HBO’s Watchmen is full of characters from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original comic. Jean Smart plays Laurie Juspeczyk — now going by the name Laurie Blake — who you might know better as the second Silk Spectre. Jeremy Irons appears as a character who’s clearly Adrian Veidt, and Dr. Manhattan can be seen roaming around on Mars. Rorschach is still dead, but his legacy lives on in the fascist Seventh Kavalry.
However, Watchmen’s fifth main character, Nite Owl, is nowhere to be seen. Some fans theorize that Don Johnson’s Chief Judd Crawford is actually the former Daniel Dreiberg, but the Peteypedia, HBO’s in-universe database that reveals things like what happened to Rorschach’s journal, claims that Nite Owl is elsewhere (and opens the door for a likely cameo).
Who is Nite Owl?
Daniel Dreiberg is actually the second person to adopt the Nite Owl identity. Hollis Mason, a former New York City police officer, used the name first. He began his superhero career in the ’30s and retired in 1962, and later published a tell-all memoir called Under the Hood.
Shortly after Mason hung up the cape and cowl, Dreiberg used his massive fortune and his engineering know-how to resurrect Night Owl. With Dreiberg at the helm, Nite Owl became a Batman-like superhero who relied on owl-themed gadgets to subdue criminals. Dreiberg teamed up with Rorschach on numerous occasions and joined the ill-fated Crimebusters alongside Silk Spectre II, Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and Veidt.
When Congress passed the Keene Act in 1977, making superheroes illegal, Dreiberg’s superhero career ended. His retirement didn’t last long. In the Watchmen comic, Rorschach asks Dreiberg to help hunt down The Comedian’s killer. Dreiberg suits up, and Nite Owl lives again. Over the course of Watchmen, Dreiberg starts a romantic relationship with Laurie, breaks Rorschach out of prison, and uncovers Veidt’s treachery, only to later agree to keep Veidt’s secret in the interest of world peace.
Where is Nite Owl in HBO’s Watchmen?
Nite Owl’s influence is all over HBO’s Watchmen. Hollis Mason’s book, Under the Hood, rests on Captain Crawford’s desk. If the flame-spewing aircraft that the Tulsa police use isn’t Dreiberg’s vehicle, Archie, it’s directly based on Dreiberg’s designs.
But where is Dreiberg himself? In prison, as it turns out. According to the Peteypedia article “Rorschach’s Journal,” authorities arrested Silk Spectre, now going by The Comedienne, and Nite Owl in 1995 for violating the Keene Act. While Laurie now works for the FBI, Dreiberg is still in prison.
Even after all this time, Dreiberg still refuses to cooperate with investigators. The truth about Rorschach? Veidt’s deadly secret? All still under wraps. However, given that Dreiberg is both alive and in federal custody, it seems likely that Laurie will pay her former lover a visit sometime before Watchmen‘s first nine episodes are up. Here’s hoping.