HBO’s The Night Of – Episode 2 – Subtle Beast

On Sunday night HBO rolled out Episode 2 in its new series The Night Of. The episode’s title, Subtle Beast is a reference to Detective Dennis Box (Bill Camp). Box, like any good detective wants to solve the case. ****SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*****

But this is where it gets tricky. Box wears sympathy on his face, and when he speaks, we hear sympathetic tones.

After discussing the case with the DA, he understands that a confession would a) solve the case, and b) would go a long ways toward making the case as open and shut as he wants it to be.

But when Box interceded with the desk sergeant to allow Naz’s parents an opportunity to see their son and talk with him, he was again showing a sympathetic side. Of course Box knew that he would not be breaking any rules if he monitored the conversation between Naz and his folks.

Box and all detectives may NOT listen or view any discussions between the suspect and his attorney. But no such rule exists for family members.

Naz noted the camera mounted on the wall and after that, he told Box that he would not speak with him anymore.

Apparently the advice that had been repeated and repeated often by attorney Jack Stone (played by the marvelous John Turturro) at last, had sunk in.

But there’s more, much more going on other than what Detective Box does or wants to do. Let’s talk about Attorney Jack Stone. We got a good look at his skin ailment (eczema or psoriasis) on his legs and feet. How did that happen? Mostly because Stone was wearing sandals and was sockless. Not only did we get a good look at his bare ankles and feet, but so did some of the passengers riding in the same subway car as did Stone. Stone was kind of low-rent in his way. We know that he found his clients by hanging around in precinct station houses. So it was perfectly normal for him to say that he got the case because he was ‘in the right place at the right time.’

We also found out that Stone had a black wife (or ex-wife) and an adult son. That’s about all we learned (about Stone’s personal life) this week as no other background or back story was provided.

We also learned that the New York Justice System was kind of an old boys club. Jack Stone knew the personnel at various precincts, he knew bailiffs, and was on a first name basis with some judges. As we heard – you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

But more than that, we are to understand the monolithic structure of the New York Justice System as a self-contained structure that had been and would be an institution forever. The lawyers, judges, prosecutors, as well the victims and perpetrators would change; they’d come and go, and no matter who was speaking in any of the courtroom, the system retained its own life.

And that made it all the more scary as watched, protected by being in the safety of our own living rooms as young Nasir Khan began his own trip into the depths of the system. I can’t give the writer Richard Price and the Director Steve Zaillian enough credit in this regard.

From a holding pen in the 2-1, Khan was transported via a van to the Tombs, a jail connected to the NYC Criminal Courts building. Khan was marched from the van into the depths of the Tombs. The walk seemed to be ever-downward through a series of gates, fences, locked doorways that  needed to be buzzed from a control station in order to open.

Ultimately he would be placed in a large holding pen where he would await his arraignment. When the court was ready to arraign the members of Khan’s convoy – they were called in and told to get in line.

Stone was there to handle another case in addition to Naz Khan’s. The other accused being handled by Stone was black and together they watched the judge sentence a man to 18 months of incarceration. Wow, only 18 months! said Stone’s defendant. But the judge gave the guy a much stiffer and longer sentence. I want the Jew time said the just sentenced defendant. The judge, not missing a beat said, Want Jew time, do a Jew crime.

Such is life in the New York Justice System.

Nasir Khan’s case was called. The charges were read out and they collectively formed a lengthy list. The Judge asked, How do you plead?

Nasir – I didn’t do it.

Judge – You are limited to two answers. Guilty or Not Guilty.

Stone – He meant not guilty.

Judge (to Nasir Khan) – say it.

What ensued after that was the Prosecutor asking for high bail, and Stone arguing for R.O.R. The prosecutor spoke of Nasir and family having strong ties to Pakistan. Stone countered with the facts that Nasir had been born in the US, was a US citizen, and had never left the country.

To no avail.

Since bail was beyond the means of Nasir’s parents, Nasir was remanded. This lead to another hellish transport – to Rikers Island where he would remain until trial.

The episode was quite grim for Naz, and his journey into the depths of the Justice System was meant to scare us. And that on top of the fact that we still don’t know if he is guilty or not. But there’s no doubt that the police like Naz for the crime, and his situation is looking exceedingly desperate.

If Naz didn’t kill Andrea, then some one else was able to enter the house. We’ve already been shown the self-locking mechanism on the front door. So if anyone entered through the front door they’d need a key. But maybe they were able to get in the lower door, under the front steps, the door that Andrea had used to put the cat outside.

When Detective Box called the dead girls step father he didn’t seem to want to come downtown to the M.E’s morgue. He also initially refused to ID Andrea from photos. Plus he seemed to not particularly care for Andrea’s lifestyle. The character is called Don Taylor and the role is being played by Paul Sparks who you will recall played the writer/biographer Thomas Yates in House of Cards.

Now if he killed Andrea and we don’t know that he did – I think it was wrong to have not only introduced him in such a negative light, but also too early. I’ve moved him to the top of MY suspect list.

What about you?


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