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.

To Kill a Mockingbird and Death and the Maiden

Watching the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird was an extremely different experience than reading the novel. While the plot stays deceptively similar to the book’s–several things are cut, but it sticks largely true to what it does show–seeing the action take place was jarring in a way reading the novel was not. This speaks to the true strength of Harper Lee’s version: Scout’s perspective and her singular, childlike view on everything around her. Without this guiding the story, the film is largely centered around and led by Atticus. The movie paints a wide picture of his life as both a single father and a lawyer in the Deep South in the 1930s. Through focusing on Atticus and the trial rather than Jem and Scout’s youth, the story takes a much different turn for the viewer. Instead of being ensconced in Scout’s innocent, simple life, there is no longer any buffer between the viewer and the dark, disturbing happenings in Maycomb.

I am not sure whether it was because of my own naivete, or Scout’s, but while reading To Kill a Mockingbird, I did not grasp the significance of the scene with the crowd outside of Tom’s holding cell. Not until we discussed it virtually did I fully understand that Mr. Cunningham and his friends tried to lynch Tom Robinson before his case had even come to trial. I did not understand, as Scout did not, what exactly the stakes were for Atticus as he sat on the steps and threatened them with the sheriff. I knew there was danger, but the vague feelings of discomfort and forbearance were replaced by an immediate sense of fear and disgust in the film’s version. Seeing it played out, it is clear and repugnant. Mr. Cunningham, the man who doesn’t like to be thanked, tells Atticus: “You know what we want.” Instead of being somewhat in the dark with Scout, this time I knew what he wanted, too. Replacing the perspective of the story entirely changes the tone, though the outcome remains the same. 

Likewise, when seeing the ending with Bob Ewell and Boo Radley, I was similarly disenchanted. Scout sees Boo as a kind of talisman, protector-like figure, perhaps even an imaginary friend. He represents the curiosity and daring of her childhood, and his rescue of her and Jem is a heroic moment, though he speaks little. Seeing him in the movie, he was actually kind of scary, and it hit me for the first time: he actually murdered a man. Not that Bob Ewell deserved less for his numerous crimes, including being basically responsible for Tom Robinson’s death and attempting to kill two children. The fact remains, though, that Boo Radley came out of his house, for the first time since stabbing his own father, and killed a man with a kitchen knife. It made me wonder if perhaps Atticus had been right to tell his children to stop obsessing over him, and if maybe there was a reason he had been locked away for so long. Without the veneer of childhood, the happy ending in the movie falls short in a way that I don’t think the novel’s ending did. Without Scout running the progression of events and narrating them in her own way as they related to her, the movie simply told a sad story and did nothing to fix it. Not that it could have been fixed; the damage was done. We even see Tom Robinson’s family react to his untimely death, in perhaps the scene hardest to watch. The film sorely missed Scout’s ability to seamlessly pair awful stories with the mundanities of school, summer, and her neighbors; the resilience of a child.

In comparing Atticus’s court scene to the other such representations of trials we have studied, I was drawn to thinking about Death and the Maiden. The cases involved are utterly and completely different, but both victims–Paulina and Tom Robinson–face obstacles that they know the law cannot, or will not, overcome for them. I am conflicted about the comparison between Atticus and Gerardo, but it begs to be made. They are both operators for the state with an interest in seeing the right thing happen, but both fall short in this pursuit. Of course, it is difficult to blame Atticus for the jury’s vote, and impossible to fault Gerardo for trying to dissuade Paulina from killing someone. However, Atticus’s ultimate loyalty is to justice more than to individuals, which reminds me of Gerardo in a sense. Gerardo was affected by his wife’s sufferings, and Atticus by Tom’s, but as lawyers devoted above all else, to the peaceful carrying out of the law, both of them lost something in the process.

Someone else talked about Atticus’s reaction to losing the case, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. He was resigned, not angry, which he had every right to be. Whether or not in the novel this was simply because he hid his anger from his children, in the film we see him grapple with Tom’s sentence and Tom’s death–he is affected, but not changed. He and Gerardo, while committed to justice as they see it, are ultimately serving a future that does not include the current grievances of their clients. Paulina, while on the opposite side of the “courtroom” than Tom, has a lot more in common with Tom than Mayella, her obvious counterpart. Though comparing Mayella and Paulina would reveal an interesting dichotomy; a woman seeking vengeance though held back by her husband, and a woman seeking a wrong vengeance under directions from her father. In Mayella’s case, her testimony did lead to the eventual death of the innocent man she accused. In Paulina’s, we never find out whether or not Roberto died, or whether or not he was innocent. Both show vastly different scenarios of the aftermath of a woman being sexually abused, but showcase the power–whether welded correctly or not–victims have when they say their piece. At the same time, they show the powerless; Paulina is never allowed to fully put Roberto on trial, and Mayella, in the end, put the wrong man to death because of her father’s continued hold over her. Atticus and Gerardo, though they might have won or lost their respective cases, have the power in both the play, the film, and the novel. With the law on their side, right or wrong, they are the heroes of their respective stories, and the ones with the most ability to affect change in their respective worlds.