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The Night Of: “Part IV: The Art of War” Review

by Alexandra Mitchell
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With this episode, the limited series The Night Of has now reached the half way point. What so far do we have to show for it? A young kid learning the ropes of being in jail/prison. An attorney and prosecutor duke it out over sentencing to help the criminal justice system from the stress of another trial. And the young girl who was murdered had a more troubled past than realized. First a recap:

And now our thoughts on  –

Part IV: The Art of War

CALVIN: What you gotta do now is start walking like a man not afraid to look a man in the eye; but don’t ever look him in the eye, you’ll regret that.


The advice is given to Naz by Calvin, an accused killer, along with the even stronger opinion that Naz should accept no favors from Freddy. Though no longer officially on the case, Stone looks into Andrea’s background, finding priors – narcotics convictions – and court-ordered rehab stays. At one facility he bribes a security worker for her records, which he in turn sells to Chandra at a profit. Alison meets with prosecutor Helen Weiss to broker a plea deal, settling on Manslaughter with a 15-year max sentence. At the hearing, Naz recounts the events of “the night of” as he remembers them, but won’t say he killed Andrea. Since this means the case will now go to trial, Alison informs the Khans that junior attorney Chandra will take over, and that the firm’s services will no longer be free. Back at Rikers, Naz decides he has to accept Freddy’s offer of protection if he is to survive.

“Why me?”

Life in jail is not going so hot of Naz. Well, hot is actually fairly accurate. His bed got torched at the end of the last episode. Heat is an incredibly important aspect to this episode, because not only is the trial starting to heat up, but Naz is finding himself in hot water.  Freddy takes an interest in Naz, but suddenly this other guy is showing interest.  He tells Naz that he can’t trust Freddy, and “I can teach you some pointers.” Real helpful guy at first.  But at the same time, Freddy is trying to help.  Because intellectually, something we find out that Freddy values, Naz can help him. Street smarts trading for book smarts. Freddy values education, and he knows right now Naz values being protected.  Freddy attempts to pass on his own education book wise.  While most inmates read the Art of War, what Freddy recommends is the Call of the Wild by Jack London. What Freddy keenly observes is that in such a trapped and close environment, man is not that different from dog. Men will pack together to survive. But it is about picking who you want in your pack. Naz is continuing to hedge his bets on who he wants in his corner.  But he finds himself in more hot water with his “new buddy” when he actually tosses hot water and oil on Naz. The water itself isn’t boiling hot but with the oil mixed, it burns nicely.  This guy’s motivation seems to be in finding similar traits between Naz and the guy that killed his niece.  Both claim they didn’t do it, but the other guy went to trial and got off.  Naz is a target, and in the end, he makes the right call.


“So predictable”

Crowe has stepped up and taken over for Stone as Naz’s representation. She’s doing it for free, and the reason she’s doing it is the pretty news coverage the story is getting. Even Nancy Grace was covering it! Her first step is to work with the prosecutor on a plea deal. Now as a criminal justice student, this is something I was expecting to see. As unfortunate as it is to be a victim in the court and see a case get pled out, the actual law system could not function if every single case went to trial. Swift justice would not be swift in that case.  Sometimes, it can be particularly difficult to see a case get pled to a minor charge, especially based on how much evidence is available. But overall, that is what happens to most cases.  For the detective Box, he knew it was coming.  Based on the evidence though, he was really really really hoping for a trial.  But it’s predictable. Plead it out and move on to the next one. So by now, Crowe has had the publicity she wanted and she wants this to plead out so she can move onto her next case. If it goes to trial, she knows she is likely to lose anyway.  Crowe even brings in her associate to convince Naz, which backfires in the most beautiful way possible as she says to keep fighting if you’re innocent.  Once he maintains his innocence, Crowe steps down and tells his parents to fork over the money. There’s the legal system for ya.

“Your kid”

Stone may be down and out, but he is getting down. Okay, that was a pretty lame way to say Stone hooked up with a lady of the night. Well, we never actually see money change hands.  Stone is still working Naz’s case even though Crowe took over, and I think it is because he truly believes that Naz is innocent. I think a part of him regrets not caring enough to believe before.  Stone goes to Andrea’s funeral, and sees her stepfather arguing with someone about money. Very curious. A point brought up about my last post is that Andrea was stabbed 22 times, the same as her age. Who in the cast would know that information? The step father! But…does that include the stab wound from Naz stabbing her hand? Because in that case, the perpetrator stabbed her 21 times. This does not necessarily rule the step father out though, because we know they were estranged and had a difficult relationship, so maybe he couldn’t remember how old she was. Stone is attempting to illicit more information from some of the funeral attendees when the lovely detective Box quashes it. Stone brings up a good point, that even the detective doesn’t know what he believes.  So Stone does some detective work of his own and discovers a rehab facility that Andrea had frequented three times in the past two years. She clearly had an issue with substance abuse, but why? What drove her to self medicate? Perhaps we will know more soon, but for now we know Stone is checking up on our ugly feline friend. As of now, the kitty is still alive.  Much like the plastic bags blown and trapped in the barbwire, what evidence has been trapped in the cat’s paws? Soon to be blown away forever?


As Naz is making his allocution in court, he enters the same trance of sorts where he is engaging with Andrea and there is another perspective. Previously discussed, this could be the perception of the killer as Naz was with Andrea and engaged in coital activities. I am beginning to believe this is the case, particularly the vantage point of the stag on the wall.

Secrets and rage? Oh yes, please! As we begin the second half of the series, Naz looks to be adjusting to jail time. Detective Box is set on tracing every aspect of Naz’s story and travel on the night in question, and it seems that it is lining up completely.  But the timeline of events once at Andrea’s is what we need.  And what Naz desperately needs to remember.

Stay tuned for our next review on this show! Leave your own thoughts in the comments down below!

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