I Am the Night is directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, 2017) and created by her husband, Sam Sheridan. The limited series stars Chris Pine (Wonder Woman, 2017), India Eisley (My Sweet Audrina), and Jefferson Mays (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). It is set to officially premiere on TNT tonight (Jan 28th).
The six-part limited series unfolds in the mid-1960s. Fauna Hodel, also known as Pat, is a teenage girl who was raised outside of Reno, Nevada, by an African-American woman. She always believed she was of mixed race until she discovered evidence that she was in fact, adopted. In light of this news, she decides to travel to Los Angeles in pursuit of explanations about her lineage and to find out who her biological family is.
Jenkins recently recalled her sit-down with Fauna Hodel in The Hollywood Reporter where she included what she dubbed the “most stunning story I’ve ever heard in my life”. “I’ve never met anybody who told me a story like this,” said Jenkins. “And it was told by such a beautiful and wonderful spirit. The combination of those two things ignited me and I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time”.
You can check out the trailer below.
I Am the Night not only tells the story of Fauna Hodel, but it revisits the notorious “Black Dahlia” case in a new light. If you aren’t familiar, “Black Dahlia” is a nickname for 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, a woman who was brutally murdered in Los Angeles in 1947- her body cut in half and severely mutilated. Her killer was never found, making her murder one of the oldest cold case files in L.A. to date, and perhaps the city’s most infamous.
Her body was discovered, nude and posed, the morning of January 15, 1947, in a vacant lot near Leimert Park in Los Angeles by a mother taking her child for a walk. Short’s body was discovered just a few feet from the sidewalk. In addition to dissecting and mutilating her body, her corpse had been drained of blood and scrubbed clean, a clear indicator that she had been killed elsewhere. The identification of the young woman wasn’t brought to light until the FBI was asked to step in. They were able to get fingerprints, rather blurred, with a primitive fax machine used by news services called “Soundphoto“. Her fingerprints were on file due to previously applying for a job as a clerk at the commissary of the Army’s Camp Cooke in California and also because she had been arrested by the Santa Barbara police for underage drinking. Her mugshot was on file as well, which was provided to the press.
Below is a Los Angeles Police Department flyer on Elizabeth Short from January 21, 1947.
In early 2013, the case returned to the headlines in an article in the “San Bernardino Sun” which detailed a more recent investigation of the case that was conducted by retired police sergeant Paul Dostie and author Steve Hodel. According to the Sun, the investigative team uncovered incriminating evidence against Hodel’s father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, who Steve (Hodel) had long believed to be the “Black Dahlia” killer.
An extensive search was conducted in February 2013 of the doctor’s home, where the police dog at the time had previously detected the scent of human decomposition in several areas of the basement, according to reports. Following their search, soil samples taken from Dr. Hodel’s home were reportedly submitted for lab testing.
This is where “The Black Dahlia” case connects with I Am the Night. In the preview after the SAG awards, *spoiler alert*, Fauna’s search leads her to her grandfather, Dr. George Hodel, who has been connected to the grisly 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short by his son, Steve Hodel, in the book Black Dahlia Avenger. Fauna’s story also parallels with a plot involving a reporter, Jay Singletary (Pine), whose career was undone in part by his reporting about Hodel and the infamous case.