The Cloak Of Presumed Innocence In The Night Of's Finale, "Call Of The Wild"

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.
That's all, folks.

The Night Of
just wrapped and I already feel a gaping hole in my life. I'll miss seeing what weird shit Nazir Khan gets tattooed (this week it was a crown on his neck) and wondering who killed Andrea Cornish (we will literally never know, but I have a hunch.)

The extended finale did not disappoint, and managed to come full circle. We finally learned more about Detective Box (a total badass), Fred E. Knight (a total softie), and Attorney John Stone (a total hero).

And the whole series ends with the cat. I've truly never been so invested in a feline before.

Let's backtrack a bit though and unravel the key events that — spoiler — resulted in Naz's freedom.
Lots of spoilers ahead.

Naz
is free. He's still tormented by Andrea's death, only he's now addicted to crack, and convinced that his mom hates him. But he is free. (No thanks to Chandra, that's for sure.) After kissing him last week, she ups the ante by defying Stone's wishes, nearly risking the entire case, and she smuggles in drugs for Naz. What is wrong with her?
As predicted, the security footage of Chandra kissing Naz becomes a major catalyst and key to the trial. It somehow ends up in Freddy's hands which is exactly where it needed to be. He sends it to Stone anonymously knowing that it would only help the case — one word: mistrial.

The judge, unfortunately, doesn't bite and says that instead of declaring a mistrial, Stone will become the lead defendant for Naz. She also defies Stone's wishes when she makes Naz take the stand. Like the honest boy that he is, Naz tells the DA, Helen Weiss, that he doesn't know if he killed Andrea or not — he simply cannot remember.

So, basically she low-key tries to seduce Naz and then hung him out to dry. Bye, Chandra.
Thankfully, Stone rises to the occasion and cleans up Chandra's mess, because as he puts it: "You just convicted him." Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he completely nails his closing statement, despite the fact that he is covered (from head to toe) in a violent rash from his Canal Street eczema remedy. Stone's statement is basically a straight up analysis of the night of the murder. It's the scene we have been waiting for all season. The facts were laid out, and it's immediately clear how much room for speculation remains.

That reasonable doubt is all the jury needs.

To the dismay of the judge, the jury is hung. Six guilty, six not guilty. No budging. The judge asks Weiss if she's ready for a retrial to which she (Thank God!) is not. "My office declines to prosecute further," she says. Naz, Chandra, and Stone are all shocked. But guess who isn't shocked at all? That would be Box. Because Box is a badass and figured out (a little late) who the (probably) real killer is — Raymond Heller. (Yes — one of my theories was right!)

It's never actually confirmed that Heller is Andrea's murderer, but it sure seems likely. In fact, in one of my favorite scenes of the season, Weiss puffs on an e-cig and proposes a plan to a recently retired Box — "Let's go get him, that little fucker."

According to an epic conversation between Box and Heller, he has a gambling problem, an abuse of women problem, and a being an awful person problem. Don Taylor, Andrea's stepfather, is still a piece of shit, but he's not as calculated and psychopathic as Ray seems to be.

I was a little surprised at how nice Freddy has been to Naz this entire time. I really was waiting for him to snap or sabotage his prison bestie. Instead, he calls him a "unicorn" and tells him that he smells "like innocence."

"You're the real deal Naz," he continues. "You're one of a kind... So why would I not take care of you? What kind of a cold individual do you think I am?" This exchange is a nice lead-in to Naz in the courtroom where he proves that he isn't a cold individual either.

It makes you wonder, who are we to judge anyone, ever? Whether it's a drug dealer, a cab driver, an investment banker, or a college student on trial for murder?

To borrow Stone's words once again "Fuck 'em all... Live your life" And adopt a cat.

Photo Courtesy of HBO.

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