Place Your Bets On How The Night Of Ends

By  · Published on August 23rd, 2016

Innocent or guilty or none of the above?

We’ve got one more episode left of the HBO series The Night Of, and it’s still anybody’s guess how it’ll end. After last night’s penultimate episode, there are still few hints about its outcome regarding the truth or the verdict in the murder trial of Naz (Riz Ahmed). In fact, there was even a sudden new development in the episode that could possibly give the show another outcome.

There are a number of decisions that could go one way or the other with no better chances of either happening (I really don’t believe we can look to the British original, Criminal Justice, for answers). In anticipation of next Sunday’s season finale, we take a look at all the different directions the case and the series could conclude, plus additional variable factors for each result.


  1. He Did It
    In a twist that would surely disappoint some viewers but would offer a form of closure, Naz’s guilt could be spelled out clearly through a sudden remembrance by the defendant or a more objective flashback. Maybe he really was capable of that. Maybe it was just a bad drug-fueled situation. But then which is it?
    He Did It But Gets Off
    He Did It And Pays the Price
  2. He Didn’t Do It
    This is the truth most people want, right? Regardless of what has happened or been revealed since, we’re still mostly influenced by Naz’s character in that first episode where he’s a regular college kid, neither bad nor perfect, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But then which is it?
    He Didn’t Do It And Is Exonerated
    He Didn’t Do It But Is Found Guilty


  1. He’s Found Guilty
    There may not be enough evidence to prove without a shadow of a doubt that Naz committed murder, but the jury may still be convinced given his history of violence, his stupid decisions the night of, and the unlikeliness of a coincidental situation where someone else did it. But then which is it?
    He’s Found Guilty In Spite of His Innocence
    He’s Found Guilty And Deserves His Sentence
  2. He’s Found Not Guilty
    Considering we’ve been made to focus primarily on the work of the defense, the “happy ending” is for Naz to be set free. But it will still be a sad ending because of what all has transpired for him and his family since his arrest that fateful night. He won’t have it easy on the outside. But then which is it?
    He’s Found Not Guilty Despite Being Guilty
    He’s Found Not Guilty But He’s a Ruined Man


  1. We Find Out Who the Real Killer Is
    This can just be that we find out Naz is the real killer (see the first choice above). Or it’s revealed that the step-father did it. Or Duane Reade? The creepy hearse driver? A random serial killer? The cat? O.J.? (Hey, he was referenced.) Maybe Andrea somehow did it to herself? But then which is it?
    The Real Killer Is Caught (Or Is Already Dead)
    The Real Killer Gets Away With It
  2. We Don’t Find Out Who the Real Killer Is
    This means we learn Naz didn’t do it, or at least we don’t learn he did do it. And we never find out who did, which is the way the show would go if it wants to leave things open for us to decided. It kind of seems clear enough already that the step-father did it but that he won’t be pursued due to his threats. But then which is it?
    We At Least Find Out Naz Isn’t the Real Killer
    Everything Is Left Open Ended


  1. Chandra Is Not Disbarred
    Will the frustrating kiss between Chandra (Amara Karan) and Naz lead to anything in the finale? Will she be discovered and found guilty of malpractice? Will it have an effect on the verdict? Will there be romance after the trial, regardless of the verdict? Can we actually please just forget about it?
  2. John Keeps the Cat
    He’s cured his eczema, but can John (John Turturro) cure his feline allergies? Maybe not, and maybe he needs some sort of affliction to keep him going anyway. He likes the cat, he likes being miserable, especially when it gets him attention, and so he keeps the cat.
  3. Detective Box Doesn’t Go Golfing
    Perhaps Box (Bill Camp) could be tempted to give the links a shot given that he got the clubs and all, but that would just be more defeat. He’s said over and over that he has no plans to golf or do any of the retirement cliches. But maybe he will just keep on staring at the clubs forever, miserably.
  4. Naz Winds Up In Trouble Again
    If he’s sentenced to prison or let go, we can be certain that Naz will get in some sort of trouble again, maybe end up in jail again and ultimately serving time for something he really did do. Maybe we won’t see it by the time the series is over. Maybe there will be some hint. But he’s too ruined either way, between what he’s seen and experienced, smoking crack, and taking part as an accomplice in a murder in prison, he’s damaged goods. He probably will want to get back to the protection of Freddy (Michael Kenneth Williams), especially given how he’ll be treated on the outside.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.