Image from HBOBy Darian Scalamoni
Episode 3 of The Night Of brings the viewer inside the intense and intimidating prison that Naz is located. This installment does a fantastic job of really providing the audience with a look of how gritty and terrifying a jail could be. The concrete walls that act as a barrier to the outside world, barbed wire fences along with a brick façade that suggests the neglect for the upkeep of the prison. Now that Naz is within the confines of jail, he will quickly discover that the culture is more dangerous than any other.
Once inside the prison, you truly get the sense of how awful this place is with all the details down to a T. Whether it’s the heavy clanking of the gates opening and closing, the security which is emphasized as Naz’s mother is casually violated behind a privacy curtain, or even the angst that Naz feels every minute that he is in there by looking over his shoulder more often than not. But this episode also introduces us to an important new character named Freddy (played by Michael K. Williams).
Freddy is a former boxer serving time and offers Naz a slab of veal that a guard has given him for protection on the outside. As one can tell by his appearance, demeanor and words, Freddy is a very important man. It’s unmistakable that Freddy is offering Naz help due to the fact that he is small, soft and vulnerable: an easy target for inmates who aren’t too happy about the fact that he raped and murdered a young woman. Unfortunately for Naz, he turns down the assistance and we see within minutes that it was a huge mistake.
As for Naz’s lawyer, John Stone, he is having his inexperience be a tool against him. He has a reputation as a lawyer who goes about plea deals and is known mostly for his face being plastered on billboards and glossy business cards. This makes it easier for the district attorney, who planes on exploit this as a weakness on the trial lawyer and Naz’s case. Stone brings his own $75,000 flat fee down to $50,000, which he thinks they can afford and then even offers up an option B but it’s one that would ultimately be much worse for them. In comes Alison Crowe who is a big-time defense lawyer who sees defending the muslim suspect as a chance to be in the spotlight. She pitches to Naz’s parents that she’ll even work for free and her assistant, Chandra, who is “close enough” to their ethnic background that they can feel more comfortable and reassured that they’re in the right hands. Though his parents are totally backing Alison, Naz is devastated because Stone was his protector on the worst night of his life and he doesn’t know who else to trust. The future looks bleak for Naz.
As we see illustrated perfectly in this episode, Naz and Stone are outsiders in their own respective worlds. They’re easily dismissed or operate a certain way that those in power like Alison and Freddy look down upon them. This is what makes up the unmistakable bond between the two so-called underdogs within the series.
This week does another great job of providing the story of a young man who is in a place where he doesn’t belong, while his former eczematic lawyer loses another major client. The two men are just fighting for their place and to have themselves heard. The HBO miniseries continues to be one of the best things on TV this year.