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If you have not seen it, you should make a maximum effort to watch "The Night Of," an eight-part series on HBO that serves as a kind of fictional companion piece to the first season of the "Serial" podcast.

"The Night Of" actually is an adaptation of an old British TV series that looks at the inside of the criminal justice system. It begins on a night when Nasir Khan, a Pakistani-American college student, makes a year's worth of bad decisions that result in him being accused of murder ... and for seven subsequent episodes, it takes us deep inside a system that, even if it is the best available, also is deeply flawed.

John Turturro plays John Stone, an ambulance-chasing attorney who ends up representing Khan; the role originally was to be played by James Gandolfini, who died after the pilot was shot. Robert DeNiro was then supposed to play the role, but had to back out because of scheduling conflicts. But no matter. Turturro is amazing - a knight in battered, tarnished armor, who finds himself running on faith and moral outrage that surprises even him.

Riz Ahmed also is extraordinary as Khan, who is not everything he says he is, and who evolves in unexpected ways as his case proceeds. In fact, the entire cast is wonderful ... it is like a "Law & order" on steroids, with deeper cynicism and a bigger budget. And the scripts, by Richard Price and Steve Zaillian, are a great example of economy and insight.

Watch "The Night Of." It is one of the best things I've seen on TV in a long time.



I have two wines to recommend to you this week ... both from the Bedell Winery on the North Fork of Long Island. The 2015 Taste Rose, and the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, are both exceptional wines - full of flavor, refreshing, and perfect for these still-hot September days.



That's it for this week. have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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