Here's How Realistic HBO's 'The Night Of' Is, According To A Police Officer
HBO's newest drama, "The Night Of," premiered last Sunday. Because I'm a huge TV nerd, I watched it twice already.
It was so good, you guys.
If you live under a rock and don't know what this show is, "The Night Of" is a crime drama that follows Naz, a 20-something geeky Pakistani student who gets wrapped up in a murder on the one night he wants to go to a party in Manhattan.
He borrowed his dad's cab without telling him, and the rest of his night went downhill from there. This guy can't get a break.
"The Night Of" is great because it's more like a classic crime drama compared to what we've seen recently on HBO.
The murder mystery show was originally James Gandolfini's passion project, and now it lives on three years after his death. Gandolfini was set to star as Jack Stone, the disheveled lawyer who stepped up to take on Naz as a client -- without knowing this was a murder case. John Turturro took the role in his place.
I watched the show for the second time with my friends. They wouldn't shut up about how "unrealistic" the actions of the police officers were, specifically noting their bad practices.
So I decided to talk to an actual police officer about what cops would have probably done in reality.
If you haven't seen it, go watch it and then read this. Spoilers lie ahead. You've been warned.
After borrowing his dad's cab, Naz unintentionally picked up a mysterious woman. They ended up back at her place, played a bizarre drinking game, had sex and passed out. When he woke up, she was dead. Stabbed to death. Blood everywhere. So, Naz bolted.
Naz immediately got in his dad's cab and drove away. Of course, two police officers pulled him over because he made an illegal left turn. They accused him of driving recklessly and were about to breathalyze him.
Then, they got a call to check out a break-in a few blocks away. They just put Naz in the back of their car and left him there for hours while they checked out the scene.
I asked the police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, about how realistic that scene was. And apparently, it really was not at all. He said,
Being detained like that without being charged is illegal and pretty unrealistic procedurally. They would have been in a ton of trouble. Also, just like, why would you do that?
I guess these cops are pretty bad at their jobs. But maybe it's on purpose. So far, every character in this show makes a ton of obvious mistakes.
When Naz was finally taken to the precinct, he sat and waited for hours because no one seemed to know what to do with him. The officers who dropped him off didn't tell the desk sergeant what was going on.
Here's what the police officer said about what would have actually happened:
This kid wasn't being arrested. [The police officers] begrudgingly brought him back to the precinct after being told to. If he was being arrested, he would have been cuffed and searched immediately by the arresting officer. He still ended up there alone. Maybe this episode was written on purpose to show that everyone is doing the wrong thing. If a cop ever talked to a desk sergeant that way [in real life], that would have been his ass.
Throughout the episode, the evidence stacked up pretty high against Naz -- even though he's innocent for now. But he stupidly took the knife with him from the crime scene, and it was still on him while he was in the precinct. Scary. When the cops searched him, they found the weapon.
So I asked the police officer if he would have been charged at this point in real life, since the evidence was so strong. He replied,
He would have ended up in the precinct for driving recklessly anyway. So they would bring him back, search him, find the knife and charge him with a CPW, criminal possession of a weapon. But a person isn't indicted until he's arraigned. Cops can't charge people. They arrest for probable cause on a charge and then the courts decide. [After processing] they would take him to criminal court the next morning to be arraigned.
So I guess that's what we'll see next, hopefully. I seriously can't wait until episode two to find out how bad of a situation this is for the poor guy who just wanted to go to a party and talk to women.
The police officer I interviewed enjoyed the show overall. He said,
It's not ever going to be a 1:1 realism. I thought they did a good job. I'm pretty sure they're showing the cops doing the wrong thing on purpose because it's very obvious.
You can catch up on "The Night Of" if you missed it on HBO Go. The first episode is pretty long at 80 minutes, but it's totally worth the watch. You know I'll be watching episode two this Sunday at 9 pm.