‘I Am the Night’: Why You Should Be Watching TNT’s Midcentury Noir Thriller

I Am The Night
Clay Enos/Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.

Evil and innocence do battle in tonight’s finale of I Am the Night, the midcentury noir thriller that compellingly mixes true events with fiction, as teenage Fauna Hodel (India Eisley) matches wits with her twisted grandfather, George (Jefferson Mays).

Last week, Fauna’s reporter friend Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) uncovered two horrifying possibilities: George, a respected Los Angeles doctor, might be not only Fauna’s biological father due to incest, but also the Black Dahlia killer himself.

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Just as Night has settled in my brain, that real-life murder has haunted me ever since I learned of the gruesome unsolved 1947 slaying of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, known posthumously as the Black Dahlia. I was in my twenties, fresh off the bus in Tinseltown, journalism clips in hand.

More than 50 years had passed since her mutilated body was found in a vacant lot, but the tale still made every young, single, risk-taking woman in town shudder. With our incautious lives, a similar fate seemed one misadventure away.

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Night, based on the life of Fauna Hodel (One Day She’ll Darken is her 2008 autobiography), also looks at the crime through the eyes of a young woman — one who is manhandled, abused, a victim of society’s low expectations. As the show wraps against the backdrop of L.A.’s 1965 unrest, with scenes shot in the fortresslike former home of the actual Dr. George Hodel, I expect to be terrified, but I am also rooting for this brave, wide-eyed girl to triumph.

I want Fauna to find her voice and live her life, things that tragically eluded Elizabeth Short.

I Am the Night, Series Finale, Monday, March 4, 9/8c, TNT