OK, so I haven’t had HBO for awhile now, but I recently heard rave review about their new show ‘The Night Of’, so when HBO had a free preview this weekend, I watched the pilot episode.

Then I watched it again. And a third time, trying to pick up on things I may have missed before. I wanted answers I couldn’t have because, well, there are 7 episodes to go in the mini-series.

[Note: Episode 2 played on Sunday night, but that one won’t require more than one viewing. So much happened in the first episode to lay the foundation for the rest of the crime mystery drama.

If you haven’t seen the show yet, you should probably stop reading here and come back after you’ve watched episode 1 so I don’t spoil it for you. It’s the best, most-gripping pilot episode I’ve seen in years, and I’ve seen a lot of them. You’ll be sad when it’s over.

It’s a great show to watch in a group — especially episode one — because you’ll be having a lengthy discussion afterward trying to figure out what the hell just happened.


OVERVIEW

We first meet the main character, Naz Khan, in the basketball locker room at an unidentified school trying to get one of the players he tutors to take his book home for the weekend. His friend is doing laundry and appears to be the team’s equipment manager.

After two of the players leave the locker room, one returns and asks Naz and his friend if they want to party with them tonight and gives them the address, promising there will be a lot of females. It’s immediately clear that Naz hasn’t been invited to many parties. The type of school is not revealed in episode one, but we learn in episode two that Naz is 23 years old, so one would presume it’s a university.

When Naz’s friend bails on the party later that Friday night, Naz is left with two undesirable choices: Stay home and skip it, or take his father’s taxi — something he’s never done before. Naz sees this as an important opportunity for his social life, so he gets in the taxi and heads to Manhattan, practicing lines to say to girls on the way.

Naz doesn’t know his way around New York City and also has no idea how to turn the “off duty” light on, so people begin flagging him down for a ride. When he stops for a second to try to figure out how to turn on the light, two men get in the taxi and refuse to get out. A police officer then pulls up, forces them out. Naz asks for directions, they question him about being a taxi driver and not knowing. Before he can leave, a mysterious young woman gets in the car.

He bails on the party and spends the night with her, drinking and taking drugs, both things Naz has never done before. He and the young woman have sex at here upscale apartment. Naz wakes up in the kitchen with no memory of what happened and discovers the girls body has been carved up by a knife. She’s dead, Naz panics, and runs. He’s later pulled over for an illegal left turn, and then arrested for the girl’s murder when police find a bloody knife believed to be the murder weapon inside his jacket.

Did Naz really kill her? And if not, who did? Here are the best theories you will find on the internet.

THEORIES

1. NAZ: We’ll begin with this one since he’s the most obvious suspect. We spend the entire episode with Naz. and it’s hard to believe he could be capable of such a crime. He’s such a nice, innocent kid who just wanted to have a night out and find a girl. But Naz wasn’t used to drinking and taking drugs, and he and the girl and played with a knife before going upstairs to have sex. The girl stabbed in between her fingers first, then persuaded Naz to do the same. Then she flips her palm up, hands him the knife, and tells him to do it again. He again refuses, but she moves her lips closer to his face and repeatedly says “Yes” in a seductive voice. Naz stabs her in the middle of her hand, she begins to bleed, and then immediately starts kissing Naz. It’s unclear whether she wanted Naz to stab between her fingers again or in the hand, but it certainly seems like she wanted to feel the pain and to bleed.

The knife was still on the table in the morning, but is it possible they continued the knife play in the bedroom and Naz got carried away in his altered state of mind? Maybe, but I highly doubt it.

CHANCES HE DID IT: 5%


2. THE NEIGHBOR: Naz is eventually done in
by a neighbor who lived across the street from the girl. He hears Naz break the glass to get into the locked door when hIMG_3112e goes back in to get the knife. I first wondered whether it could be him when I saw how quickly he got to the window after Naz broke the glass. The light was already on in his place at 2 a.m., and he pulled opened the shades almost immediately when the noise was made. Could he have been waiting by the window to see if anybody returned to the home to discover his crime?

The other clue that it could be him is we can see what appears to be his window from the window in Andrea’s bedroom. The light is on.IMG_3100

He also seems a little too interested in what happened. When police first open the front door of the apartment, the neighbor inches down the sideline toward the stairs to try to sneak a peak inside. An officer tells him to back up. He then sits in the police station all night, looking fairly worried and suspicious from time to time.

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Neighbor inches toward the steps

 

Neighbor talking to passerbys about incident
Neighbor talking to passerbys about incident

If you notice in the image above, there’s also a man in dark clothing to the far right of the shot that looks suspicious. He’s listening in without getting close enough to be noticed, and almost everything about him matches Naz (clothing, skin and hair color).

CHANCE HE DID IT: 8%


3. THE HEARSE DRIVER: This is one of the characters we meet just briefly in the first episode, but his actions make hiIMG_3068m an interesting suspect. Naz and the girl (I keep calling her that because we don’t know her name yet) see the hearse driver when they stop at a gas  station to get drinks.

The girl throws her cigarette out the window and it lands near the
feet of the hearse driver. He picks it up, walks over, knocks on her window, and asks if she wants to be his next passenger (his passengers are dead bodies in coffins). She shrugs him off, and he returns to the front of the hearse.

When Naz comes outside, the hearse driver stares directly at him for almost 2 straight minutes. He was at a gas station, yet was nowhere near the gas tank. The look suggested he
knew something about Naz, or perhaps had a problem because of his ethnicity. The ways different ethnicities view one another is a major theme in this show. Is it possible the hearse driver followed them back after and committed the crime when they fell asleep? When the girl let the cat out when Naz said he was allergic, IMG_3067the back gate didn’t close, giving an intruder an easy entry and exit point.

The other thing is this: You can never see the driver when we see the surveillance videos from inside the store. The top image is just before the driver goes to the cab to confront the girl, and the second is right after he left. You can vaguely see his outline in the second one, but he’s out of view and unrecognizable. Could this be significant? I don’t know, but they intentionally showed the store security cameras three different times.

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CHANCE HE DID IT: 9%


4. THE OTHER BLACK GUY WHO ANGRILY STARES NAZ DOWN: Yeah, I know, that’s not a real great headline, but I don’t know how else to describe him. We only see him for a short segment, but he also appeared to have something against Naz, either because of his ethnicity or because he knew something about him. The man never said a word, but his friend made a racist comment about Naz as he and the girl walked by to enter her apartment. “Look, Mustafa must have left his bombs at home and IMG_3070gonna get him some.”

Naz takes exception, turns around, and confronts the two men. The friend tells Naz exactly what he said, the girl tells them to F off, and they go their separate ways. But the other black man stood staring into Naz’s eyes before they walked off. The friend later returns to the crime scene around 4 a.m. and seems way to eager to learn what happened, asking “That’s where that girl lives, right?” and “What happened, did he kill her or something?”

He later gets questioned by the detective on the case and is taken to the police station for further questioning. He didn’t want to go, but the detective asked, ‘If I turn you upside down, how much weed is gonna fall out?’ The black man seems to reference earlier cases where police also did wrong by African Americans who were trying to help.

Is it possible the friend returned to the scene on his friend’s behalf to learn about the investigation and what the police have, perhaps in an attempt to lead them toward Naz? It seemed strange that he was walking back past the house that late.  Perhaps he was also a participant in the crime with his friend. When the detective asked him if he knew the girl, he said, “Not per se, you know what I’m sayin? I know her type.”

We don’t get any more than that, but thoughts that immediately jumped to my head were perhaps the girl was a drug dealer or involved in prostitution. Or maybe he simply was implying that she slept around. Hard to know. But we do know the girl was big into drugs and had tons of prescription bottles in her room when police swept her residence. Her step father says in episode two that she’s been in trouble many times before for drugs.

CHANCES HE DID IT: 10%


5. A CURRENT OR EX LOVER: It took me three watches to notice it,
but it appeared there were fresh roses in a vase and some framed photos right next to the girl’s bed. Was she in a relationship? Was an ex lover trying to make amends and get back in her life, but failed?

We find out in episode two, according to her stIMG_3099epfather, that she had lots of boyfriends. That’s a lot of potential suspects who would have known the landscape of the residence.

The other possibility with this theory is that she was living with a boyfriend and intentionally brought Naz home so the boyfriend would come home and kill her. When she first got in the cab, she seemed suicidal, and she was running from something. Was she fearful of someone? She asked Naz to take her to the beach, and settles for a lake. Would she have committed suicide there if she and Naz didn’t connect like they did?

While they’re sitting by the water, she asks Naz: “Do you ever wish you could just transport yourself? Something bad happens over here and you just end up over there.” Then she says, “I can’t be alone tonight,” and Naz pops the pill he gives her.

So clearly “something bad” happened and she wanted to disappear. She was running from something, but when she decides not to commit suicide, she still knows she shouldn’t be alone for the night. Is that because she feels in danger of someone else, or because she fears she’ll kill herself?

She also could have manipulated Naz in his compromised state and convinced him to kill her. But why by stabbing? And why that many times?

CHANCES A CURRENT OR EX LOVER DID IT: 15%


6. HER DRUG DEALER OR PIMP: We don’t know for certain that she was involved in prostitution, but we do know she used nearly
every kind of drug imaginable. And while she lives in an upperscale neighborhood, we learn that the house is in the name of her stepfather and deceased mother, though they don’t live there. There’s no evidence that she has a job, so what if she ran out of money and couldn’t pay the money she owed her drug dealer? Could they have been chasing her when she got in the cab and that’s who she was trying to get away from? If so, why would she return to her home? Did she view it as one more fun night before dying?

CHANCES HE DID IT: 8%

 

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Notice the two suspicious looking hooded people to the right of this picture from the crime scene?

7. ONE OF THE OTHER TWO CAB OWNERS: I haven’t seen this theory anywhere else, but I think it should be at least considered. Naz tells the girl that his father owns the cab with two others guys. Could there have been something we don’t know about the cab, perhaps something valuable or illegal in it?

The only reason I bring this theory up is because of the way Naz’s father stood in the middle of the street staring in disbelief at his missing cab. He could have just been shocked that his son took his cab and was now facing murder charges, but he stared at the cab in a way that made me wonder if the cab was related to what ended up happening. Is there a reason the girl chose that cab? Did the number mean something to her?

Long shot, but can’t rule it out.

CHANCES ONE OF THEM DID IT: 3%


8. SOMEONE CONNECTED TO HER PARENTS: We learn from the stepfather in episode two that both of Andrea’s parents are dead. Her father passed when she was young, and her mother passed fairly recently. We don’t know anything else about them, except that they apparently had a lot of money — unless the stepdad was the one with the money. But if that was the case, why would he give the expensive house to Andrea?

So the question is, what did her parents do for work? How did they make their money? How did they die? Were they involved in something illegal or dangerous that could have also gotten Andrea killed? Did the stepfather move out of the house because Andrea used it for business?

A lot of unanswered questions, but perhaps the people responsible for her parents’ deaths came for her too. Then again, we don’t even know how her parents died.

CHANCES THEY DID IT: 7%


9. GUY ON THE MOTORCYCLE: I put this one so low because there’s a chance the guy on the motorcycle was one of the characters I’ve already listed. Could it have been the angry black man from outside the apartment before?

IMG_3127Either way, the motorcycle pulled up next to Naz and stared into his window shortly after he left the crime scene. Could he have still

been there too and left at the same time to follow Naz? He sped off and Naz made an illegal left turn, but could the motorcyclist have been planning to kill Naz too? Seems highly unlikely considering he could have just done it at the residence.

The street view just before the motorcycle pulls up.
The street view just before the motorcycle pulls up.

But if you notice, the distraction of the motorcyclist staring at him caused Naz to make two critical mistakes. First, it led him to take the knife off the dashboard (no idea why it was there to begin with) and put it in his jacket, which ultimately pins him to the crime. He was about to go home otherwise. Second, the distraction kept Naz from seeing the No Left Turn sign, which got him pulled over seconds later.

 

CHANCES HE DID IT: 10%


 

Andrea's hand after Naz stabs it
Andrea’s hand after Naz stabs it

10. SHE’S NOT DEAD … NAZ WAS SET UP: This is my favorite theory, so I save it until last. I’m convinced Andrea may have been in on this. Why? Let’s start with the fact that she encouraged and then convinced Naz to to take shots and take drugs, something he never does. Then she repeatedly begged him to stab her in the hand, which would have tied Naz to the crime if he left right then. His fingerprints were already on the knife, and he’d already stabbed her. Her blood was all over him.

Then, as they walked up stairs to have sex, she intentionally put her bloody hand on the bottom post holding up the railing. WIMG_3085hy is this significant? Because it appears a crime had already been committed downstairs and suggests Naz was forcing Andrea upstairs to rape her. His fluids were obviously inside her because the two did have sex, and his inhaler was still in her bed.

[Note: If you notice, when Naz comes down the stairs when he wakes up, he touches the same spot at the bottom of the stairs that Andrea did with her bloody hand.]

 

The table the night before
The table the night before

The other major reason why I think she was in on it: She never told Naz his name, even though he asked. She quickly changed the subject and asked him if he often heard racist comments like the one from the guy outside. Since he never knows her name, the ID could say anything she wanted. Maybe she had a twin sister. Maybe just somebody who looked like her. Could the hearse driver have been involved, waiting at the gas station Andrea requested they stop at so he could follow them and provide a corpse they could pose as her dead body?

Last clue: If you notice when Naz wakes up in the morning and collects the knife from the table, Andrea’s shot glass is full and Naz’s is empty. Could she have slipped something in the last shot, or did she know that one extra would push him over?

 

A look at the table when Naz wakes up
A look at the table when Naz wakes up

The obvious question here is: Why would she do it? Could the lover who left the roses in the bedroom have taken out a large life insurance policy on her so the two of them could collect on it later? Is it possible her parents disappeared under similar circumstances? Or does she simply want to fake her death so she can evade whoever it is that is chasing her?

I don’t know all the details, but I just have a feeling that Andrea could have been involved in this. Perhaps she intentionally left the back gate open for that reason.

Andrea's shot glass is still full
Andrea’s shot glass is still full

CHANCES SHE FAKED IT: 15%


11. THE STEPFATHER OR SOMEONE ELSE: Might as well consider the stepfather a suspect, even though it seems unlikely. His motive could have been getting the house back and not having to deal with Andrea anymore. Or it could be someone I haven’t thought of or someone we’ve yet to meet.

What do you think? Like my theories? Have your own? Share!

CHANCES THEY DID IT: 10%