6/10 It’s a shame that for a show with such high production values and an incredible cast that the overall product would feel underwhelming, lack an emotional payoff and leave the viewer wanting more but ‘tis the case with “I Am the Night”, an interesting but ultimately disappointing limited series from TNT. On all accounts this show should fire on all cylinders. We have some talented directors behind the scenes like Patty Jenkins and Carl Franklin. India Eisley and Chris Pine give phenomenal performances and Jefferson Mays is eerily creepy in his sinister portrayal. The recreation of the time period through set design, costumes, make-up, props, etc. is really top notch, Emmy worthy stuff. While the show lacks emotional gravitas, Chris Pine’s PTSD riddled Korean veteran is as close as we come to having our heart strings tugged while we care for him and Eisley’s characters a great deal. The series looks slick, the pacing is fine and so much of it works. Yet the series doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts and lacks true excitement, fear and heartbreak. That falls upon the writing which is the biggest problem. Historical inaccuracies are littered throughout, the ending is rather anti-climactic as justice is never reached and Jay’s (Pine’s character) relationship with his boss has some great moments early on but fizzles out by the end and is never touched upon again. While viewing I was reminded of period pieces like “The Black Dahlia” and “Zodiac” and although I haven’t seen the former in so long that it is hard to recall, this is nowhere on the level of Fincher’s near perfect latter film. The series tells the story of a young woman but it tries to juggle too much as it wants to tell her story, be a true crime drama that wants to solve the Black Dahlia murder, wants to tell Jay Singletary’s story, talk about race, corruption, etc. In trying to do too much, it ends up not successfully doing any of what it sets out to do. The score is fantastic and it is a shame since so many elements work well and are noteworthy. The most important aspect is always the writing and development and that is where “I Am the Night” falls short, making this series that had so much potential end up being forgettable and closer to mediocre than greatness. If you are obsessed with “inspired by a true story” film noirs, you might get some enjoyment here but keep your expectations in check as this night made me say, “I Am the Disappointed”.
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