Television: Truth And Its Consequences

In HBO's cathartic Telling Nicholas, a family faces giving a Sept. 11 victim's son the worst news of all

The attacks of Sept. 11, goes the saying, did not kill 3,000 people; they killed one person 3,000 times. But TV has focused mostly on Sept. 11's enormity: CBS's 9/11 celebrated the hundreds of fire fighters who died at the World Trade Center; HBO's forthcoming In Memoriam gives a God's-eye view of the Giuliani administration's response. The event was so massive, its effects so sweeping and its images so staggering, that like the fallen towers themselves, it defies human scale.

But in the wrenching Telling Nicholas (HBO, May 12, 10 p.m. E.T.), James Ronald Whitney does something different: he limns 9/11's...

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