Hello, Michael K. Williams. (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

Hello, Michael K. Williams. (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO)

Okay… stay with me.

I say this for two reasons:

  1. After an all-time great premiere episode, the last two weeks of “The Night Of” have been slow for the type of show we assume we’ve been watching: a week-to-week procedural. It should be obvious by now that it is only a procedural in the sense that we’re dealing with crime and those who investigate it.  What gets wrapped up in 60 minutes of “Law & Order: SVU” or “Criminal Minds” is going to take eight weeks to solve on HBO.
  2. The fun part of watching and conversing about a show like “The Night Of” is exploring all of the ins and outs. Dissecting the influences is more than half the battle; you have to stick with it.  

Last week, I drew some heavy comparisons to Season 1 of the This American Life podcast “Serial.”  After a slow-burn episode like “A Dark Crate,” there is an even more apt comparison to draw in how we are consuming this show.  

I, like many other people in the Fall of 2014, discovered the “Serial” podcast in mid-October.  Patton Oswalt — a writer/comedian and cultural commenter/big deal on Twitter — was going Tweet happy about it, so I decided to check it out.  At that point, there were four episodes already released, so I was able to binge through nearly half the season in an afternoon. I was left more than enough time to get thoroughly hooked and re-listen several times before new episodes debuted.  

We’re attacking “The Night Of,” a piece of media with very similar themes, threads, and layered storytelling, in real time. We don’t have the luxury of binging it and allowing it to sink its jaws deep into our culture consuming throats.  

For every minute tonight that was spent away from the crime scene and away from Det. Dennis Box exploring who could have done the crime, we spent learning more about who is being defended and who is doing the defending. It’s all important. It’s all connected. So let’s stick with it.  

Questions heading into Episode 3:

  • Who does Naz meet in prison?
  • How is Box & the DA building the case against Naz?  How is Stone building the defense?
  • What does the crime scene tell us about the killer?

Theory Heat Check:

  • Don Taylor, the step-dad, is no good.  Could his indifference towards Andrea’s behavior, his cold reaction to the events of “The Night Of,” and his reluctance to actually face Andrea’s body or evidence of the murder be masking a guilty conscious? 

You can check out the full Notepad for all three weeks HERE.

About half way through “A Dark Crate,” it became pretty clear that we’re watching two shows at the same time — one is a legal drama that is looking more and more like “The Verdict,” and one is a crime drama that is looking more and more like “The Shawshank Redemption,” with the two sides posturing for top position in the battle for who gets to defend Naz.

We spent a lot of time with Jack Stone this week and I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing. His Willie Loman-esque adventures around New York really painted a picture of the depths through which this character must swim. From being talked down to in the men’s bathroom at the courthouse by a lawyer who looked like he was running late for a Chemistry 201 final, to his podiatrist telling him to rub Crisco on his feet before wrapping them in saran wrap to sooth his ailing feet, to being the funniest guy at an eczema support group, the show “Jack Stone at Home” would be the saddest drama on TV right now.  

Seriously, imagine paying a co-pay to have a doctor tell you to rub baking grease on your feet… and now imagine that man defending you in court. The only detail this was missing was his tightening his tie and muttering, “no respect, I tell ya, no respect at all,” delivered with all the heartbreaking realness of an Arthur Miller play.

For all of those highlights of life kicking sand into Jack Stone’s face, they were shown to us to tell the audience that he can only go up from here because we cannot possibly sink any lower.  

Throughout episode three, Stone break our hearts by resorting to every trick in his bag to treat this case like any other on his desk. This isn’t because he is a bad lawyer, or because he just wants to be rid of another guaranteed loser of a case. His fear is that he won’t be able to pull off saving Naz, and his frequent attempts to take the legal version of a dive builds throughout the episode until he is cast aside.  

As this limited series is much closer to a novel than it is an anthology in the vein of “True Detective,” it is layered with some pretty heavy metaphoric imagery — specifically the worsening eczema. Simply put, something is eating away at Jack Stone and the skin ailment is the manifestation of his guilt he has over what could have been his life.

My theory is that he gave up a promising career as a serious litigator in exchange for as many take-the-money-and-run cases as he could get to support his family. If I were to guess, the eczema starts to get better as his hero’s journey brings him onto the team with the Kahn’s new shark, Allison Crowe, and back into the courtroom. Why else film him starring longingly at the shoes he would have worn to trial?

Meanwhile, things are going from bad to worse for Naz at Rikers which is made even worse because he has no idea how much danger he is in.  While it looks like Naz has made an ally in Freddy — played immaculately by HBO’s strongest go-to guy, Michael K. Williams — the situation that Naz finds himself in is just too big for one person to protect him at all times; Naz is just too naive to know that, which Freddy immediately takes advantage of.

Their interactions are so packed with twists and turns it is nearly impossible to unpack, so I’ll leave it at this: The Naz/Freddy interaction mirrors the pitch that Naz’s new defense attorney, Allison Crowe, gives to the Khans. Both the offers made for protection from persecution and the prosecution are offered to Naz and his parents without any discussion of payment and both hang over the scene like the blade of a guillotine.  

While we don’t know exactly what they want — presumably, material goods in exchange for protection is how Freddy keeps his flow of cash and merchandise coming into prison and TV ratings for high-profile cases is how Allison Crowe maintains great white status in the legal sea of New York City — it is plain to see that neither of these characters care at all what happens to Naz. The only person that does is Jack Stone, who continues to dig into Naz’s case even after his is dismissed.  

Episode 3 did nothing to help the army of internet sleuths solve the case before the finale, but that is completely fine. If the episode titles of the next five episodes are any clue — which include next week’s “The Art of War,” and future episodes, “Sampson and Delilah,” and “The Call of the Wild” — the two separate show threads are about to start getting braided pretty tightly together.

THE NOTEBOOK

  • Lots of bargaining going on — nothing comes without a price. Family with Crowe, Naz with Freddy.
  • Freddy getting favors from the guards is probably not unique to the two guards he interacted with tonight. His entire setup in Riker’s could be built around payment for protection from other inmates, former inmates, and prison employees.  
  • That veal speech was definitely one he has given before. He has seen many cases like Naz’s and is reeling him in as a big fish. It’s nearly identical to what Allison Crowe is doing to Naz’s parents.  
  • Det. Box ripping into the two arresting officers was fantastic. Telling them to keep Officer Maldenado’s puking at the scene in the official report is a brilliant chess move — humanizing the officers, the victim, and putting the jury directly in the shoes of a “fresh out of the academy” officer seeing his first dead body is genius. It’s also foreshadowing as to the picture that Allison Crowe is going to paint in Naz’s defense. I cannot wait for this.  
  • CROWE vs. STONE: “I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase.”  Even more perfect because Michael K. Williams is part of this show now.

UPDATE: The cat theory is dead. The cat as a literary device is alive and well.  

  • The cat represents the truth and for the third week in a row is right under a character’s nose and just as quickly dismissed.  
  • Just give the truth a little attention and it will open itself up to you, just as the cat wrapped itself around Stone’s leg because he gave it some milk.  
  • Stone bringing the cat to the MSPCA — and almost assured death — is going to haunt Jack, metaphorically speaking. He sent the truth away in this instance, and is going to be searching for it from here on out.  
  • Stone, like Naz, is allergic to cats. He’s defending Naz because he sees himself in him — a young kid with a bright future scraping away in a city designed to destroy him. He is compelled to help Naz and give him the chance he didn’t fight to give himself.  
Blog Author: 
Padraic O'Connor
Veterans report to training camp on Wednesday and Butch and Rob give a quick preview of what they expect. They talk about Jimmy G and just how much playing time he'll get versus Brady in preseason games.

[0:05:25] ... which is August 4 and then they opened August 11 appearance the New Orleans Saints in fox tomorrow. So here's what it will by the way be the highest rated pre season viewing in a while here's the question. Who's the starting quarterback against and won't say it's on August 11. To be Grupo. He gets the first series he showed Tom Brady doesn't. Yes. Tom Brady play at all. Yeah you yes also Tom Brady comes in after Genoa I don't know enough first game not necessarily. I think Tom prettiest of play at some point book let's just give this is a given we're all gonna make too much of it but. You think Tom Brady's gonna come in after you Jimmy your cute cute fairly plain at all. You know the enough entire pre season. I don't ...
[0:13:15] ... hidden wealth for Cleveland but he loves them so like night. I'm Mike Napoli was good news here different apple bite but compared to what he did it in his last. Stand here he has regain ...
[0:13:44] ... myself Jack Nicholson. This departed put India relationship lug nuts that. Probably Leonardo DiCaprio Colorado at that point in his life you know all over the place are an Atlanta that you just have to care. ...





Veterans report to training camp on Wednesday and Butch and Rob give a quick preview of what they expect. They talk about Jimmy G and just how much playing time he'll get versus Brady in preseason games.

[0:05:25] ... which is August 4 and then they opened August 11 appearance the New Orleans Saints in fox tomorrow. So here's what it will by the way be the highest rated pre season viewing in a while here's the question. Who's the starting quarterback against and won't say it's on August 11. To be Grupo. He gets the first series he showed Tom Brady doesn't. Yes. Tom Brady play at all. Yeah you yes also Tom Brady comes in after Genoa I don't know enough first game not necessarily. I think Tom prettiest of play at some point book let's just give this is a given we're all gonna make too much of it but. You think Tom Brady's gonna come in after you Jimmy your cute cute fairly plain at all. You know the enough entire pre season. I don't ...
[0:13:15] ... hidden wealth for Cleveland but he loves them so like night. I'm Mike Napoli was good news here different apple bite but compared to what he did it in his last. Stand here he has regain ...
[0:13:44] ... myself Jack Nicholson. This departed put India relationship lug nuts that. Probably Leonardo DiCaprio Colorado at that point in his life you know all over the place are an Atlanta that you just have to care. ...





The guys get into more of the HOF stuff and Mike Piazza being the first suspected "steroid guy" to get in. What does that mean for David Ortiz? The guys also get into more Red Sox topics.

[0:01:29] ... Up until Mike Piazza the lowest round was drafted made the ultimate John Smoltz yet when he second round. It still seems ten below and then you have Mike Piazza with 62 round which suits the ...
[0:03:59] ... one that comes up is continued come up around here. Is that David Ortiz one. And it gave her tees it I'd know that they've talked about this recently. Dave Ortiz I think is a hall ...
[0:06:04] ... well and it will continue to all the way up till. Yeah Alex Rodriguez can be after Ortiz but. I don't know Powell Alex Rodriguez doesn't get voted into the hall I think Ortiz is a I think or T I think writers have less questions about ...
[0:13:08] ... half he's nine and seven and 21 starts how might trade for Jake Peavy and when you replace him in the rotation. Right to use an analogy from Aaron. Ago when we can do better than ...






The guys get into more of the HOF stuff and Mike Piazza being the first suspected "steroid guy" to get in. What does that mean for David Ortiz? The guys also get into more Red Sox topics.

[0:01:29] ... Up until Mike Piazza the lowest round was drafted made the ultimate John Smoltz yet when he second round. It still seems ten below and then you have Mike Piazza with 62 round which suits the ...
[0:03:59] ... one that comes up is continued come up around here. Is that David Ortiz one. And it gave her tees it I'd know that they've talked about this recently. Dave Ortiz I think is a hall ...
[0:06:04] ... well and it will continue to all the way up till. Yeah Alex Rodriguez can be after Ortiz but. I don't know Powell Alex Rodriguez doesn't get voted into the hall I think Ortiz is a I think or T I think writers have less questions about ...
[0:13:08] ... half he's nine and seven and 21 starts how might trade for Jake Peavy and when you replace him in the rotation. Right to use an analogy from Aaron. Ago when we can do better than ...






Ian Browne sits down with the guys to talk about Joe Kelly's journey to the bullpen, the Sox pitching rotation, David Price's issues and more.

[0:07:29] ... be I mean you're gonna Mike when it was him and have John Lackey for one more year at most and he was already making noise that he wasn't gonna pitch. That minimum contract with the rats like he was really upset at the way they treated Jon Lester really want no part of being with threats after that the getting rid of a guy who's going to be unhappy in this case. You're getting rid of an eighteen year old pitcher. And could be the next Pedro Martinez. Or it could be the next Henry opens here even you don't know. What is going to be it's that's the risk ...
[0:10:17] ... few other apple onwards are yeah operate out of Sierra Club Allison Tom Ford freckle award winner. He's gonna hang around what butch in Bradford Ian Brown of mlb.com quick break him back with your calls ...
[0:11:46] ... and it's fair game especially with the Red Sox manager. But when John Farrell took Eddie Rodriguez out the other night. Would Brian Dozier up and it was clear he did not want him to face ...
[0:14:26] ... go to our good buddy John from Medford who wants to rip John Farrell and Eric John. When I talk to one hour but I think he he he he surrendered back to Iraq when he ...






Ian Browne sits down with the guys to talk about Joe Kelly's journey to the bullpen, the Sox pitching rotation, David Price's issues and more.

[0:07:29] ... be I mean you're gonna Mike when it was him and have John Lackey for one more year at most and he was already making noise that he wasn't gonna pitch. That minimum contract with the rats like he was really upset at the way they treated Jon Lester really want no part of being with threats after that the getting rid of a guy who's going to be unhappy in this case. You're getting rid of an eighteen year old pitcher. And could be the next Pedro Martinez. Or it could be the next Henry opens here even you don't know. What is going to be it's that's the risk ...
[0:10:17] ... few other apple onwards are yeah operate out of Sierra Club Allison Tom Ford freckle award winner. He's gonna hang around what butch in Bradford Ian Brown of mlb.com quick break him back with your calls ...
[0:11:46] ... and it's fair game especially with the Red Sox manager. But when John Farrell took Eddie Rodriguez out the other night. Would Brian Dozier up and it was clear he did not want him to face ...
[0:14:26] ... go to our good buddy John from Medford who wants to rip John Farrell and Eric John. When I talk to one hour but I think he he he he surrendered back to Iraq when he ...






It's HOF induction day and Butch and Rob discuss why Shaughnessy is deserving of the honor. They also talk about how JBJ took the chip on his shoulder and ran with it.
It's HOF induction day and Butch and Rob discuss why Shaughnessy is deserving of the honor. They also talk about how JBJ took the chip on his shoulder and ran with it.

[0:11:51] ... play well. They don't want to leave. Ego. You have Mike yeah Mike Napoli for instance. He was one of the leaders on that 2013 team right but when he's hitting 200 Michael liked his last year here each arm and he just wanted to say you know what I know I'm hitting 200 but this is the way to do that and it what they do they have they have the Jonny Gomes didn't have the David Ross's who he go to guy you know. There were probably gonna hit to twenty. But their job was to this is the ...
[0:13:17] ... he should go to gotten over the back to Brett following. That's Bill Bradley before we go back to the Christ front tomorrow night still self serving plug tonight at 1130 at a sit down and ...




Butch and Rob get into the strange Chris Sale story from yesterday in which Sale cut up the throw-back jerseys that the White Sox were supposed to wear because he simply didn't like them. He was then sent home. What does it mean? Will he be traded? The guys aren't so sure about that. They also talk about the difficult schedule ahead for the Red Sox and how the rest of the AL East doesn't have to deal with that. Is the Fenway Park concert schedule to blame?

[0:00:36] ... and you like Chris Sale I was always trade rumors. Yesterday the Chicago White Sox were at home. Yesterday like a lot of Major League teams this week they were oust. And by their management to Wear ...
[0:01:44] ... if you remember. At the beginning of the year there was the Adam LaRoche situation. And his did any stood up for Adam LaRoche and said. That he was representing a lot of guys in the White Sox organization. Why have to happen in Chicago market that happened here of the costs of well again my theory is he didn't wanna Wear the 76 uniform because he wants to get traded to Boston because Bucky Dent was the starting shortstop alongside Jack pro camera at second base I don't know I like the fact Zemin says Jack brought ...
[0:07:06] ... ever have had a friendly park. And when you go to the Major League Baseball you're trying to figure out the schedule and it is not it is a very difficult process I understand that. But you ...