They set it up, which makes it by definition NOT improbable.
Cause and effect. Box was certain when he questioned Naz and recommended prosecuting him in the first place. Box was certain during his first testimony.
Then, Stone began undercutting Box’s certainty regarding the other people of interest. How Box had been bullshitted about Duane Reed’s presence. About how he overlooked all these other shady people… because Naz represented a sort of confirmation bias. “If it looks likes a duck…”
But then, Box’s second testimony, after the inhaler revelation, and having his career picked apart, that planted a festering seed of doubt in Box’s mind. Then he retired. Suddenly, he had all that doubt, with no new cases to occupy his mind. It was going to eat him alive unless he got closure.
That’s actually fantastic story telling that earns what it gets. Because lesser works would have had Box waking up on a cold sweat realizing, out of the blue, that he’s made a mistake. There’s no cause and effect there. That doesn’t earn anything.
How can you criticize good storytelling for being the textbook definition of good storytelling?
The kiss… everyone has beef with the kiss. Again, good storytelling. SHOW, DON’T TELL. The screenwriter’s credo. Where’d the kiss come from? Personally, I’m glad we didn’t have to sit through an episode of exposition trying to explain it away.
Was Naz manipulating her, as he was demonstrated to be a pretty good manipulator, so that he could get her to do favors for him in the future? Which, oh, by the way, she did!
Was there a bit of a Florence Nightingale Syndrome type of thing going on between them? His life was in her hands. She was the only beautiful thing in his life. She was the the one thing giving him hope. On the flip side, he was her responsibility. He was being victimized and she had the ability to save him. He was going to be her meal ticket as well. He would make her famous. He would make her career.
That’s a ton of psychological stuff going on right there. All those swirling thoughts and emotions and more for both characters make it fairly understandable and straight forward.
If you want to complain, then the valid complaint is “She should’ve known better!” which is true. But she was too in-over-her-head and got lost in the moment is the simple defense of that.
And a hung jury isn’t satisfying? You saw the arguments. Did the prosecutor convince you? I thought her case was terrible. It wasn’t that strong of a case from what I saw.
The defense likewise did a bad job of establishing his innocence, but that wasn’t their strategy. The defense was “make them doubt the prosecutor”. Evidence tampering, shady histories, star witnesses to contradict witnesses for the prosecution, introducing other plausible suspects that the police didn’t investigate…
I imagine the jury leaning heavily toward conviction at first, and the defense slowly winning a few of them over with doubts until it was even.
But that doesn’t matter, all it takes is one.
I think they earned the hung jury (which is not emotionally satisfying, intentionally so) by making the prosecutor’s case less than airtight and marked by assumptions and snap judgments, whereas the defense was aggressive and thought-provoking if not perfect.
Thought-provoking in that it made the jury question the prosecutor’s assumptions and judgments.
Needless to say, I can’t agree with your assessment because you seem to have missed so much for some reason. I get that it was an emotionally uncomfortable finale. It didn’t follow the typical court room drama buildup and celebratory end.
That was all intentional. It’s not a court room drama as we’ve come to know them. This subverted that expectation. The anti-climax that Twitter was up in arms about was a lack of hugs and handshakes and the realization that Naz is forever changed, Stone is right back where he started after a fleeting bit of high profile success, a killer is on the loose (whoever it may be), and there is no justice for the victim.