Chris Pine from Wonder Woman to tabloid reporter in I Am the Night


Do you love true crime stories? If so, TNT’s I Am The Night, starring Chris Pine, is definitely for you! P.S. Mild spoilers ahead so read after you watch!

TNT has come a long way from its days of Law and Order: SVU marathons and 3 a.m. episodes of NCIS. While those still occur, (and I definitely watch the SVU marathons whenever they’re on), the network has stepped up their game in recent years, particularly in regards to limited series, most recently with The Alienist which was nominated for several Emmys and Golden Globes. It’s safe to say that I Am The Night , starring Chris Pine, will increase TNT’s  viewership with its gripping true-crime narrative.

Chris Pine from Captain Kirk to Tabloid Reporter

 I Am The Night  starts in Sparks, Nevada, a nearby offshoot of Reno. We meet Pat (India Eisley, Underworld Awakening) and her mother Jimmy Lee (Golden Brooks, Girlfriends). Pat and her mother are African-American but because Pat is bi-racial, she is able to “pass” as white. However, this is something she has a hard time understanding due to her age.

Her mother tries to tell her how important it is that she is able to pass for white, due to it being the 1960’s and things being such as they were, which, let’s be frank, were racist. Pat’s mother is also an alcoholic, which makes her life all the more difficult.

She doesn’t know who her real father is and she has to work at a hospital to help her mother make ends meet. There is one bright spot in her world. She’s in love with a boy and wants to drop out of school to marry him.

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Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, we meet down and out tabloid reporter, Jay Singletary, played by Chris Pine in a bravura performance. Singletary is about as close to a Hunter S. Thompson type that you can get to on network TV, and it’s really entertaining to watch. There is a point, where Singletary, desperate to get a story, hides in one of the body drawers in the morgue when the cops come in, only to burst out laughing and get beat up.

We are led to believe that in the past, Singletary was a more respectable photojournalist, and wasn’t just chasing ambulances to get a few bucks here and there. Apparently a story he worked on in his youth really did a number on him. We aren’t told in this episode what that story is, but from various trailers, we are led to believe that it is most likely the Black Dahlia murder.

How do these two extremely disparate lives converge? We only get a taste of why that might be in the first episode. Apparently, all of Pat’s life, she was led to believe that her mother got pregnant by a white man who left them. While going through her mother’s papers one night while she is passed out drunk, Pat finds the birth certificate of one Fauna Hodel. She has no idea who this is, and then confronts her mother about it.

It turns out that Pat or Fauna’s birth mother was very young and gave Fauna to Jimmy Lee to raise for a lump sum of money. Jimmy Lee wasn’t prepared for this, because the grandfather, who she met at a bar she was working at, asked her about it while drinking. She didn’t think it was a serious thing, but it was. Jimmy Lee spent the rest of her life resenting Fauna/Pat for this. She tells Fauna that her grandfather is very rich and one day, she will be too.

Chris Pine – I Am the Night (2) – Courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez-Getty Images

Fauna finds her grandfather’s phone number and calls him up. He says that she should come out to Los Angeles to visit him and she says she will. A couple of days later, after a very big fight with Jimmy Lee, she starts out on the road, so that she may discover what her roots are.

Little does she know that her grandfather is probably not as benign as he seems. Though we only catch a couple of glimpses at him in this episode, there are several allusions to the fact that he is a bad man.

Going back to SVU, Jefferson Mays, who plays George Hodel in I Am The Night, had an excellent role as a crossdressing murderous medical examiner in a series of episodes a few years ago and he was delightfully creepy. I can’t wait to see how evil his portrayal of Dr. Hodel will be in coming episodes.

To further fuel the thought that Hodel is villainous, Jimmy Lee calls Jay Singletary and tells him  “that doctor” is up to no good again. So I’m assuming in the next episode, Fauna and Jay will meet, but maybe not. Either way, the suspense of the first episode definitely leads you into wanting to see the next.

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Join me next week for my recap of episode 2. I’m hoping for more Chris Pine wacky hi-jinks and hopefully we’ll meet Connie Neilsen’s character of Corinna Hodel. I’m wondering whether or not she will be Fauna’s birth mother or George’s current wife. We shall see next week!

Are you a Chris Pine fan? Did you like his performance? Let us know in the section below.