10 Best Episodes of Frontline

Since it began in 1983, Frontline has been airing public-affairs documentaries that explore a wide scope of the complex human experience. Frontline's goal is to extend the impact of the documentary beyond its initial broadcast by serving as a catalyst for change.

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 06, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

Frontline - S2015E13

#15 - Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty (Season 2015 - Episode 13)

Two filmmakers set out to interview El Chapo Guzmán, leader of one of the biggest drug cartels — who is now on the lam once again.

The episode was rated 8.16 from 19 votes.

Frontline - S2015E8

#14 - Secrets, Politics and Torture (Season 2015 - Episode 8)


From veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk comes the dramatic story of the fight over the CIA's controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture. Based on recently declassified documents and interviews with key political leaders and CIA insiders, the film investigates what the CIA did -- and whether it worked.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 11 votes.

Frontline - S2016E6

#13 - Children of Syria (Season 2016 - Episode 6)

Filmed over three years, four children survive war-torn Aleppo, Syria, and escape to a new life in Germany.

The episode was rated 8.20 from 15 votes.

Frontline - S40E7

#12 - American Insurrection (Season 40 - Episode 7)


Over the last three years, FRONTLINE has collaborated with ProPublica to investigate the rise of extremism in America. In the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol, FRONTLINE and ProPublica team up again to examine how far-right groups were emboldened and encouraged by former President Trump and how individuals were radicalized and brought into the political landscape.

The episode was rated 8.21 from 14 votes.

Frontline - S2015E3

#11 - Being Mortal (Season 2015 - Episode 3)

The way that doctors care for the terminally ill is examined by writer-doctor Atul Gawande. Included: the struggle many doctors face in talking honestly with dying patients.

The episode was rated 8.25 from 12 votes.

Frontline - S2020E20

#10 - The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden (Season 2020 - Episode 20)


In the midst of the historic coronavirus pandemic, economic hardship and a reckoning over racism, this November Americans will decide who leads the nation for the next four years: President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden. Ahead of the 2020 election, FRONTLINE’s critically acclaimed series “The Choice” returns with interwoven investigative biographies of both men, focusing on how they have responded in moments of crisis. In this 2-hour special from veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, hear from friends, family, colleagues and adversaries about the challenges that shaped Trump and Biden’s lives and could inform how they confront the crises facing the nation at this pivotal juncture.

The episode was rated 8.29 from 14 votes.

Frontline - S2019E5

#9 - The Mueller Investigation (Season 2019 - Episode 5)

For two years, special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has dominated headlines. Drawing from interviews with U.S. officials, Trump advisers, legal experts and journalists, FRONTLINE offers an inside look into the investigation that President Donald Trump has continually deemed a “witch hunt.”

The episode was rated 8.29 from 24 votes.

Frontline - S2018E3

#8 - Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia (1) (Season 2018 - Episode 3)


Highlights the 40 year struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for dominance in the Middle East, in part, on behalf the the Shite or Sunni factions of Islam.

The episode was rated 8.30 from 27 votes.

Frontline - S2016E15

#7 - Exodus (Season 2016 - Episode 15)

Refugees and migrants fleeing war and persecution document their journeys on camera phones as they leave their homes and seek safety and refuge in Europe.

The episode was rated 8.36 from 14 votes.

Frontline - S2014E17

#6 - Firestone and the Warlord (Season 2014 - Episode 17)


What are the costs of doing business in a war zone? FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the relationship between Firestone and the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor.

The episode was rated 8.38 from 16 votes.

Frontline - S2015E7

#5 - The Trouble with Chicken (Season 2015 - Episode 7)

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our meat -- particularly poultry -- and why the food-safety system isn't stopping the threat. Focusing on an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg at one of the nation's largest poultry processors, the documentary reveals how contaminants are evading regulators and causing more severe illnesses at a time when Americans are consuming more chicken than ever.

The episode was rated 8.57 from 14 votes.

Frontline - S2014E9

#4 - United States of Secrets (Part One) (Season 2014 - Episode 9)


The history of the National Security Agency's unprecedented surveillance program is investigated.

The episode was rated 8.61 from 18 votes.

Frontline - S2018E10

#3 - Myanmar's Killing Fields (Season 2018 - Episode 10)

Secret footage going back years shows the effort to kill and expel Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. With accounts from victims and a whistleblower within the military, the film examines evidence that security forces committed crimes against humanity.

The episode was rated 8.64 from 11 votes.

Frontline - S2014E10

#2 - United States of Secrets (Part Two) (Season 2014 - Episode 10)


The role of Silicon Valley in the National Security Agency's surveillance program is explored.

The episode was rated 8.79 from 19 votes.

Frontline - S2013E15

#1 - League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis (Season 2013 - Episode 15)

The National Football League, a multibillion-dollar commercial juggernaut, presides over America's indisputable national pastime. But the NFL is under assault as thousands of former players and a host of scientists claim the league has covered up how football inflicted long-term brain injuries on many players. In a special investigation, FRONTLINE and prize-winning journalists Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN reveal the hidden story of the NFL and brain injuries, drawn from their forthcoming book League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth (Crown Archetype, October 2013). What did the NFL know and when did it know it? What's the truth about the risks to players? What can be done? The FRONTLINE investigation details how, for years, the league denied and worked to refute scientific evidence that the violent collisions at the heart of the game are linked to an alarming incidence of early onset dementia, catastrophic brain damage, death, and other devastating consequences for some of football's all-time greats.

The episode was rated 9.33 from 15 votes.

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