“The Night Of” finale aired on Sunday, concluding the case of Riz Ahmed’s character, college student Nasir “Naz” Khan.
In the final episode of the HBO series, Naz was exonerated after the jury failed to reach a verdict and Prosecutor Helen Weiss (Jeannie Berlin) declined to opportunity to push for a retrial. However, the season ended without Andrea’s (Sofia Black-D'Elia) killer being found and brought to justice, with only Detective Box’s (Bill Camp) findings about Raymond Halle (Paulo Costanzo) serving as a hint as to the identity of the culprit.
Despite the ambiguity of the finale, lead star Ahmed told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview that he was satisfied with how “The Night Of” ended, since many real-life murder cases are similar to Naz's and are not resolved in a “clean-cut” manner. The actor explained that the series’ real goal wasn’t to uncover the identity of the killer, but rather to chronicle the journey Naz and the other characters went through during his case. “ I actually found it to be resolved in a very classy and bittersweet way that was still dramatically satisfying,” he shared.
Though he was eventually released, Ahmed’s character will forever be tainted by his stint jail. On top of being crippled by his drug addiction and his family’s financial ruin, Naz would now have to get acclimated to a society that treats ex-convicts with fear, disgust and prejudice. When asked if there’s a chance Naz’s journey will be explored further in a second season, Ahmed said “The Night Of” Season 2 will likely focus on a different case like its British counterpart, “Criminal Justice,” if it does get made.
“I think it was conceived of as a one-season one-off,” Ahmed said of Naz’s story. “Perhaps [if] there's a second season, they might do a different case like they did in the British version of the show. I think sometimes it's said, ‘Better to quit while you're ahead.’”
When asked if he tried to get the name of the real killer from “The Night Of” writers Steve Zaillian and Richard Price, Ahmed explained that it wasn’t important for him to know who Andrea’s murderer was and find out if Naz really was innocent.
“Steve and Richard, particularly Steve is someone who really likes to let the writing speak for itself. He's not someone to come and sit down and tell you everything the scene represents. In my mind, it's quite conclusive about who did it,” he told the publication. “I just find it interesting that for many people it isn't. Regardless of who killed Andrea or not, you see that Naz becomes an accessory to murder in prison by the end of. Certainly he leaves with blood on his hands, one way or another.”
HBO has not made any announcements regarding “The Night Of” Season 2. However, Bustle speculated that if the network orders another season, “The Night Of” Season 2 could tackle the case of a domestic abuse victim accused of killing her husband like the second season of “Criminal Justice.”
“The Night Of” aired its eighth episode, “The Call of the Wild,” on Sunday, Aug. 28.