He might not be the main character on Shameless but Nick, played by Victor Onuigbo, has definitely captured both viewers’ hearts and fears. He has a chequered history and as a character is a bit of a rough diamond who most can relate to in many respects– after all, who has had a perfect past?
Still, it’s when Nick’s dysfunction is taken a step further that he really gets audiences’ attention. Do we like him, fear him, or shun him? He is a disturbing enigma in the Shameless series. Here are ten things fans might not know about Nick:
10 More than a gamble
The character of Nick is played by Victor Onuigbo who landed a stint in acting quite by chance. Reports say he went to Stanford University after school, before getting a job with Caesars Gaming Industry in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the pay was good in the world of gambling, Victor realized Las Vegas wasn’t really in his heart.
This was when his focus began to shift to his first love, acting. Soon after he auditioned for a role in Shameless, and the rest, you could say, is history...
9 Son of an addict
While Nick is a minor character in the actual Shameless series, he has a story which fully captures viewers’ attention. Viewers learn that he was the son of an abusive father who had a chronic addiction to drugs, among other personal weaknesses. Also, his life suffered as a result of all the drama going on in his life while he was growing up.
His father spent the family’s money and resources supporting his drug habit and Nick’s outlook on life and temperament have been negatively impacted on by his father’s sins.
8 A bike for crack
A turning point in Nick’s life came when his father took his prize bike and sold it for some crack to feed his growing addiction. This incident left Nick completely devastated and was a defining moment for him.
The narrative of Shameless suggests this was the beginning of a series of anger outbursts which would color Nick’s future - irrevocably. Fans can sympathize with the poor character, who really was kicked when he was down, as a kid. Who takes a bicycle from a poor kid? Apparently, Nick’s father does.
7 Onwards, to Juvenile Hall!
Fans of the Shameless series might immediately think of Juvenile Hall when they think of Nick. Let’s face it – he is dysfunctional, and quite frankly dangerous, which is why he is affiliated with the correctional facility. Still, not all viewers know the conditions under which he landed up in Juvenile Hall.
Apparently, the sore and bruised Nick lashed out so severely at his father, he had to be detained. It had a lot to do with the bike! This incident led to him being detained in Juvenile Hall.
6 Nick and Carl meet up
Nick and Carl become good friends. They have that hip hop/gangster vibe going on. While Juvenile Hall came as a curse into Nick’s life, if it wasn’t for Juvenile Hall, fans might never have met Nick and Nick might never have met Carl!
This was where the friendship between Carl and Nick grew. While correctional facility relationships aren’t always the best ones, or most proactive ones (with occupants learning deviant behavior from each other), for Nick, his friendship with Carl turned out to be a blessing and a turning point in his life.
5 A place to call 'home'
As it is will all delinquents who have done their time, so to speak, Carl doesn’t stay forever in Juvenile Hall. He is eventually released from Juvie, as they call Juvenile Hall, but doesn’t forget his friendship with Nick, or Nick’s predicament.
On Nick’s 18th birthday, he comes live with Carl at Gallagher House, himself having nowhere else to live. This gives him a place to call ‘home’ and a sense of family and belonging. The two continue to be friends.
4 Reaching for hope and restoration
It would appear that life is on the ‘up’ for Nick. A new home and a new friend and a sense of family and belonging give Nick – and his fans – something to smile about. As part of his healing process, he manages to get hold of a bike which reminds him of his childhood bike.
Definitely a move towards restoration. Carl later has his heart set on a girl called Dominique. Nick gives Carl the idea to buy a bike for Dominique, to win her affections.
3 The hammer accessory
The fact that Nick carries a hammer around like an accessory is cause for concern. He carries it ‘club’-style with him wherever he goes and this seems to fit within the whole gangster image, himself and Carl, and others pull off – which gives the series the edge which viewers so love.
At times, it would appear the hammer is an accident waiting to happen, and this accessory does eventually cost Nick. It should be noted, a person with a violent temper should not carry a hammer around.
2 Stolen bike mayhem
When Nick loses his new bike, he is devastated. The gangster in him wants revenge and he literally tracked down the child who may (or may not have) stolen it and kills him with a hammer.
This is the hammer he carries around like a club. This murderous side of Nick comes as no surprise to viewers who probably secretly knew this kind of thing was coming. Fans are still left shocked, however, and many hearts secretly mourn for the little boy who was set on such a dark path by his abusive, drug addict dad.
1 Of Mice and Men
Nick more than likely suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He is much like the character of Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men: gentle but highly disturbed, and not in control of his impulses.
Unfortunately, this lack of control – and the fact that he carries a hammer around with him everywhere – get the better of him and ends in tragedy… not just once, but with the violent assault of his own father, and the kid who may, or may not, have stolen his bike. His tragic character highlights the need for proper psychological intervention.