HBO's new miniseries The Night of has a Pakistani for a main character.
The show is based on the 2008 BBC series Criminal Justice and is about a young Pakistani college student accused of murder. The central character borrows his father’s taxi and picks up an attractive woman. After a night of partying, he wakes up to find her stabbed to death in her bed.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the creators of the new version, Steve Zaillian and Richard Price, decided to adapt the show in America. But apart from moving the mystery to New York, they also changed the central character from a white man to the son of Pakistani immigrants.
Zaillian credits Price for this switch. “In the British series he’s a white kid because most of the cabdrivers are white. Most of the cabdrivers in New York City are not,” says Zaillian. “That one decision affected the whole show.”
Price has visited Lahore many times for his wife's, novelist Lorraine Adams, research. He chose to keep the central character a Pakistani because he knew more about Pakistanis than any other ethnicity the character may have belonged to.
Actor Riz Ahmed, who was in Nightcrawler and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, will be portraying Naz, a college student who is the accused killer.