The most mature thing I’ve ever done is watch an HBO drama about some guy’s foot disease over MTV’s Video Music Awards. While Britney Spears was making her ninth comeback, John Stone was scratching his skin raw, Chandra was being the world’s best and worst lawyer, and Naz, a free man, was walking out on his mother, who thought her son killed Andrea Cornish.
It was a very good — if often depressing — season one finale of The Night Of (Brian Grubb will have his recap later today), which may or may not return for season two. Executive producer Steven Zaillian has said the series “was designed as a stand-alone piece,” but “there are ways of certainly kind of taking what it feels like and what it’s about and doing another season on another subject.” There’s no real reason for The Night Of to check in with Naz again (he’s probably going to be stupid, like buying drugs less than 24 hours after being released from prison, and then smoking said drugs in public). But creators Zaillian and Richard Price could turn the crime drama into a Fargo-like anthology series, and just like Fargo, which followed the Solverson family in seasons one and two, The Night Of season two could also be about a cop.
My favorite scene in the finale happened near the end of the episode, after the deadlocked jury said they were done, after Freddy gave away his precious copy of The Call of the Wild, after Naz returned home. But it had nothing to do with any of them — it was the scene at the bar between the recently retired Dennis Box, now employed as NYU’s pride-swallowing campus security, and district attorney Helen Weiss. She can’t stand seeing this great police officer reduced to working as a rent-a-cop, so Helen challenges Dennis to help her with something: Let’s find the son of a bitch who (allegedly) killed Andrea.
I would happily watch an entire season revolving around Box and Weiss solving murders around New York City. Box & Weiss even sounds like the name of a mismatched “he’s a cop, she’s a lawyer, and together, they’re going to stomp out crime, one hit from a vape pen at a time” show. Both characters are deeply flawed — with Weiss going so far as to ignore key evidence — which is why the show would work so well. They’re no Mulder and Scully; they’re cranky, and tired, and probably drunk most of the time. I’d watch that. Plus, there’s no sexual tension, and that bar could be their Central Perk.
(In this scenario, Duane Reade is Gunther.)
Franklin & Bash is over, and Rizzoli & Isles is ending soon. We need Box & Weiss now more than ever. Hey, it can’t be worse than True Detective season two.