The Night of – To Deal, or Not to Deal

Naz gets lots of advice about pleading out (and a few nasty injuries) from different people while John looks into Andrea.

Spoilers for “The Art of War”


John has an itch he just can’t scratch (and I’m not talking about his feet). There is something off about Andrea and the case as a whole. Technically, there is nothing he can do about it, but he decides to play detective anyways. He watches Andrea’s funeral from a far and witnesses a fight between Don and another man. While recording the last bit of the fight on his phone, John hears Don saying something about signing paper work and sending checks.

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

The down and out lawyer eventually finds a rehab facility Andrea attended. Thru bribery and a shady orderly, John gets photographs of her records inside the center. She had attended and washed out multiple times. He passes on the information to Chandra (Alison was in court), and advises her to see if there had been more places like the rehab center she was at before. “What does it matter. She’s the victim,” the very wet behind the ears Chandra states. “What, Naz isn’t, too?” John counters, “it’s like having a nuclear arsenal. You don’t want to use it, but if the other side knows you got it, they tend to come to the table sooner.”

Alison, on the other hand, has been talking to media and calling the DA out on their racial bias against Naz, showing Helen there is more where that came from if this goes to trial. After some hard negotiating, Alison gets Helen to bring the charges down to manslaughter one and the sentencing to 15 years (12 with good behavior). Everyone impresses on Naz to take this deal including those he talks to in prison. But Naz doesn’t want to say he is guilty when he didn’t kill Andrea. John sees pleading out differently, “it says you don’t trust 12 idiots on a jury to get it right.”

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

Naz has been getting a great deal of advice over the last couple of days. His bed neighbor at Rikers is moved after Naz’s bed is extinguished and Calvin (Ashley Thomas) becomes his new mentor. Calvin is awaiting sentencing after he took a shot at the man who killed his niece and has taken pity on Naz. It is obvious the wide-eyed Pakistani is new to the system. Calvin teaches Naz how to look a person in the eye, without looking them in the eye. Who to watch in the prison yard. All the ways different objects prisoners can used as a weapon. And above all else, Calvin warns Naz to stay away from Freddie. The man with all the connections is two-faced and will turn on a dime.

But Freddie is still offering protection to Naz. He even gives Naz a green jumpsuit to wear in court (orange jumpsuit means violent felon) so the judge might take it easy on him. He gives Naz a book which could help him understand prison life. “Why me?” Naz finally asks. Freddie is an educated man, much of it is a self-education, but he finished high school the old fashion way. Naz is a college kid who knows the Gaza Strip isn’t in Vegas. Freddie is looking for someone to stimulate his brain.

The day of the plea hearing comes and Naz is still not sure he should take the plea. He is saying yes to Alison, but there is still a lot of waver in his voice. She tells him this the best case scenario given Naz was found with blood on his hands and a knife in his pocket. Knowing he needs more of a push, Alison brings Chandra in to talk to Naz. The assistant connected with the Khans and Alison is hoping she can build another one with Naz. He asks her what she would do in his situation. Chandra answers honestly. If he did kill Andrea, then take the plea. But if he is innocent, “don’t” she says simply.

In court, Naz begins to plead “Guilty” until he is asked to give a full testimony as to what happened that night. He tells the court the truth, Andrea got into his cab, they went to the bridge and he took a pill she gave him. They went back to her place where he snorted a powder she presented him with, and they had sex. When Helen presses for Naz to say he killed Andrea, Naz says he didn’t. He passed out and when he came to, Andrea was dead. “Then what the hell are you pleading guilty to?” The judge asks.

Alison is pissed at Naz for throwing away a deal she negotiated for him. “Then quit” he challenges. And she does, putting Chandra on the case and telling the Khans the firm can no longer represent them pro bono due to the expensive nature of murder trials.

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

Calvin, tired of hearing another person telling him they didn’t do what they were accused of, throws hot water mixed with baby oil on Naz. Naz refuses to name Calvin as the man who burned him, but he goes to Freddie and asks for his help.

Questions, Thoughts, and Theories:

One of the books checked out at the prison library (“for obvious reasons”) is The Other Side of Midnight which is a story about love and revenge. (SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT) In the end, the main two lovers end up executed for a murder they tried to, but failed to commit. They would have been set free due to lack of evidence, but they pleaded guilty to avoid major prison time. The very sweet plea deals they thought they were getting was a trick to get them to admit to murder.

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

I wonder if Box is mad at the DA for making a plea deal because he wants to see a jury find Naz not guilty.

It is becoming more and more evident the stepfather is pretty shady. When he is arguing with the man at the funeral, he tells the man he is not family even though the man claims he is. And what checks is Don getting?

Why did Alison take the case if she was only going to plead Naz to a lesser charge? Was it so she could get herself in front of the cameras again? Did she think this case was going to be more than it turned out to be? Or does she hate John Stone and took the case to spite him? She did bad mouth him badly in court.

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

Do you think Naz started to remember more as to what happened that night when he was telling his story? Something came to mind when he started to think more about that night. Did he see something? It has to be something with the deer head, I just know it.

What did you think of last night’s The Night of? Are you happy Naz is allying himself with Freddie? What do you think Don and the mystery man were fighting about? Talk to me in the comments section below.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

1 comment on “The Night of – To Deal, or Not to Deal

  1. For a second, it occurred to me: we don’t even know for sure that Naz is innocent.
    That would make quite a plot twist… but that would be so unsatisfying, from an artistic standpoint.
    Clearly, Naz is innocent. He’s patently a good guy. A sheltered young guy, who had one night of partying, practically the first in his whole life. (The show starts with him in class learning, “Stokes’ Theorem,” — advanced math. Not that villains can’t know integral calculus — Ted Kaczynski was a mathematician. But Naz is no villain.)
    Okay, so we know he’s innocent. And he stands up for himself, by not pleading. It makes for great drama. Chandra shows spirit, in bucking Alison and the standard legal thinking (even John Stone tells Naz to take the deal).
    Chandra reveals something profound about herself in that scene. Unlike the more experienced lawyers, she still cares about that quaint little notion; the truth.
    I also wondered why “The Other Side of Midnight” was supposed to be one of the two most popular books in the prison library. The wikipedia entry made it sound like such a melodrama — I didn’t even get to the end of the entry. Thanks for revealing the reason: because the main characters in the story make a mistake in accepting a plea deal.
    A few final thoughts. First, I’m really enjoying seeing Michael K. Williams (Freddie), the actor who played “Omar” in “The Wire.” Second, Naz is an excellent actor. Third, everyone else is great in this miniseries. And last, and probably least, I can’t help thinking of my favorite rapper, “Nas,” for no particular reason, other than the name.
    Thanks again for a great post.

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