How to Fix a Drug Scandal

2020-05-07 10:24
 
Sonja Farak in 'How to Fix a Drug Scandal.' (Netfl


WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

This series takes a look at two drug lab chemists, Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan, from different parts of Massachusetts (USA), who were involved in massive scandals that would eventually see thousands of cases they worked on compromised and thrown out of court. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

Is it just me, or does the title of this series make it sound like a How to Get Away with Murder spin-off? That's probably why I wanted to watch it the moment I spotted it. 

The four-part series takes a look at two drug lab chemists, Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan, from different parts of Massachusetts (USA), who were involved in massive scandals that would eventually see thousands of cases they worked on compromised and thrown out of court. 

A large part of the documentary focuses on the case of Sonja, who, it was discovered, was addicted to drugs, and would steal evidence from the lab to sustain her habit. Annie, on the other hand, was accused of falsifying evidence.

We got to see a lot of how Sonja's case was handled inside the court, which was extremely fascinating. There were scandals, and cover-ups, and other things that we only ever see in fictional dramas. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get to take the same journey with Annie's case, which was quite a letdown. It would have been interesting to see the challenges that lawyers faced while seeking justice here. 

That's really what the show comes down to, actually – the challenges faced by defence attorneys seeking justice for their clients who had been affected by the wrongdoings of both chemists.

I always say that a good documentary should either be able to entertain or educate you. And sometimes when you're lucky, you get both (looking at you, Tiger King). With this one, it was the latter. It was an eye-opener. 

Here's what I learnt:

Firstly, I had no idea how drug cases were handled in the US after arrests had been made. It seems quite obvious now that a substance found on a suspect would have to be tested to prove that it is indeed an illegal drug before a case can move forward, but it was not something that really crossed my mind. Well, now I know.

Secondly, the series gives you a glimpse into the life of a defence attorney and allows you to understand why many of them do what they do.

I've seen many crime dramas portray defence attorneys as the antagonist – the person who is trying to keep criminals on the street. Here, you get to hear from these attorneys themselves. You get to see how difficult their jobs are, and how much of a toll it takes on them. 

But most importantly, with this show, you get to watch people like Luke Ryan, who truly care for their clients, fight relentlessly to make sure that justice is served. 

It also proves to us how important every single part of the justice system is. All it takes is for one person to overlook an important bit of evidence, or for one chemist to mess up a drug test, and a potentially innocent person could spend years behind bars. 

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

WATCH IT NOW ON NETFLIX

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