For those of you who haven’t seen HBO’s The Night Of STOP READING NOW! This post contains spoilers. Not just any ol’ spoilers – but the biggest spoiler of all: what happens in the finale.
To give you time to stop reading if you don’t want to know what happened in last night’s finale, I’ll digress for a moment: the show cemented Michael K. Williams as my favorite actor. My favorite of his roles remains his turn as Omar Little in The Wire and he was fantastic as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire. He submitted another super performance here. Quite the resume.
Ok. Time to get to the point.
Which lawyer in The Night Of would get the most serious sanction imposed against his or her law license?
- In real life, The New York Times stated that her passionate kiss with her client – during his murder trial, in the holding cell at the court, after which she convinces him to take the stand to testify – “undermines her as a professional.” Yes, it does. It’s also professional misconduct.
- In the show, her kiss with Naz (her client) leads co-counsel John Stone to move for a mistrial. Motion denied, but not before the judge asked her what other careers she considered as an undergrad before deciding on law school.
- Chandra’s boss, Alison Crowe, wasn’t sympathetic. She told Chandra she was going to report to the ethics committee. Then she fired her.
So, yes, to say the least, Chandra’s future is uncertain. Not to mention that nobody (in the show anyway) seems to know that she also smuggled drugs to Naz in jail.
But, seriously interwebs, where’s the outrage about the prosecutor’s clear Brady violation and flat-out lie to the jury?
Let’s set the stage:
Naz is charged with murdering Andrea Cornish. Lead Detective Dennis Box pulls camera footage of Andrea getting into Naz’s parked cab. When prosecutor Helen Weiss views the footage, she says something to the effect of “he waited for her. that’s pre-meditation.” And she presents her case as such.
As the trial proceeds, Detective Box continues to work the case, seemingly questioning whether he got the right guy. He reviews the footage of Andrea walking to Naz’s cab and notices that she turns to look back, as if scared of someone behind her. Pulling additional footage (thank you Big Brother?), Detective Box traces Andrea’s walk to Naz’s cab back to its beginning: an argument with a man outside a restaurant, a man who followed her towards the cab.
Box identifies the man: Ray Halle. Box discovers that not only did Ray get into an argument with Andrea on the night she died, and not only did he follow her to the cab …. he dated her and his semen was found her bed.
That’s not all that Box learned.
Turns out, Ray was Andrea’s financial advisor. Shortly before she died, Andrea found out that $300,000 was missing from her account. Ray controlled the account and, of course, Ray is a problem gambler.
Detective Box put it all together. And, on the eve of closing arguments, he told prosecutor everything he’d learned about Halle.
Her response? “We’ve got more on the kid.”
The next day, during her closing argument, Weiss states to the jury that the only semen found in Andrea’s bed belonged to Naz. Further, there’s no suggestion that she ever disclosed to the defense the fact that Box had located a suspect who:
- was dating the deceased,
- argued with her on the night she died,
- had a gambling problem
- had access to the deceased’s account
- an account from which the deceased had recently learned that $300,000 was missing.
Sure, after the jury comes back 6-6, prosecutor Weiss informs the court that her office declines to re-try Naz. And, later, she asks Box to come out of retirement to help her chase down Ray Halle. All’s well that end’s well, right?
You know what I say? Save it for the disciplinary hearing. At best, Weiss’s belated interest in snaring Halle is evidence that might mitigate her ethical lapses during the trial. The fact remains that Weiss (1) didn’t disclose anything about Halle to the defense; and (2) told the jury that only Naz’s semen was found in Andrea’s bed.
So, yes, Chandra’s career isn’t off to the best start (and Stone and Crowe weren’t exactly paradigms of ethics throughout the show) but my money would be on prosecutor Weiss losing her ticket for violating Rule 3.8(d) (failing to disclose information that she knows about & that tends to negate Naz’s guilt) and the rules requiring candor & honesty (Rules 3.3, 4.1, and 8.4(c)).