I Am The Night: Suspense unfolds in Phenomenon of Interference (Recap)


Patty Jenkins directs “Phenomenon of Interference”, the second episode of TNT’s True Crime thriller, I Am The Night. Watch as the mystery of the Hodel family unfolds and we visit the dark criminal underbelly of 1960’s Los Angeles with tabloid reporter, Jay Singletary (Chris Pine). 

As I watched the second episode of TNT’s I Am The Night, a thought popped into my head. Did TNT know that they would be pitting this up against HBO’s True Detective? Because it seems like a BIG coincidence that both shows are limited series about revisiting old criminal cases that couldn’t be solved. I’m sure they must’ve known and I think it was a smart marketing decision on their part.

Anyway, where the last episode left off, we ended with Fauna Hodel being stranded in Los Angeles and Jay Singletary bruised by police brutality. In “Phenomenon of Interference,” we start off with Fauna (India Eisley) being dropped off in a taxi at her aunt’s house. Jimmy Lee’s sister has two teenage daughters and she tasks one of them to accompany Fauna to go to Dr. Hodel’s house.

Meanwhile, Jay Singletary is back in the office of Peter Sullivan (Leland Orser) at the Examiner. He’s trying to tell Peter about the anonymous phone call he received regarding Dr. Hodel, but Peter is having none of it. There is a mild allusion to the fact that Singletary opened up a big can of worms when he tried to go after Hodel in the past, costing several people and himself their jobs and submitting the paper to a libel suit.

I Am The Night — Courtesy of TNT

Fauna and her cousin, Tina (Shoniqua Sondai) arrive at Dr. Hodel’s house. Fauna rings the doorbell several times and knocks on the door, screaming “Dr. Hodel, Dr. Hodel” but no one answers. She and her cousin end up going to a party later on with some friends their age. Fauna meets two young men, Terrence Shye (Justin Cornwell) and Nero. Nero is being inappropriate with Fauna, telling her she “ain’t no colored girl” and following her around the party. Terrence asks her to come sit with him to save herself.

Singletary is going to his apartment. A drunk, high woman is propped up against the wall in the lobby. He walks her up to his apartment. Her name is Lily and though nothing is expressly revealed, it seems as though she used to be Singletary’s girlfriend or wife. She wanted to be an actress and ended up being a drug addict. She tries to sleep with Jay and he puts her on the couch to sleep. While she lies there, he goes through his old files on George Hodel, wondering where Tamar (Fauna’s biological mother) is.

Lily knows about the case and Jay tells her “It’s back, like a biblical plague. Like a double shadow, blackening the grass it falls upon.” Lily is basically only there to find out if Jay has drugs and blames him for getting hooked in the first place.

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“I didn’t stick a needle in your arm! That is your creature feature, sweetheart”, he yells.

I want to take a brief pause and say that Sam Sheridan wrote some really brilliant lines for Chris Pine’s character in this mini-series. It captures a neo-noir sensibility that makes I Am The Night a very fun watch. I honestly also believe that Jay Singletary is one of Chris Pine’s finest roles and I’m very excited to see more of it.

Next, Fauna calls Corinna Hodel again. Corinna tells her that Fauna’s biological mother, Tamar, “is deceased”. Fauna wants to see her and Corinna agrees if she comes to her house and knocks in a special way so Corinna will know it’s her.

While she is at Corinna’s house, she discovers that her grandfather, George, is a rather famous art collector. Also, Corinna was absolutely not fond of Tamar, referring to her as a pathological liar and blaming her for Dr. Hodel’s downfall.

Fauna wants to know what her biological mother lied about, but Corinna won’t tell her. Instead she wants to show Fauna something. While this is happening, Jay is having dinner with his cop friend, giving us some exposition into his own history with Dr. Hodel.

“Say you got a case that’s 10 or 15 years old,” Singletary posits to his friend, Ohis, “Say it’s about an illegal abortion clinic. The daughter of the suspect knew everything about him and now she’s vanished into thin air”

From this point, Jay has a hunch and quickly hurries to Corinna Hodel’s house and is spying from his car. He sees Fauna and wonders who she is. He then follows them in his car to a luxurious building that contains Dr. Hodel’s art collection.

Jay finds out that the prostitute who he found dead in the morgue in the previous episode went to the same convent to have her baby as Tamar Hodel. He’s beginning to find leads to something that’s been on his mind for over a decade.

Corinna refuses to acknowledge that Fauna is black or mixed race, again citing that Tamar was a liar. Fauna wanders through her grandfather’s art collection. He’s in the building, getting ever closer til he finally asks her what her favorite piece is, she walks away from him. Then as she and Corinna are leaving in her car, Corinna says she can’t go downtown, it’s too dangerous. She’s making racist implications and Fauna has her drop her off at the bus stop, but not before calling her a racist cow.

So now we have a better idea of how all the parties are connected. I’m hoping that as I continue on with further episodes, things start to get more cohesive. I know it’s only the second episode, but I’m already getting a bit impatient to know more. I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on “Dark Flower.”

Next. Chris Pine: From Wonder Woman to tabloid reporter. dark

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