Every moment in The Night Of feels like a clue
The Night Of's undercurrent echoes what went so right with shows like True Detective and Breaking Bad. Even if the HBO miniseries shares DNA with NCIS, it's (brace yourself) art, bolstered by Price and Zaillian's razor-sharp and timely writing. The Night Of comments on issues of racial profiling, the mind-boggling bureaucracy of the legal system, and the opportunistic media circus that invariably ensues after cases like this one.
Price and Zaillian spent the entire season crafting intricate trajectories for their characters. At times, the details are so pointed, they feel like clues to a mystery that may never manifest. We see this in people like John Stone (John Turturro), Naz's on-again, off-again attorney whose foot problems are at once inane, gross, and metaphorical. We see this in Mr. and Mrs. Khan, who are forced to reconcile with the possibility that they "raised an animal" in Naz.
Most important, we see this in Naz's devastating transformation. From nebbish tutor of basketball players to drug-smuggling inmate, our protagonist undergoes a complete metamorphosis. He shaves his head, bulks up, and tattoos the words "Sin" and "Bad" on his knuckles.