‘Kaleidoscope’ Character: Nazan Abassi, Explained – Why Was She Obsessed With Ava Mercer? Is Nazan Dead?


Created by Eric Garcia, the Netflix miniseries “Kaleidoscope” introduces us to an FBI agent who is fighting the demons of her past while trying to prove a point to the world. The character of Nazan Abassi, played by the endearing Niousha Noor, was a survivor who, even after getting trampled by life, didn’t ever give up and kept going forward. Nazan Abassi had been clean for four years, and finally, the bureau had started trusting her once again. She had lost custody of her son, Reza, due to drug abuse, but after attending several support group meetings and showing the authorities that she was on the path to recovery, she earned her first unsupervised weekend with her son. Nazan was elated as she witnessed things changing for the better. She had been through a lot in the past couple of years, and there was a point in her life when she felt that everything was going downhill. She was miserable when she decided that she would not let her life be hampered by drugs and substance abuse. Nazan felt weak and helpless at that time, and she knew that she didn’t want to feel like that ever again. Her field job was helping her cope with addiction, and she was happy that she could now pay more attention to details, as under the influence of drugs, everything had been a blur. Nazan knew that she had a long way to go, but she was enjoying the little victories that she was having. 

Nazan had single-handedly caught the fourth person on Cyber’s most-wanted list, but she was hungry for more. She came to know from agent Toby that Ava Mercer was somehow involved in the robbery in Diamond District. Mercer’s fingerprints were found on a shell casing, though the bureau was still quite skeptical about calling her in for the investigation. Mercer was a big-shot lawyer, and the bureau was inclined to believe that it was all an unfortunate mix-up. They didn’t want to mess with Mercer without substantial proof. Nazan had a feeling that Ray Vernon was linked to the Diamond District heist, though she didn’t have any evidence to prove it either. Nazan knew that she couldn’t make preposterous claims based on intuition, and that is why she stayed quiet and waited for that one breakthrough. Ava Mercer was called for the interrogation, and she told Agent Ted Gough that about a month ago, she had reported two of her guns as stolen. Agent Gough checked the records and found that what she was telling was the truth. He had no option but to let her go. It was later revealed in “Kaleidoscope,” that Nazan and Ava knew each other from before, and approximately seven years ago, the latter had lodged a formal complaint against the former. Mercer had claimed that Abassi was under the influence during an important interview, where she had given information about a client in danger. Mercer had said in her complaint that her client had died because Nazan didn’t take the matter seriously. Nazan admitted that she was suffering from addiction at the time, but she believed that it wasn’t her fault that the client died. 

Nazan knew that the bureau wasn’t going to help her, so she started keeping track of Mercer’s movements on her own. She had seen Bob going over to Ava’s house, and her suspicion grew stronger. She knew that Bob had a notorious reputation in the criminal world, and as per her investigation, he had checked into a motel near the Diamond District just days before the heist. Nazan told Toby that she believed the Diamond Way robbery was a funding operation for something bigger and more dastardly. She was taking everything personally because she had a lot to prove to herself. After 9/11, she joined the FBI to show the people that not every Muslim was a terrorist. Nazan was made to raid mosques and homes of suspects, and she knew that the majority of them were totally innocent. She couldn’t deal with the guilt of ruining lives, which is when she turned to drugs. She knew that sometimes, one has to bend the rules to let the truth out in the open.

With the help of Samuel Toby, Nazan connected the dots and found that Bob Goodwin, Stan Loomis, Judy, and Ava Mercer were all working with Ray Vernon. Soon after, Samuel got a tip, and he came to know that Ava was meeting a contact in Bushwick. Nazan went alone, as Samuel said that he was stuck with some work. She regretted going there, as it was a trap set by Ava Mercer, who made sure that Nazan was caught by the NYPD with drugs in her possession. The possibility of getting custody of her son was snatched from Nazan, and she didn’t know how she could make the court believe that she had been framed. Nazan took Teresa, Ava’s nanny, into her custody, and she told Ava that the deportation hearing that was supposed to happen in a couple of days could go in her favor if she decided to be a mole for the FBI. Nazan wanted Ava to tell her what Ray Vernon was planning to do next and what operation was being funded by the diamond heist.

Though Ava had told Nazan that she would work for her, she had no intention of doing so in reality. Ava misled Nazan and Samuel when Ray and other gang members had entered the SLS vault. Though Ray Vernon was able to steal the bonds from the vault, his daughter, Hannah, returned them to the Triplets. Later, Nazan got a tip from Ray Vernon himself, and she was able to catch hold of Bob Goodwin. She wanted to catch him alive, but the situation got out of hand, and he started firing at the FBI agents present at the scene. Bob was killed, and Nazan’s superiors told her that it was an achievement. But she knew that they had been used by somebody and that Bob was a pawn who was sacrificed as he was trying to go against the man orchestrating the entire thing, i.e., Ray Vernon. Nazan was not ready to give up, and she once again started calling the office of Robert Thiel in the hope of getting some information. 

In the “Pink” episode of “Kaleidoscope,” we saw that Nazan Abassi was killed by an unknown man while she was walking on the road. It could be possible that the Triplets were behind her murder, as they didn’t want the real truth of the heist to come out in the open. Hannah had already informed the Triplets about the heist and made them understand how they could benefit from this entire plan. Had Nazan found that the insurance claim they were making was based on fraudulent grounds, it could have landed them in lots of legal trouble. It was a personal battle for Nazan, where she proved to the world that she was better than what they perceived her to be. She wanted to rectify the mistakes she had made in the past. All she wanted was to spend a few moments of happiness with her son and, for once, let go of the guilt that she had carried on her shoulders for so long. Nazan was a caring mother, and those who knew her closely admired her work ethic. She brought her own doom because of her stubbornness and resilience. Had it been any other case, she would have been rewarded, but this time, she was way over her head and had to pay a huge price for it.

At the end of “Kaleidoscope,” we saw Samuel Toby packing up the items from Nazan’s office. In her stuff was Herman Melville’s novel, “Moby Dick,” and we couldn’t help but compare her journey to the protagonist, Ahab. Just like the Captain, Nazan had become obsessed with the idea of taking revenge on Ava Mercer. She didn’t realize it, but her obsession was ruining everything she cared about. People around Nazan realized that there was no end to her maniacal quest, and that is why they had given up on her. If we entertain the possibility that Nazan didn’t die on the street, then we could certainly say that we would see her running her own investigative agency to find the perpetrators because, knowing her, we are pretty sure that she wouldn’t be able to let it go. But if she didn’t survive (which we believe is more likely), then it would be a tragic end for a character who was not even given the opportunity to get closure. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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