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The Night Of - Part 2: Subtle Beast

Previously on The Night Of, “The Beach”

Starring: Riz AhmedJohn TurturroAriya GhahramaniPoorna JagannathanBill Camp

“Subtle Beast” will have you questioning who believes Naz is guilty of murder. While he waits to be formerly charged, Naz desperately wants to explain what happened to his attorney, Stone, but not only is Stone not interested in hearing it, he doesn’t appear to care whether or not Naz is innocent. As he explains, the prosecution has to play its hand first and then they can shape their story around what the opposition has.

“I need to be flexible.”

Images: HBO

Images: HBO

Before Detective Box takes his case to the District Attorney, he must first speak with Andrea’s stepfather, Don Taylor, to see if there’s any connection between her and Naz and to get an idea of who she was. Turns out, Don’s description pretty much matches what we briefly saw of Andrea in “The Beach”: troubled, liked to drink and do drugs, and came from money. Sounds like a recipe for many suspects, but Box can’t ignore the mountain of evidence against Naz, even if it is circumstantial.

Box tries for a confession, but Naz has already been warned by Stone to keep his mouth shut. He’s a quick study as he switches from English to Urdu when speaking with his parents and notices the surveillance camera in the room. Box put on a friendly front with the Khans, hoping their involvement would help get information out of Naz. Their son cautions that Box is not on their side and calls him a “subtle beast.”

Later, Box not-so-subtly makes a last ditch attempt for a confession and points out there’s a reason Stone doesn’t want to hear Naz’s story: he doesn’t care. It’s just another case for him. Box, on the other hand, actually cares if Naz is innocent. It doesn’t work, and Naz once again keeps quiet.

Stone’s attitude is reflected in many scenes throughout “Subtle Beast.” Over and over we see the people on the law enforcement side of the process deal with situations in a matter-of-fact and emotionless way, while those on the other side (Naz, the Khans, Don Taylor) are clearly dealing with life-changing moments. It’s easy to see why Naz and his parents might feel hopeless.

The fact that Naz and his family are Muslims will surely come into play. 911 affected everyone, but the city of New York was particularly devastated. There are hints that the prejudice displayed in one of the witnesses in “The Beach,” may also infect the police department. In front of Naz’s parents, a police officer refers to Naz as a “Muslim freak” who carved up some girl. Would “nigger” or other derogatory word have flowed off his tongue so easily in a public space? I doubt it. (You can hear more of my thoughts on this in this week’s The Night Of podcast.)

There were more signs that this is so far beyond what anyone would expect of Naz when his mother searches his room. You get the impression this isn’t something she felt she needed to do before. Just like it didn’t occur to them that Naz would have taken the cab when they knew he was missing. She seems genuinely shocked to find condoms in his room. Also, Naz hid Maxim magazines in his closet. Maxim. Not Playboy or Hustler. But a men’s magazine that is openly displayed on magazine racks in stores. Does this sound like someone capable of murder? However, paraphrasing Box, no one is a murderer until they are.

In the end, Naz is taken to central booking where he spends the night and learns that keeping his mouth shut can be a lifesaver in more ways than one. He watches in horror as a suspect is beaten by another simply for crying and vomiting as he goes through the effects of withdrawal. Once Naz is charged, he’s taken to Riker’s Island where nothing good can happen.

The Night Of - Episode 2
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About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

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