The Night Of Finale Recap: The Closing Makes the Man

For the last seven weeks, HBO’s The Night Of has served up burning questions with the swiftness and regularity of a New York City pizzeria doling out oven-hot slices.

Who really killed Andrea? Is there any chance Naz is guilty? What’s the deal with Duane Reade and Andrea’s ladykiller (pun intended) stepdad and especially that darn cat? Does Stone’s eczema have anything to do with anything? Does Box entertain secret doubts about Naz’s guilt? And is there any way showrunner Steven Zaillian can wrap things up in satisfying fashion with only a 95-minute finale?

Sunday’s finale finally put some answers on the menu, even though not all of them were especially sweet.

Let’s recap the key revelations — and the nagging open-ended plot points — from the season finale, “The Call of the Wild.”

* Despite the prosecution’s very solid case, Chandra counters impressively, calling to the stand Duane Reade, The Undertaker and Creepy Personal-Trainer Stepdad — casting at least a bit of suspicion on each of ’em. (That revelation that Don filed for control of Andrea’s trust fund at 8am the Monday after her death proves especially disturbing.) On the flip side, though, Chandra agreeing to smuggle more drugs into jail for Naz — and extracting them from inside herself during a jailhouse meeting — seems to be the exact opposite of brilliant legal strategy… even if it’s ultimately a means of helping her client stay alive inside Rikers.

* Box, meanwhile, leaves his retirement party to go review more surveillance footage of Andrea getting into Naz’s cab, and with a little backtracking, discovers she’d had a nasty argument just minutes prior with her financial adviser, Raymond Halle (the dude that previously offered intel to Stone), who’d recently removed $300,000 from her account.

* Unfortunately, Box’s bombshell revelation arrives after D.A. Helen Weiss has all but gotten Naz convicted, following Chandra’s disastrous decision to put Naz on the stand. The Bambi-eyed student seems so convincing when he tells the jury he knows in his heart he couldn’t have brutally murdered his casual sex partner, but Weiss’ plainspoken questions dismantle the aura of sweetness he’s trying to convey. After all, he had the presence of mind to flee the scene, remove evidence including Andrea’s drugs and knife, and drive a cab, but not to call 911 or check Andrea’s pulse. “The Prophet Muhammad has this to say about that — ‘Hurry with all the strength of your legs to help the one who needs help,” Helen says, driving her prosecutorial blade deeper. When she asks again if Naz killed Andrea, the accused’s final answer is as startling as it is damning: “I don’t know.” Fret not, Chandra, you don’t weep alone.

* Freddy delivers to Stone the surveillance footage of Naz kissing Chandra, but the judge says it’s not grounds for a mistrial — only for Chandra to sit second chair and Stone to handle closing arguments. (“Chin up. Finish the trial,” Chandra’s slick boss commands her. “Then clear out your f–king desk.”)

* Weiss’ closing speech — comparing Naz’s blackout from the night of the murder to a redacted paragraph in an FBI document that protect only the agency — gets thrown off track when Box noisily exits right as she’s saying the police never found another genuine suspect. Stone, meanwhile, despite a raging relapse of his eczema, rises to the occasion with a beautiful, emotional speech that leaves the jury deadlocked — six to six — ending Naz’s case in a mistrial. Weiss, for her part, does the right thing and declines to prosecute any further, instead, tempting Box back onto the force with the goal of putting the sketchy moneyman behind bars.

* Naz exits the prison without saying his goodbyes to Freddy — who the night before the mistrial compared him to a unicorn and sat so close to him that I almost thought he’d go in for a kiss. Unfortunately, though, Naz can’t seem to forgive his mother for thinking he was guilty. Plus, he’s hooked on the same brand of smack he’d shared with Freddy at Rikers. That addiction isn’t his only parting gift, though, as Freddy gifts him a copy of The Call of The Wild delivered by a prison guard on the day of his release.

* Our final shot of Naz finds him back at the beach where he shared his first moment of intimacy with Andrea, smoking drugs he purchased on a street corner. Is there a bright future for the kid in a post-Rikers world? The forecast is unclear.

* There’s at least one truly happy ending here, though. Andrea’s cat gets sprung from the shelter onc more, roaming freely through Stone’s apartment in the finale’s final scene.

What did you think of The Night Of finale? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Guest says:

    I don’t know…what a disturbing ending. I knew Naz would be hooked on drugs…but it doesn’t feel like good closure…oh well at least the cat is ok.

  2. Hanna says:

    Really glad for the happy ending of the cat back. Almost to the end we thought that the cat would be a clue.. Oh well. And, to the end, the program was not so much about whodone it as about what the justice system does for the one ensnared there. Also the miserable conditions of the wardens and the cops. I hope that Naz can get help in withdrawing from the drugs.

  3. Yeatsluvr says:

    So many questions left unanswered. For example: why sinbad and the crown for two of the three tattoos or why did the killer not kill Naz as well if he did such a great job of not leaving any evidence behind?

    • Lacza says:

      Because he didn’t see him there. They made a point of using the photos to show someone could walk by the kitchen without seeing in.

      • Guest says:

        And somehow grab a knife out of the kitchen?

        • Dick Whitman says:

          But the knife they used to play with in the pilot wasn’t taken from the kitchen, was it?

        • Pam says:

          The killer didn’t get the knife from the kitchen. That knife was used when they played the game. At least that’s what I’m thinking.

        • Max says:

          Earlier in the series they pointed out that a knife was missing from a drawer in the formal dining room separate from the kitchen. They said it was from a set of four and two remained in the drawer along with the knife in Naz’s pocket.

    • billyburg says:

      In episode 5, Freddy asked Naz which “tag” he preferred, Sinbad or Aladdin. Naz chose Sinbad. Also the wordplay splitting the name in two, “sin” and “bad”.

  4. Guest says:

    The attorney sneaking in heroin in her nether regions didn’t ring true for me, even if she’s in love and identifies with him. But loved the finale anyway.

  5. Dennis says:

    I am a sucker for happy endings. I loved “The Wire” but I hatred how honest it was in showcasing how broken different systems were leaving the viewers very little to smile about by the end of the series. “The Night Of” is no “The Wire”, I just wanted to point out that they went the same way with the finale. Although Naz regained his freedom, thanks to a deadlocked jury, there was plenty of collateral damage left in the wake of his ordeal. Most of the characters were affected in some way. For being innocent, this event let’s scars that may never heal.

  6. Mary joyce pruden says:

    I love the acting of all cast in this series. The characters drew me in from the beginning and I would like to see more of them and this story.

  7. majormarj says:

    Just the best finale–it didn’t rush, paced with attention to subtlety and details we’ll be sure to rewatch. All good hope for Naz’s future!

  8. Bob says:

    What suit should Turturro wear when he’s called up to accept his Emmy award? That closing was amazing.

  9. King says:

    The center of the show was Attorney Stone — life at the bottom of the rung — and the transformation of Naz. It also showed that there is still goodness in humans, even if they have committed heinous crimes and are hardened criminals. Freddy believed in Naz and helped him throughout. Getting Naz hooked on drugs showed Freddy’s devious side, but still we saw some good in him.. Chandra was in over her head and should have relied more on Stone. But she had no respect for him. He does not have the nice office or wears the fine suits. That snobbishness lead to her downfall. Still, I don’t think she would have given such a passionate closing as Stone did. Glad that Box’s conscience got the better of him. Defense put on a good case and there really was no reason for Naz to take the stand. Such a bad call. She knew he was using drugs and was high on the stand. The prosecutor really sent him over the edge by raising the issue that he could have saved her if he had only called 911. She probably was already dead when Naz found her. A little disingenuous, but that’s what prosecutors do. I thought Stone would reference Naz’s statement, but he kept the focus on reasonable doubt. Great closing argument!Great show! The show could continue with Stone’s character at the center.

    • The Beach says:

      I loved the way the prosecutor’s very strong closing halted so abruptly when she got dose of conscience…brilliant touch.

      • Hanna says:

        I don’t know that it was a dose of conscience. The detective left the courtroom and slammed the door and this unnerved her.

  10. majormarj says:

    Spin off spin off!!! Question– any idea how long Naz was at Rikers? All summer? Interesting there’s a new book about the past corruption there, the ’71 riot, etc.

  11. Lisa says:

    I thought Andrea would have a will leaving everything to her cat and John, as the cats new owner, would be rich!

  12. Deb says:

    The series was fantastic…until the finale. I loved the characters and actors and the story line that really had you wondering if Naz did it or not. It was a real eye opener of what life in jail/ prison can do to a person. We saw Naz go in as a wide eyed scared boy and come out as a hardened, tattooed, drug addict. I so wanted Naz to be innocent and was sick to my stomach at times when I thought he may not. I would almost have rather found out that he did it than to not be sure since the jury was deadlocked. The ending still left us wondering. I was hoping for a definitive answer and we did not get it.

    • Peter E says:

      The point is for us to not know, I mean Naz doesnt even know for certain that he didnt kill her so why should we?? I thought we’d get a definitive answer and I hoped we would but watching the finale, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  13. Peter E says:

    I really liked this show, the ending was a very somber one but it fit with the tone of the show, sure Naz got outta jail but not the way he would’ve wanted i.e. being acquitted and if that other suspect doesn’t confess, he’ll never really know for sure that he didn’t kill Andrea. Also, Rikers had already left its mark on him, literally in a physical and emotional way. He was sat there right on the beach where he first met Andrea and I could swear I’ve felt exactly what he would’ve been feeling in that moment, Riz Ahmed is an incredible actor, I hope I see him in more movies and TV shows. The most interesting thing about this show for me is how I could see myself in Naz, I could see that exact same thing happening to me and that’s the scariest part of it, one wrong move with the wrong woman and his life may have been irreparably damaged.

  14. Michael says:

    This was easily one of the best shows I have ever seen. Not because of bombast and fanfare, but the intimate quiet, almost surreal moments that draw you in. Details begging to be noticed as the evidence piles up and the emotive contemplation and conversations take place, all captured by the camera with a keen eye and a gift for storytelling. Actors at the top of their game. Fantastic show, and a fineone for the mighty HBO mantelpiece.

  15. Zac says:

    If you can get past all the disappointment of the director not laying out all the answers for you, one might say this is brilliantly played. You’re left on about nine different cliffhangers, but you can take solace in the fact that the cat was ultimately saved and is in a good home with an owner that loves it, albeit from afar.

  16. Max says:

    I was very satisfied with the ending. I’m glad the entire series had a beginning, middle and end and didn’t drag it out more than one season like The Killing did.

  17. Guest says:

    Can’t believe they dashed the integrity of a character so painfully as when the writers made Chandra pull drugs out from in between her legs front of Nas. Completely lost me there.

    • Quietman says:

      I think you may have missed the point, the caustic, soul-wrenching environment of confinement at Rikers’. Things like that do happen in the wretched, real world of prison and police, prosecutors, attorneys, and fellow prisoners can be just as corrupted and damaged as portrayed.

      • demetrios3 says:

        But Chandra wasn’t living in the “caustic, sole-wrenching” environment, Nasir was and that might explain his transformation.

        The sudden lack of judgement Chandra displayed undermined she had created up through the first 6 1/2 weeks of the show character.

        It was ridiculous.

        • vallikat says:

          She wasn’t in the environment but she had (or thought she had) a clear understanding of what Naz was up against and how he was surviving. She was there the first time Naz accepted and swallowed the drugs from Petey’s mom and she saw how Stone reacted to that. I think she understood that this is the way things are done here and that if she intended to help Naz she would have to get on that level to do so.

        • Sleuth says:

          I agree …. Chandra’s transformation was senseless !

        • Oscar says:

          Chandra was living through the defense attorney’s hope and dreams: defending an innocent man. Her inexperience caused her to make rash judgments, like putting Naz on the stand. Her world was destroyed due to her rash decisions, just like Naz’s world was destroyed due to his rash decisions. It was up to Stone to bring to fruition the dream of defending an innocent man. And of saving the cat. ^_^

          • Susan C. says:

            “Her inexperience caused her to make rash judgments” And Stone’s life was almost destroyed by a RASH. Ba da boom.

  18. Ricardo C Jenkins says:

    I felt the finale was extremely anticlimactic . I really don’t know what I expected but that certainly was not it. The series leading up to this was unbelievable and the writing on the show was exceptional. To leave the viewers like they did, doesn’t match how the intricate writing was structured during the series. The ending was ho hum to me.

  19. Quietman says:

    Well, at least we can say that at least 8% of the responders to your survey are probably Trump supporters.

  20. Top Kat says:

    Why did no one ever mention that Naz had no blood on him? That was a fatal flaw in the script. How could someone stab another human being 22 times, blood spurts everywhere yet Naz had no blood on him except on his hand because “his hand slipped off the handle”? He would have been covered in blood!

    • Dennis says:

      I agree. That fact drove me nuts the entire show. Glad I wasn’t the only one.

    • KCC says:

      If he did it, he could have been naked when he killed her and then showered. The blood on his hand was from an open wound and could continue to bleed after a shower, so it could be explained away.
      But I do agree, it would have been something the police and his defense would both address at some point during the investigation and/or trial and should have been included in the story.

    • eljay says:

      I agree. I kept waiting for someone to address that, or say that there was blood found in the shower, or somewhere. That’s why I continued to believe until the end that Naz didn’t do it.

    • Merda says:

      Thank you! exactly the first thing I said after I watch episode 1, I debated that with my coworker for a while telling him there’s no way someone could stab someone 22 times and not have blood on them, you saw how the blood was splattered everywhere on the lamp on the bed on the wall but he came out with just one little cut on his hand! makes no sense that should have been the number one defense he had no blood on him! that should have been the main topic of his defense how could they missed that?

    • FR says:

      Exactly the question that kept running through my mind from beginning to end (particularly because I recently binge-watched Dexter lol!) There was no blood spatter investigation! Ahh!!

  21. Dave says:

    Was anyone else freaking out that Freddy was going to kill Nas or do something to cause him to stay in prison? Like make him kill someone or have the guards bust him for drugs etc to keep his “unicorn”. Even as he’s walking out of the prison I was like “GTFO DUDE!!! Hurry!!!”

  22. Jonas says:

    Loved this show from the beginning. Was totally hooked unlike a lot of other “good” shows out there.

    I do wish that they swapped out the ending scenes: Stone in his apartment and cat before we finally see Naz on the Hudson with is drugs and uncertain future. I realize both are important characters, but the story started with Naz, wish it followed him to the last scene.

  23. kirads09 says:

    Brilliant. I hope they do go anthology and we see Stone, Box and Weiss return – new case obviously. Am I totally crazy for thinking somehow Freddy was involved in Andrea’s murder – somehow? The drugs maybe? He always talked about all his connections outside. I don’t know. It was a little too convenient how he took to Naz immediately. The Stone role was originally meant for James Gandolfini, correct? Anyone else imagine how different that would’ve been? Turturro was INCREDIBLE throughout.

  24. PAUL says:

    I was dying for the series to end with Naz being judged innocent but have them end it with a chilling flashback of him actually doing it.

    • Eric says:

      YES! I was thinking the same thing. That would have been a bad-ass ending.

    • Dave says:

      I was envisioning him sitting on the “beach”, smoking the crack, and because he’s back in the same place mentally (drugs) and physically (beach), it would trigger his memory of having killed her. Then to take it a step further, since he “knew in his heart” that he could never do that… He kills himself. *fade to black*

  25. fredq says:

    I guess the creepy step-dad gets the whole 10 million now….except what Ray stole.

  26. Arlene Lewis says:

    Not good closure, his life will never be the same.The relationships he had with his family are ruined. Just shows how life can change in an instant. Loved the show !

  27. Merda says:

    From the first minute of episode 1, I was hooked on this show! the writing is awesome, the acting is superurb, love John Taturro, Nas and especially Michael k Williams as Freddie, also loved him in boardwalk empire! Didn’t want this series to end I wish it could have lasted 8 more weeks I was up on it and couldn’t wait to watch the next episode hopefully HBO will pick up season 2 maybe continued with prosecuting the real killer and backtracking to see what the relationship with NAS and Freddie will be, a lot can still be done with this awesome series and let’s not forget Box, even though he was retired he still wanted to find the real killer, he made me feel sad for him because I know he did not want to retire so hopefully HBO will continue with the season 2 and Box will be the main character. all in all to recap, every single episode from one to the finale was awesome I loved it! I was a little dissatisfied with the dead lock but it just went to show us people thought Nas was innocent but didn’t really prove that he was innocent because of the dead lock, it was dismissed which really doesn’t prove his innocence. I hope season 2 gets approved! thank goodness the cat was released I loved that final shot where he’s running freely through the apartment 100 thumbs up for this awesome show loved loved loved it!

  28. N says:

    I got obsessed with the show. I was so nervous thinking Nas would be killed on the way out of
    Rikers. I loved the cat walking by in Stone’s house

  29. AlexVS says:

    Umm,,, ya, the cat died.

    Like with the sopranos ending, the director is using paralel shots.

    Naz is on the beach, seeing Andrea. In a paralel scene, you see Stone, taking his coat, NOT saying “I’m going out” to the cat. It’s obvious these are paralels, as Stone knows dropping off the cat will lead to its death, making him effectively the cats killer, like Naz is with Andrea. This confirms Naz did it.

    The thing with the stepfather is of course very shady, but people like that exist. Him returning to town might be something else.

  30. Oscar says:

    LIfe goes on… afterward. ADA Weiss gets to prosecute a suspected killer, the real one this time. But she’s smoking an e-cig now. Box gets to continue to make arrests, again of the real perpetrator. Stone has eczema again, and defends now level crooks again. Only now he has lived the dream of all defense attorneys; defending an innocent man. Chandra has to live up to her rash decision the way Naz has to live up to his rash decisions. Hopefully her boss is right and the discipline board will be lenient on her. Life has to go on for Naz and family too, even though everything has changed. They have to sell their house. Naz and his mother are estranged because she believed him to be “an animal.” He has to deal with people looking at him as if he’s a murderer. And he’s picked up a drug habit. Hopefully his remembering Andrea is his way of closing this chapter of his life. And of course, Cat has to go on living, too, with a new owner. :-)

  31. Nan says:

    So I wasted 8 hours and 45 minutes of my life for this ending…seriously. I can’t even find the words to say how disappointed I am with this ending. I had hoped that at the end they would show us what actually happened “The Night Of”. Sure Naz was set free due to the jury not reaching a decision but do we really know without a shadow of a doubt that he didn’t do it. Why not tie it all up in a bow? Apparently my expectations were way too high for this show. The acting was terrific but otherwise WTF

  32. grys03 says:

    Loved the show & the pacing of the story. Loved the sub-plots/side-stories: the taxi ownership, the cat, the inmates in Rikers etc. The only time I can remember such drab (& all too often realistic) portrayal of police stations or courtrooms was in Barney Miller. The characters all played their parts, from the stunned & often dazed parents to the oblivious & focused on quick results police. From the portrayal of a DA who isn’t barely out of teens & running for MIss USA to ‘street’ people who are neither nor good but mostly struggling to survive.
    In the end it was less about Naz’s innocence or guilt but more about realistic characters in realistic/potentially awful situations.
    But the real star, as has being pointed out by others, was John Turturro. Actors really shine when they find ‘that part’ that they just shine in – we can all think of a few.

  33. Jules says:

    Thoughtful ending.Too much happened to all the characters to have a neatly tied up bow. I found myself thinking about them all day: Chandra in a new career- social work? Naz in rehab, moving to California? What about Stone’s son? Box ethical, after all. Prosecuter a great NYC character. Great production. No one has mentioned the terrific sepia tone. And Freddy: what a great complex character, wonderful acting. The whole cast should get an ensemble Emmy and/or Golden Globe. Oh, and writers and directors, too. Best TV in the last several years. I would watch it again, start to finish tomorrow.

  34. AG says:

    I didn’t see this question addressed: does Naz’s family still have to pay all those lawyer fees?

    I recall seeing the for sale house sign (with graffiti) right before we find out that Naz is pissed at his mother (don’t blame him).

    So no indication that the family is out of financial burden due to his (Naz) mistakes.

    The reason why I ask: he was a bit evil in the planning to force a miss-trial. And all fees were based off that lawyer whom was fired. And obviously the second lawyer really doesn’t care about money. He (second lawyer) ends the show with reassuring us he’s happy and content.

  35. R.O.B. says:

    I thought the cat would have more to do with it. They kept focusing on the unlocked gate and the cat. Thought that would be a House-like eureka moment. At the very leats, I thought we’d learn it was somehow the cat’s dander or something that was causing Stone’s system to battle the psoriasis, and it was the cat that “cured” him, not the Chinese powder. They threw a couple of cheap red herrings in as well. Like when the undertaker was threatening Chandra, they focused on the drawer with the nail polish. I was convinced that we were going to find out he was a serial killer who takes nail polish from his victims and uses them in the mortuary.

    • Oscar says:

      It’s not that kind of show. It’s not “CSI: New York” where they are actively searching for clues and every little thing can be a clue to lead them to the killer. The nail polish thing, for example, was simply a reflection of Chandra’s focus, where she’s looking at at the moment. There is few “Eureka!” moments in real life, just as in the show, and it’s more important to keep on plodding steadily forward.

      Like Stone said at the end, it may be all over for Naz, but at the very moment he was talking with him, another person is arrested, sitting in that holding cell in the precinct; another person is taken into Rikers… life goes on.

  36. Omar says:

    Loved the series but can’t get over how no one in the defense brought up the lack of blood splatter on Naz. Shouldn’t that have been super important!?!

  37. David says:

    The first episode had me hooked. But the remainder was disappointing. The finale didn’t solve anything.

  38. Kiwi3 says:

    I was absolutely sickened by the fact that the prosecution was going to let an iinnocent man rot in prison even with proof he didn’t do it.
    And sadly this is EXACTLY what happens every day somewhere in America where we’re supposed to have a BETTER judicial system.

    Good series, but so bleak.

  39. Ken says:

    loved the versimmilitude of it all. but chandra’s leading direct examinaitons and her comments on the answers when she cross examined would never be allowed in a real courtroom