Two of the biggest running themes on the defense side of the case on HBO’s The Night Of have been 1) the ongoing foot problems of John Stone, Esquire, and 2) the ongoing stupidity of Nasir Khan, murder suspect. While I am very pleased — very pleased — to report that the foot thing appears to have cleared up thanks to a concoction of Eastern medicine that looks like river mud and doubles as an aphrodisiac, the second thing is still a problem. A big one.
Let’s briefly run down a few of the stupid things Naz has done. He sat around a police station with a murder weapon in his jacket and made only a half-hearted attempt to get rid of it. He spilled his guts to a detective without asking for a lawyer. Even after he got a lawyer, he continued to talk, this time to his parents, on video, despite an explicit warning not to do so. All of which, I mean, fine. He’s a scared teenager. Some slack should be cut. But then last night…
Sin! He got a jailhouse tattoo that says “Sin”! Across his knuckles! And “Bad” on the other one! Before his trial started! Because his nickname is “Sinbad” in jail. But now he has “sin” and “bad” tattooed on his fingers!
This is the dumbest thing he’s done yet. It’s not even close. Everything else can be explained away. Doing a bunch of drugs with a strange girl? He’s young! The stuff in the police station? He’s naive! The cocaine smuggling? He was intimidated! But this one? Hoo boy. It’s hard to even list off all the individual ways it’s a horrible idea. A knuckle tattoo, in general, is not smart when you’re headed to trial, because any word becomes 100 times more creepy and ominous when displayed via jailhouse knuckle tattoo. He could have gotten “PUPPIES” across all eight exposed digits and it would still look evil, like maybe his gang nickname was Puppies because he liked to kill puppies. Convict the puppy killer!
But he didn’t get the word “Puppies” tattooed on his hand. He got “sin” and “bad.” I know he’s trying to spell one word, but… sin! I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to come up with a word you could get tattooed on your hand that makes you look more guilty of murder than that, and the only two I’ve come up with are “guilty” and “murder.” Can you imagine being on a jury and seeing that?
PROSECUTOR: … and you don’t remember any of this?
NAZ: I told you. I don’t.
PROSECUTOR: And you don’t think it’s possible?
PROSECUTOR: One last question. What’s tattooed on your right hand?
NAZ: Uh, “sin.”
JURY: [in unison] Ahhhhhh.
It’s all almost enough to make me wonder if the real question we should be asking about The Night Of isn’t “Is Naz innocent or guilty?,” but instead “Is Naz an idiot or is this show a little sloppy?” Because if they’re trying to drive home the angle that prison can change a man and make him hard, or the angle that maybe Naz was capable of committing a grisly murder, then I think we got that last week with the violent shower beating and the thing where he big-timed Treach over an episode of Ellen. There was a lily that didn’t need gilding.
I guess what I’m saying is that the show itself is kind of like Naz. It started out good and interesting, but as it’s gone on I’ve seen some things that made me question that original assessment, and now the whole thing is in danger of going to hell over a jailhouse knuckle tattoo.