'The Night Of' Murder Victim Is Mysterious

by Caitlin Flynn

After watching the gripping, brilliantly-crafted premiere of HBO's miniseries The Night Of , I have countless questions and the only thing I know for sure is that many subreddits are probably cropping up as we speak — because we've been given one heck of a whodunnit murder mystery. Naz, a Pakistani-American college student from Queens, is the quiet type who doesn't get out much. When he makes the out-of-character decision to borrow his dad's taxi cab in order to attend a party in Manhattan, a chance meeting with a troubled young woman goes murderously wrong. By the time the episode ends, Naz is behind bars and he looks guilty to everyone except the audience — but did Naz kill Andrea on The Night Of?

For viewers, his innocence seems so apparent that perhaps the biggest curveball showrunners could throw us is the revelation that Naz is the true killer — but it's highly doubtful that will happen. When Andrea first gets into his cab in downtown Manhattan, her demeanor is calm and collected but it's clear that something's off. She asks to go uptown "far" and tells Naz that she "can't be alone tonight." These definitely seem like indicators that Andrea is afraid of someone, but she still feels safe enough to sit in the car by herself while Naz goes into a convenience store to get her a drink.

When Naz and Andrea end up at her Upper West Side apartment, it's apparent that he's out of his element — he's impressed by her place and struggles to keep up as they take shots and snort lines. And, in a particularly ominous moment, Naz is hesitant when Andrea pressures him to play a game that involves throwing a knife between their fingers.

If Naz did kill Andrea, he definitely has no recollection of it. He wakes up in her kitchen and walks towards her bedroom as he says that it's late and he needs to get home — but he makes the grisly discovery of her dead body, covered in stab wounds. Although one could argue that he's unaccustomed to using drugs and a bad reaction caused him to snap, the biggest giveaway that Naz is innocent is the fact that there's no blood on his own body or clothing when he wakes up. Given the gruesome nature of Andrea's murder, the killer surely had blood spatter on his or her clothes after committing the act. It certainly seems suspicious that Naz didn't wake up when a woman was brutally murdered in the next room — but it definitely doesn't mean he's the killer.

Of course, to the police, Naz couldn't possibly look more guilty — he failed to report the crime and eyewitness testimony places him at Andrea's apartment. His naiveté is evident when he asks police, "is she dead?" before they clarify that the murder victim is a woman. And, as he is questioned, it's clear that Naz is once again out of his element as he weakly repeats that he doesn't remember what happened that night and adds that, "I really liked [Andrea]" because she was "nice."

So, who did kill Andrea? Viewers barely got to know her before her demise, but it was established that she was a troubled young woman who, for some reason, was afraid to spend the night alone. Getting to know her backstory and her secrets will be key to finding out who really did murder Andrea — it seems as though the killer was someone she knew and they probably entered directly through her bedroom window, which indicates they've spent time at her apartment in the past. At this point, the motive remains unclear and no other suspects have emerged — but they certainly will as the series progresses.

Although Andrea is the focus of the series, we'll never really get to know her. We'll learn about her secrets as detectives comb through the clues she left behind. Friends and family members will undoubtedly be questioned at length and, as a result, viewers will get to know her through the eyes of others — but that's not truly getting to know her. By the series finale, the killer and their motive will be revealed. But Andrea herself will remain a mystery in many ways because, like anyone, she probably took a great deal of secrets to the grave. It's a grim reminder that, when a life is tragically cut short, we often realize that there's so much we don't know about the people closest to us.

Images: HBO (3)