By Tessa Osteen
“I am the night” tells the story of teenager Fauna Hodel’s search to find her birth mother after her adopted mother reveals she was given up as an infant in the early 1950s. The television series, directed by Patty Jenkins, has brought this true story to life with help from Chris Pine, who plays a reporter working with Fauna, played by India Eisley. They both work to unlock secrets regarding to Fauna’s real mom and her infamous grandfather George Hodel played by Jefferson Mays, a man who’s the suspected murderer of Los Angeles’s darkest crime.
Listed as “mixed race” on her birth certificate, Fauna and kids she went to school with, always questioned her race because of her fair skin and blue eyes. One of George Hodel’s daughters Tamar Hodel, also known as Fauna’s birth mother, became pregnant when supposedly raped by a neighborhood boy while living in San Francisco. She was shipped to a juvenile detention center for apparently “lying” about her father’s actions and reluctantly gave the baby up for its own safety. Tamar listed the child as mixed race according to Fauna Hodel’s website to, “ensure that the child would never return to her emotionally reclusive white family.” After Fauna was adopted, they moved away from California to Sparks Nevada where none of Tamar’s family could reach her. After finding out she had a different mother, Fauna travels to Los Angeles to find her birth mother and Grandfather. Without her realizing she’s suddenly thrown into a world of fame and murder in 1960’s Los Angeles. The story has been in production since 2017 and with help from Fauna Hodel herself, Patty Jenkins and writer Sam Sheridan, were able to bring this mysterious story to the screen.
Along with this horrendous story, it also tells about the true crime murder of The Black Dahlia. On January 15, 1947 Elizabeth Short was found by a mother and her child in a empty lot by a residential neighborhood. First thinking Elizabeth was a mannequin, she was alarmed when she found out it was something much worse. The killing of this aspiring actress garnered national press and reporters soon named her The Black Dahlia because of her black hair and clothing. Since her body was cut in half with knowledge of surgical skills, police then were lead to Hollywood doctor George Hodel. Known by his elite Hollywood circle as a “genius” by the likes of director Orson Welles or eccentric artist Salvador Dali, Hodel threw parties and get togethers in his art deco mansion. Some say this crazy lifestyle was a cover up to hide a darker private life. Even after investigating Hodel for many years, LAPD still didn’t have significant evidence to point to George Hodel’s involvement. The Black Dahlia case is still unsolved to this day without any leads to this decade old murder.
Before Tamar gave up her daughter, she accused George Hodel of molesting her. With these accusations George was brought to court but she didn’t get the justice she desperately seeked. After all the tragedies she’s faced in her life, she eventually moved away to Hawaii with her three sons and was in hospice care at the age of eighty years old in 2015 when she passed away. With only three episodes out so far showrunner, director and producer, Patty Jenkins, made it a point not to rush into the story, but rather to pan it out so it could spread out over a whole season’s worth of episodes. Not much of the story has been told yet, but what’s to come is something I don’t think many first time viewers of the story are ready for. The devastating story about murder, the cost of fame, and the creepy hedonistic side of Los Angeles is brought out through this series and shining a morbid light on the horrible things George Hodel committed while on this earth.