'I Am the Night' Fact vs. Fiction Premiere: The Story of Fauna Hodel Before TNT's New Series Airs

TNT will debut its newest noir thriller, the limited series I Am the Night, on Monday. The show, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Chris Pine, is inspired by the infamous Black Dahlia murder, but more particularly the story of a young girl named Fauna Hodel, whose mysterious origin may be linked to actor Elizabeth Short's murderer.

The trailer for the six-part miniseries reveals a young Fauna, played by India Eisley, on a quest to find the truth about her parentage. She teams up with Pine's character, ruined journalist Jay Singletary, and the duo make a shocking discovery that leads them to notorious Los Angeles gynecologist Dr. George Hodel.

Although the series is fictionalized, many of the people and events that occur during the series are, in fact, based on truth. Jenkins met with the real Hodel before her 2017 death and was compelled to bring her story to the small screen. "In my entire life, I had never heard a story like this," Jenkins said in a recent interview with CBS This Morning.

"The real story is this woman's identity. She was hidden away for a very specific reason. Once you started to unfold what her identity was, it led to a mountain of very dark secrets that no one could find out," Jenkins continued.

So what is fictional about I Am the Night? Read on for a breakdown of some of the facts and fiction of the new TNT series before it airs on Monday night at 9 p.m. ET.


Fauna Hodel did indeed exist, and so did her biological father, who is also her grandfather, George Hodel. As depicted in I Am the Night, Fauna didn't grow up knowing her real parents. Her biological mother, Tamar Hodel—George Hodel's daughter—gave Fauna away to a black woman named Jimmie Lee, played by Golden Brooks in the miniseries. Fauna was raised in an impoverished and predominately black neighborhood and suffered immense abuse from her alcoholic of an adopted mother. As she grew into adulthood, Fauna went on a journey to find her real mother. She detailed the experience and the unsettling secrets she learned about her biological family in her 2008 memoir, One Day She'll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel, which was used as source material for the TNT show.


Pine's character, a disgruntled investigative journalist plagued by the unsolved crime that essentially ruined his career, is not actually a part of Fauna's real story. In the show, Jay is a manic reporter whose persistent reporting on George's scandalous incest case—the rape of his daughter and Fauna's mother, Tamar—leads his career to the gutter. When the prominent gynecologist beats the case, Jay unravels. That is until he meets Fauna, which sparks the journalist to start digging up dirt on George again. Although fictional, Pine's character may have been inspired by LAPD officer Steve Hodel—George's son and Fauna's brother—who long suspected his father to be behind the Black Dahlia murder and the deaths of several other women.