Perhaps the best thing about HBO’s crime series “The Night Of” is that, until this point, the show has been driven by the main characters, not the crime. At the halfway point of its debut season (episode 5 of 8 airs August 7), the show is still all about the Emmy-worthy performances of John Turturro (as bottom-feeding lawyer John Stone), Riz Ahmed (as suspected murderer Nasir Khan) and Bill Camp as Dennis Box (the tunnel-vision detective working the case).
If you’re like most fans of the show, you’re so in love with those three characters that you’d watch them sit in a room and play Parcheesi for the rest of the season. But what “The Night Of” has barely done is focus on the twists and turns we all know are coming. If Naz didn’t kill Andrea Cornish, who did?
So far, we’ve been given very little to go on. So instead, let’s go out on a limb and focus on 5 below-the-radar regulars who on the surface appear to be simple supporting characters — but in the next four episodes, could be revealed as much more.
Played by JD Williams, Trevor had a confrontation with Nasir as he was walking Andrea up to their ill-fated rendezvous in her apartment. Later, he fingered Naz as the murderer.
On the surface, Trevor seems to be the red herring of the show. Assuming Naz didn’t do it, who better to suspect than the racist guy who later lied to the cops by saying he was alone and not with a friend? Trevor seems to be hanging out on the outer periphery of the story, but you could easily imagine him getting sucked back into this mystery.
Tariq and Yusuf
The business partner’s of Naz’s dad Salim, these two guys seems sketchier than a police artist’s notepad. Rather than helping Salim in his time of need, they are obsessed with getting their murder-scene taxi cab back and making more money.
It seems plausible that these two would conspire to frame Naz and bankrupt his father, forcing him to sell his stake. Of course, such a scenario seems like a lot of work over a small financial gain — but in the real world, people have been murdered for less.
The Hearse Driver
Go back to that first episode, and this unnamed gas station patron was so suspicious that he might as well have had the word “murderer” written across his forehead. He stared down Naz, had an ominous conversation with Andrea — and of course, what’s creepier than the dude’s job? Like most people on this list, his motive seems questionable at best — then again, a dead body is good for business.
Played by the excellent Paul Sparks (quasi-reuniting here with his equally excellent “Boardwalk Empire” co-star Michael K. Williams), Don is Andrea’s stepfather and had clearly grown tired of the wild child’s antics.
From the beginning, he’s been very cold and methodical about identifying Andrea’s body and helping Box, and at every opportunity he’s eager to tear down her memory (with details on her drug abuse and promiscuity) rather than beautify it like you would expect from a family member. You’d be smart to keep your eye on this character, not only because he has motive and opportunity, but also because Sparks is too big an actor at this point to take on an inconsequential role.
John Stone’s podiatrist
Okay, we’re kidding about this last suspect. But seriously, if anybody really had to spend this much time examining Stone’s funky feet, it probably would drive them to murder.