Louis Theroux returning to BBC for three new documentaries tackling murder, sex trafficking, and opiate dependency
Exclusive: ‘Murder in Milwaukee’, ‘Sex Trafficking Houston’ (working title), and ‘Opiate City’ will be broadcast later this year on BBC Two
Throughout three upcoming documentaries, set to broadcast on BBC Two later this year, the journalist will take an in-depth look at some of the “uniquely devastating challenges” currently facing America, including murder, sex trafficking, and opiate dependency.
“I immerse myself in some of the most dysfunctional and disturbing aspects of American society,” Theroux said. “They combine hard-hitting actuality with intimate interviews.”
“I have been granted access to the police in several states; I’ve got to know the people affected by crime; and I’ve also spent time with the perpetrators of crime, with the idea of understanding the causes of it, both on a systemic level and also in a very personal way.”
Contrary to reports, the three documentaries – titled Murder in Milwaukee, Sex Trafficking Houston (working title), and Opiate City – do not explore the rise of Donald Trump.
In Murder in Milwaukee, Theroux spends time in one of the most impoverished cities in the US during a period of heightened tensions between police and the African-American community, following two police shootings.
To see both sides of the conflict, Theroux meets with both the Milwaukee Police Department’s homicide team as they patrol District 5 – where the homicide rate is around 12 times the national average – and with families and social activists in the area.
Sex Trafficking Houston takes a look at what is regarded as one of the largest hubs for human trafficking in North America. Theroux interviews women working in the city’s sex industry, exploring the relationships between pimp and prostitute.
He also meets with staff at the county jail, discovering a criminal justice system conflicted between helping women leave a lifestyle of crime while also criminalising them.
The third documentary, Opiate City, investigates the world of prescription painkillers and how the country’s crackdown on oversubscription has led to a population dependent on opiates, particularly heroin.
Theroux travels to Huntington, West Virginia, where one in 10 babies are reportedly born addicted to opiates and the fatal overdose rate is 13 times the national average.
He embeds himself within an Appalachian community devastated by widespread heroin use, and follows the emergency services as they respond to multiple overdose call-outs.
BBC Two’s Channel Controller, Patrick Holland, said: “This is so exciting. It is always a real event to have a new series from Louis on BBC Two. This trilogy promises to be hugely timely and challenging, it has never been more important to engage with the forces shaping modern America.”
Exact broadcast dates for the three documentaries have not been confirmed by the BBC.