Does The Night Of Have A Woman Problem?

At the close of season 6, Game of Thrones was applauded for its major shift in focus from its male characters to the female ones. Finally, the women of Westeros and beyond were given the screen time and attention they deserved. And, if you take a look at the ratings, it worked out wonderfully for HBO.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for The Night Of. A thrilling crime masterpiece, the show does have one recurring issue that's been called out by viewers and critics — the lack of developed female characters. The few women we have met in the series have fallen into severely overwritten and type-cast female roles.

This could be tied to the fact that the show is written by two (talented) men. They have created a brilliant world of social and judicial injustice, but have (accidentally?) left the women by the wayside along the way. Here are the five main female characters, and the outmoded archetypes they fulfill on the show.
Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Advertisement

The Victim

Andrea Cornish is the literal victim in the series. She is battered, broken, and boozed up. She is not a manic-pixie dream girl, but she is skimming the surface of damsel in distress and untamable wild child.
Photo Courtesy of HBO.

The Hard-Ass
What started out as a powerful do-gooder lawyer quickly transformed into a trope: the hard-ass shrew. Alison Crowe, the pro bono lawyer who manipulated the Khan family into firing John Stone to hire her, turns out to be nothing more than a mean lady fixated on improving her own status as a successful defense lawyer. Great — another rude, cold successful woman. Just what television needs.
Photo Courtesy of HBO.

The Pushovers
Chandra and Naz's mother are both constantly talked over, told what to do, and merely filling space on the screen. Both seem riddled with thoughts and opinions on Naz's case and neither are given the time or the lines to provide their perspective. While it's clear that Chandra's character is still developing, Naz's father has been given a much meatier role. Why? Is a mother too emotional to have a well-rounded take on what is happening to her son?

Advertisement
The Sex Object
In a gritty sex scene from episode 3, we are introduced to a Rikers prison guard who goes out of her way to do favors for Freddy. She smuggles in drugs, phones, and cigarettes, in exchange for money and sex with Freddy. Even though he is incarcerated, the street-smart Freddy still has found a way to manipulate a woman with more power than he has into being his pawn.

So, what is the one thing that all the women mentioned above have in common?

We know nothing else about their lives.

While The Night Of is Naz's story and quest for the truth and survival, that doesn't mean there can't be room for a strong female lead, too.