Welcome to the premiere episode of Doc Talk, our new podcast hosted by Oscar-winning writer-director John Ridley and Deadline’s documentary editor Matt Carey. We’re kicking off with a deep dive into a signature power of documentary: The capacity to right a grave wrong in the criminal justice system by freeing a wrongfully convicted prisoner. Only a handful of major nonfiction filmmakers has achieved this extraordinary feat, springing men and women who faced Death Row or life sentences.
We talk with Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line), Joe Berlinger (the Paradise Lost trilogy), Amy Berg (The Case Against Adnan Syed and West of Memphis), and Deborah Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four).
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Morris shares his theory of why Randall Dale Adams — the man who almost certainly would have been put to death by the state of Texas if not for The Thin Blue Line — turned around and sued him. Berlinger accuses the state of Arkansas of acting “so cowardly and so corruptly” in the case of the case of the West Memphis Three, allowing a real murderer to go free. Berg tells us what convinced her Adnan Syed – subject of her documentary series – was not guilty of murder. And Esquenazi explains the flawed forensic evidence that put four women behind bars for a crime that never happened, and why she leaked a key recantation in the case of the San Antonio Four to a Texas newspaper, even before her documentary came out.
Doc Talk is a production of Deadline and Nō Studios, brought to you in partnership with National Geographic Documentary Films.
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