The Best Theories About The Murder In ‘The Night Of’ (So Far)

After only one episode of HBO‘s The Night Of, we’re already officially obsessed. It’s like Serial and Making A Murderer meets The Wire— and we’re utterly determined to be the ones who crack the cast of who committed that gruesome murder. Let’s take a look at our prime suspects at this stage in the game.

Anyone But Naz
The Night Of, Riz Ahmed
Right now, we're refusing to believe Naz killed Andrea. Our first reason is that he doesn't even think he did it. He's shocked and horrified at what he finds when he turns the light on in her bedroom. There's also the small matter of the knife that he used to stab Andrea in the hand. It's right where they left it, even after she's been stabbed to death. Did someone else come in, grab the bloody knife, run upstairs to kill Andrea before returning it to its place next to the tequila and limes? It seems much more likely that the incriminating knife that Naz takes with him -- and the police find him with -- is not actually the murder weapon at all. So, if it's not Naz, who could it be?
The Night Of, Sofia Black D'Elia
This girl is crazy, so there's really no telling what she would have been capable of. She's clearly in an agitated state when she enters the cab, telling Naz that she couldn't be alone that night. She also had quite a few drugs on her that could suggest she hasn't surrounded herself with the greatest of companions, like, perhaps, a certain racist she encountered earlier that night? Could she perhaps have somehow stabbed herself? Or could she have manipulated an incapacitated Nasir the same way she had earlier in the night, convincing him to wield the knife yet again, this time with more deadly repercussions?
UPDATE: After John Stone discovers she's spent time in a rehab facility, it seems more than likely that her associations in the drug world played a larger role in her untimely end. At the very least, it raises a few more questions.
The Drug Dealer
After the toxicology reports were ready, both prosecutors and the defense learned that both Andrea and Naz had ketamine and ecstasy in their systems (with amphetamines also in Naz's as a result of his taking Adderall). The prosecution looks to portray this as Naz providing the drugs, but using Andrea's phone records, Stone locates the guy he believes sold her the K and the E that night. It turns out, he's right, and her drug dealer left in a tizzy to find himself some legal advice. Stone's theory already seems plausible: Andrea owes money to the drug dealer, who in turn owes money to his supplier. Could his supplier have decided to target Andrea in an attempt to get what's owed to him?
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Andrea's Stepfather
When we were first introduced to Andrea's stepfather, Don Taylor, he was unwilling to cooperate with Detective Box. Without knowing that Andrea had been killed, he automatically assumed she was in trouble (again), and seemed to want to absolve himself of all responsibility. It's through him that we learn that both of Andrea's parents are now dead. Taylor is undoubtedly hiding something, but whether his secret is that he's the murderer is still unclear. When first shown photos of his slain step-daughter, he tells police that it's not her; when Box insists that Taylor needed to view the body itself, he immediately changed his answer, claiming the deceased was his stepdaughter. All of this, by the way, transpired without Taylor seeming to feel any emotions about her death. What is he hiding?
UPDATE: At Andrea's funeral, John Stone observes an altercation between Taylor and another man. The man asks Taylor what he's doing there, to which he responds "I'm part of the f**king family." The heated exchange continues just long enough to give viewers a sense of some shady dealings on Taylor's part: Stone manages to overhear "sign the papers and send the checks. Don't f**king call me anymore." His secret might not be that he's a murderer, but we can tell that whatever it is, it's juicy.
The Hearse Driver
The Night Of, Esau Pritchett
This one's pretty obvious, right? I mean, he seemed to put an awful lot of effort into scolding Andrea for smoking (and seemed more concerned about smoking's health effects on her than on her tossing a lit cigarette in the middle of a gas station, endangering everyone around her as well). After an ominous invitation ("You wanna be my next passenger?"), he continues to stare down both Naz and Andrea. Could he be on some sort of anti-smoking rampage? While it doesn't seem likely, it also doesn't seem like we've seen the last of him.
UPDATE: We started to get the feeling in this week's episode, "The Season of the Witch," as Detective Box traced Nasir's whereabouts throughout the night, that this limousine driver would become significant only because security footage could require him to become a witness. We wonder what his take on the events of that night will be...
Trevor Williams
The Night Of, JD Williams
The racist drug dealer doesn't actually seem like much of a murderer (yet), but we have a lot of questions about him. His initial hostile approach to Naz and Andrea seemed a little out of the blue, and he proved that he can't be trusted later on in the episode when he tells Detective Box that he had encountered the couple by himself. Why didn't he tell the cops about his creepy death stare friend? Speaking of...
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Creepy Death Stare Dude
The Night Of, Charlie Hudson III
He may not have had any lines, but he had arguably the most lasting impression of any of our suspects in the show's first episode. The look of pure hatred in his eyes was unsettling for almost every viewer. Could one of the reasons that Trevor lied to Detective Box be that Death Stare Dude is known to them? Perhaps he's a violent criminal of some sort who would look suspicious this close to a crime? Whatever is going on with him, we have a feeling we haven't seen the last of that terrifying glare.
UPDATE: Creepy Death Stare Dude officially has a name: Duane Reade, which is admittedly hilarious, but that information was given to us along with a bit of helpful information about the sketchy character that could be really crucial to the whole case. Reade has several warrants out for his arrest, for a variety of crimes including breaking and entering and felony assault. He's also known for his weapon of choice: a knife. Coincidence? We've long thought that the knife police found on Naz was not the murder weapon...could Duane Reade have the actual murder weapon? The only caveat with this theory is that Reade seemingly lacks a motive, but his back-room dealings in the bodega John Stone found him in could hint that he has connections to the drug ring Andrea was involved with.
The Motorcyclist
The Night Of, Riz Ahmed
As Naz frantically flees Andrea's apartment after discovering her dead body, he comes face-to-face with a motorcyclist who seems hell bent on staring him down. Was this just the show's way of making Naz realize he should hide his knife, thus pocketing it to be found later on by the police? Or was this hinting at another possible suspect: the motorcyclist himself. One eagle-eyed reddit user, saga_1994, realized that Andrea's license was shown to have a motorcycle tag on it. Could she have some connection to the biker eyeing Naz on a deserted street in the middle of the night?
The Neighbor
The Night Of, Steven Randazzo
How many New Yorkers actually pay attention to what's going on with their neighbors? Why was this man awake and at his front door at the exact moment Naz was making his escape? There's something off there, especially since he was afforded the opportunity to stare at Naz both in the back of the squad car and at the station without ever realizing a similarity between him and the man he saw breaking into Andrea's house. Many have been quick to note that he could have made a routine of watching Andrea, plotting for the chance to kill her -- and this was his moment. There's also been a bit of speculation about the back door to Andrea's apartment. After she lets the cat out back, she lets go of the door and we see that it doesn't shut all the way. Could someone have used this back entrance to commit the crime? Certainly. And wouldn't, perhaps, someone who lives in the vicinity be somewhat familiar with the building set up? Someone...LIKE A NEIGHBOR?!
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Maybe Naz Really Did It
The Night Of, Riz Ahmed
Let's just acknowledge how many TERRIBLE decisions Naz managed to make that night. He stole his father's cab. He decided to take Andrea as a fare. He stopped to get her a beer to drink in the backseat of the vehicle he was illegally operating. He took drugs from a girl he'd known for the duration of a cab ride. He drank alcohol (and good Muslim boys like Nasir don't do that). He played with knives. He snorted some more drugs. He stabbed a girl as some strange form of foreplay. Then he discovered a dead body, hauled ass, forgot his keys, went back, smashed the glass door to get back in before stealing the knife he'd used to stab her earlier to bring with him. Let's all just acknowledge how bad that sounds. It really doesn't look great for him at this point. Though he also told his lawyer that he'd been read his Miranda rights, viewers didn't actually see this transpire, and it's a little unclear as to which of the officers would have done so -- the officers who made the initial arrest? The ones who picked him up from the crime scene to drop him off at the precinct? Detective Box? What if Naz did do it (after all, in his drug-induced state, Andrea was able to convince him to stab her) and doesn't recall? What if he's able to get away with it because of errors made by the overworked cops (who were supposed to be off duty hours ago)?
UPDATE: We still want to believe that Naz is entirely innocent, but we learned in this week's shower scene that he actually has a lot of pent up rage in him -- could it have been unleashed while he was with Andrea? In both instances, he would have exploded in anger before falling asleep, seeming completely oblivious to (or, at least, at peace with) all that had just transpired.