This week, HBO leapt into the murder-mystery fray with The Night Of, a new limited series in which a college student (played by Riz Ahmed) is accused of murdering a woman following a twisted one-night stand on the Upper West Side. The gripping pilot episode finds Nasir “Naz” Khan stumbling into a ridiculous amount of incriminating evidence, as the viewer is given fleeting clues as to who actually is responsible for killing Andrea.
After one episode, Naz is the prime suspect… but who else could be mixed up in the murder? Assuming that we’ve already met them in the first 80 minutes, here are the “murder suspect power rankings”: a list of potential killers, ranked by how feasible it is (right now) that they did the deed. WARNING: Spoilers ahead, so just watch the first episode of The Night Of if you haven’t done so already and come back here when you’re done!
1. Nasir “Naz” Khan
Look, in all likelihood, Naz is not the killer, because he is a good kid and the protagonist and has sad eyes and has pretty great taste in rap music. But for Week 1, he has to top these power rankings, right? He can’t remember what happened in the space between having sex with Andrea and finding her brutally murdered; he fled the crime scene instead of calling the cops; he and Andrea were already engaged in some light knife play when things went awry; and he has no one to help him prove his innocence.
Maybe there’s a sadistic side of Naz that we don’t see yet, or maybe he took too many drugs and inadvertently went stab-happy while he was zonked out. Maybe HBO wants us to believe that The Night Of is a twisting turn toward proving Naz’s innocence, or maybe the final act confirms that the correct answer was the most obvious one all along. We have many more hours to try and figure out who Naz really is, but right now, he’s not looking so hot.
2. Silent African-American Guy
While the loquacious Trevor (played by The Wire alum J.D. Williams) insults Naz before the incident and then helps the police identify the prime suspect, his friend says nothing upon their first encounter, and the camera lingers on his menacing stare as Naz and Andrea disappear. Much more suspiciously, Trevor later tells police that he bumped into the couple while he was alone, glaringly omitting his friend’s presence. Perhaps Trevor is trying to protect his unnamed amigo… who knows where Andrea lives. This dude is going up to pop up again, guaranteed.
3. Nosy Neighbor
“Do I look like a threat to flee to Europe?” cracks the older gentleman being questioned by the police. The middle-aged neighbor who watched Naz flee from the scene and initially called the cops isn’t a suspect, but he conveniently watched Naz leave, then failed to recognize him several times before the knife was discovered in Naz’s jacket pocket. This guy seems harmless—but that could just be classic misdirection.
4. The Worst Hearse Driver
This guy sucks! He asks Andrea, “You wanna be my next passenger?,” before putting out a cigarette in the middle of a gas station! Here’s a question, though—doesn’t it look like he and Andrea have met before? If they have, they clearly aren’t on great terms.
5. Mysterious Motorcyclist
After Naz flees Andrea’s home, who is the silent biker who eyes the knife sitting on his dashboard? We don’t know yet… but his fleeting presence could prove crucial.
A little far-fetched, especially considering the knife wounds in her back, but: Is it possible that Andrea committed suicide in some way? When she first plops into Naz’s car, she seems depressed, and unconcerned with her future. “I can’t be alone tonight,” she tells Naz after popping some sort of pill; she later whips out a knife and exhibits a penchant for self-harm. Andrea could have known that she was destined to die that night, and simply wanted someone by her side (or a patsy of some kind).
7. Her Cat!
Andrea’s tabby must have been pissed that she got thrown out in the cold! And did you see that last shot of the pilot? This isn’t Garfield we’re talking about—this cat could be out for blood, not lasagna.