In the most recent episode of Truth Be Told, former police officer Markus Knox, played by Mekhi Phifer, accompanies Poppy on a ride along to revisit old sources on her quest to re-investigate a twenty-year-old murder. The addition of Knox’s character is another example of how the AppleTV+ series is deviating from its source material, the New York Times best-selling crime novel Are You Sleeping? by Kathleen Barber. While the book tracks closely the daughter of the murder victim, the show attempts to move the story’s center of gravity closer to journalist turned podcaster Poppy, played by Octavia Spencer, in part by introducing new cast members to deepen her world.
In the Dec. 13 episode, Knox functions as a sounding board for Poppy as she reruns the facts of the case, but also someone with know-how you can only acquire from the inside. “You need to slow it down,” he tells her, fearing that in her passion to know the truth she’s running too fast in a dangerous direction — in this case, a rush to implicate another officer in the murder. When she can’t find a witness, he uses his connections to locate her. But it’s on their ride-along that we start to learn about Knox as more than a former cop and former flame for Poppy. We learn about his ambitious teenage daughter, his fraught relationship with his daughter’s mother. At the end of episode, we see him interact with Poppy as a friend, not just a consultant.
It’s the third time that Phifer and Spencer have appeared together, sharing the screen in the 2011 comedy Flypaper and the Divergent series. But, as Phifer recently told BET, Truth Be Told is different. "This is my first time being able to work as intimately as I did with Octavia. This gave us a chance to really get to know each other, and get to make things more complex, because the complexity's what's interesting. It's what keeps the story driven, and keeps you intrigued, until you can't wait until the next episode."
At the end of this week's episode, we see Poppy and Knox getting closer, and not just professionally. Along with finally agreeing with Poppy on a new suspect for the case, Knox offers up useful personal advice, which Poppy heeds when she visits her family at the end of the episode, marking Knox's transition as a character from a colleague to a friend.