Duvall and explains that although his maximum sentence was great, and the money she recieved was needed, she confides in her that the most important part of everything was knowing that there were two women, from different parts of the country, looking out for her, when no one else was. This female power shown through this show was empowering and convincing and allowed the audience to feel a lot better than an everyday story usually would.

Eichmann Was You But Normal-er

Eichmann in Jerusalem seemed most notable to me for it’s subtitle, A Report on the Banality of Evil. We discussed this in class but I noticed a few passages in the book went undiscussed and so I would like to bring them up here. What was brought up in class was the idea that Banality, as a word, is referring to unoriginality. Some comments being made referenced the fact that while what the Nazi’s did was clearly atrocious and horrible, it is regrettably far from unique in its goals, though it is unprecedented in scope. Certainly this is true and ought to be talked about and dealt with, but something else that was brought up and I think deserves a little more of our time is that this book doesn’t really deal much with the crimes of the Nazi’s as a whole, or as in idea, and deals much more with one man, Eichmann. He is the one who is so unremarkable, so unoriginal. 

Eichmann wasn’t crazy. That’s the problem. He likely wasn’t even unusually malicious. Chapter 2 of the book spends a great deal of time painting a picture of the life of this dull-witted unremarkable desk jockey. He was a mostly unsuccessful man his whole life, who only fell into position because of his family connections, and fell into the National Socialist Party (Nazi’s) more or less the same way. He doesn’t seem to have sought it out, it just sort of happened to him and he went with it. 

Pages 25 and 26 were, for me, the most interesting part of the entire reading. Arendt says

As for base motives, (Eichmann) was quite sure that he was not what he called a…dirty bastard in the depths of his heart.

Eichmann believes, and in fact believes correctly in some sense, that he committed no criminal act, and did the things he did out of no base motives. And what’s more, he isn’t crazy. Arendt goes on on the same pages to say that, 

Half a dozen psychiatrists had certified him as “normal”…his whole psychological outlook, his attitude towards his wife and children, mother and father, brothers, sisters, and friends, was “not only normal, but most desirable.”

Arendt touches on the significance of this in her epilogue. She states that it is an almost axiomatic principle of modern legal systems that, for a crime to be committed (and therefore punished), there must be on some level the intent to commit a crime. She says on page 277

Where this intent is absent, where, for whatever reasons, even reasons of moral insanity, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong is impaired, we feel no crime has been committed.

Eichmann had no such intent. No such conceptualization that he was doing anything either criminal or morally reprehensible. And as established, he was quite sane. 

The significance of this cannot be overstated. The worst crimes in history were committed by men and women who truly did not believe they were doing anything wrong. Who did so with no malice. How can we hold guilty before the law someone who did not have the desire to commit a crime or the knowledge that they were doing so because in fact, under their laws, they were not? 

And yet we must. 

So a completely normal man, an unoriginal, banal man, not at all unlike you or I, perpetrated in, supported, and carried out the Holocaust. And he did so without any base feelings of rage or hate or malice, and technically committed no crime to do so. That’s hard to deal with. 

Partus Sequitur Ventrem

In both Philip’s and Harris’ works, there is a question, spoken or non, about the association of blackness to property.

For Harris, she noted that slavery was a system that thrived from the division of color, facilitating the idea that ownership was a birthright of skin tone. On page 278, Harris says, “…the institution of slavery, lying at the very core of economic relations, was bound up with the idea of property.” There were many continuing underlying issues perpetuating the idea of whiteness as property, but the most notable was the monetary gain white slave owners were earning from their black slaves.

Philips examined every line of text from the Zong legal case and offered her own expert insight on the determination of the case. As she tore into insurance and property law, she highlighted several key points, one of which was the reasoning behind throwing the African slaves overboard. The insurance company would have to pay the Captain and the family buying the slaves money for “loss of property and income.” In the original case document, the slaves were referred to as “cargo.” Slaves were considered property.

I find it interesting that in both readings we hear cases for blackness as property, and in each case, the law stands on the side of white, property-owning citizens. Even though the law does not strictly mention skin color, it mentions property, and slaves had their statuses legally demoted to “domestic animal” and were branded as animals (Duke Law). This was because whites had adopted the Roman law of partus sequitur ventrem. It handled the legal status of animals in Rome, but the law had been twisted to fit the needs of slave owners by becoming “a legal doctrine concerning the slave or free status of children born in the English royal colonies” (Wikipedia, Duke Law). Both authors make strong legal arguments that blackness was a determinant of property, and I believe they are correct in their stances of black skin color sealing slaves’ fates as property.

Duke Law:

I realize Wikipedia isn’t a good source, but Duke Law stated the same idea. Wikipedia just said it better.