219 votes
Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux

BBC Two 2003

The documentary work of British-American journalist Louis Theroux.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux - S1E29

#1 - Dark States: Heroin Town


Season 1 - Episode 29

America's love affair with prescription painkillers has led to widespread dependency on opiates. But following a crackdown on their over-prescription, where does this leave the two million Americans who have developed a habit for these high-strength painkillers? With the pills now becoming increasingly expensive and scarce on the black market, vast numbers of Americans have turned to the cheaper and stronger opiate: heroin. The drug now claims more lives in the US than either car accidents or gun crime. And, for the first time in over two decades, life expectancy in the US is declining - largely attributed to the rise in fatal heroin overdoses. In Huntington, West Virginia, Louis Theroux embeds himself in an Appalachian community that is being devastated and stretched to its limits by widespread heroin use. With one in ten babies in the city born dependent on opiates and a fatal overdose rate 13 times the national average, this is the epicentre of the most deadly drug epidemic in US history. Louis spends time with the user community caught in the vice-like grip of drug misuse and follows the emergency services struggling to cope with multiple overdoses each day.

The episode was rated from 1 votes.

Louis Theroux - S1E31

#2 - Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee


Season 1 - Episode 31

Milwaukee is said to be one of the most racially divided and impoverished cities in the US. With spiraling gun crime and homicide rates, this Midwestern city encapsulates America's complex and troubled relationship with guns and the increasing disharmony between African-American communities and the police. In this episode, Louis spends time with the Milwaukee Police Department as they patrol District 5, home to some of the nation's deadliest streets, with a homicide rate over twelve times the national average, and follows the homicide division as they investigate one of the city's many killings. He also embeds with a family who have recently lost a loved one to gun crime, and he meets a local social activist, once a criminal and gang leader herself, who has turned her life around and is coming up with her own solution to the blight of gun crime. On the streets of Milwaukee, Louis discovers a community who is often misunderstood by, and mistrustful of, the police. Arriving at a time of heightened tension between the police and the African-American community due to a recent police shooting, Louis hears from both sides of the debate and uncovers hope in a desperate city.

The episode was rated from 1 votes.

Louis Theroux - S1E36

#3 - Altered States: Take My Baby


Season 1 - Episode 36

Louis Theroux heads to California, the US adoption capital, where the majority of newborn adoptions are carried out privately, creating a multimillion dollar industry. Agencies, facilitators and lawyers can earn thousands of dollars per baby by matching up pregnant women prepared to give up their newborns with adoptive parents willing to pay up to $50,000 for the privilege. Louis spends time with the birth mothers preparing to hand over their own flesh and blood, uncovering the stories of poverty, addiction and abuse that can push these women into making such a heartbreaking decision. He also meets the adoptive families, paying out huge amounts of money in the hope of being able to raise a child they can't have by natural means - but in a system open to abuse, whether the birth mum hands over the baby hangs in the balance until after the birth.

The episode was rated from 1 votes.

Louis Theroux - S8E1

#4 - Life on the Edge: Beyond Belief


Season 8 - Episode 1

Since making his television debut on TV Nation in the mid-90s, journalist and film-maker Louis Theroux has become synonymous with documentaries involving subcultures and people on the fringes of society. In the first episode of this career retrospective, Louis looks back at his earliest documentaries and explores how some people’s most fervent beliefs can bring them into conflict with mainstream society. From his Weird Weekends episodes on survivalists and UFOs to his now notorious documentary about the White Aryan Resistance in California (Louis and the Nazis), Louis has always been drawn to those whose beliefs seem unusual, confused or, in some cases, abhorrent. Louis catches up again with some of his previous contributors, including Mike Cain, who he first met in the mid-90s, having moved to the hills of Idaho and armed himself for what he saw as an inevitable war with the federal government. Over 20 years later, his views haven’t changed much – but in Donald Trump, he has a president who finally speaks to him. Louis also tracks down Lamb and Lynx, once members of the white nationalist pop group Prussian Blue. They have since rejected their past and believe their story gives hope that even the most indoctrinated can change their beliefs.

The episode was rated from 2 votes.

Louis Theroux - S1E10

#5 - Law and Disorder in Johannesburg


Season 1 - Episode 10

Louis Theroux travels to Johannesburg to investigate the increasing amount of crime there. Many citizens are turning to private security companies, with brutal methods, to help protect them and their property.

The episode was rated from 20 votes.

#6 - The Most Hated Family in America
Season 1 - Episode 5

In The Most Hated Family In America, Louis meets the Phelps family, the people at the heart of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. The Phelps have rabid anti-homosexual beliefs, and often campaign at the funerals of American soldiers. They believe that every tragedy in the world is God's punishment for homosexuality. Subtle they are not. Theroux hangs out with the family in Kansas to find out whether there are other sides to their nature. But with any family who run websites like godhatesfags.com and godhatesamerica.com it's going to be difficult. As ever, Louis sticks manfully to the task, but the Phelps' family commune is not a place to be if you're a free-thinking liberal. Explosive stuff!

The episode was rated from 31 votes.
#7 - Extreme Love: Dementia
Season 1 - Episode 21

Louis travels to Phoenix, Arizona - the capital of dementia care. He spends time at Beatitudes, a residential institution, and also with those looking after loved ones at home to try to understand the struggle of living in a world of encroaching shadows - and of keeping relationships alive in circumstances that can be among the strangest and most challenging imaginable.

The episode was rated from 23 votes.
#8 - America's Most Hated Family in Crisis
Season 1 - Episode 16

Following up on his 2007 documentary, The Most Hated Family in America, Louis Theroux returns to Topeka, Kansas, for a week-long visit with the Westboro Baptist Church. He again joins the Phelps family on their controversial pickets where they try to antagonise communities with offensive slogans and anti-gay placards. But four years on from Louis's last visit, there are signs of disarray in the Phelps clan. A series of defections of family members has shaken up the church.

The episode was rated from 32 votes.
#9 - Miami Mega Jail: Part 1
Season 1 - Episode 17

In the first episode of this two-part series, Louis spends time in one of the most notorious sections of Miami County Jail: the fifth and sixth floor of 'Main Jail', where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated. Held in large cage-like dwellings for up to 24 men, the inmates have developed a strange and violent jail culture. The men - who remain in the cells almost all the time and may only leave for yard time twice a week - live under the sway of a gladiatorial code. They fight each other for food, for status, and often just to pass the endless hours of confinement. Trips to the infirmary are a frequent occurrence as inmates are viciously attacked and beaten, but the guards say they are powerless to end the abuse.

The episode was rated from 28 votes.
#10 - A Place for Paedophiles
Season 1 - Episode 11

Louis has gained access to Coalinga Mental Hospital in California, which houses more than 500 convicted paedophiles who have been deemed unsafe for release.

The episode was rated from 22 votes.

Last updated: jun 02, 2021

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