You cannot always be a winner. The odds will eventually catch up to you. Up until this point every series or limited series I have watched on Netflix has been great. That streak was halted with How to Fix a Drug Scandal. This is a limited series comprised of four episodes. I found the first three especially tedious though the fourth was rather engaging, but in all honesty it had kinda lost me by that point.
Just as the title indicates this is a series which deals with a drug scandal. The nature of the scandal is a pair of female drug lab chemists are caught either stealing some of the drugs or faking test results. Bottom line is that these two cases shed light on a system which is fundamentally broken.
In 2013 it came out that Massachusett’s drug lab chemist Sandra Farak was found to have been taking a portion of the evidence in drug cases and had become an addict herself. This had been happening for years putting thousands of drug cases which she was a part of in jeopardy. It also shows the large amount of flaws in the system. For instance, the drug lab chemists never are drug tested.
Through a dramatic recreation, we go through Farak’s personal life, her work as well as her trial. Trying to get to know the woman from a young age, through college and then once she started working at the lab. We see how she began using the drugs to help with her bouts of depression and to keep up with her heavy work load. Then from how she moved from stimulants to cooking her own crack and injecting it.
We also follow the lawyer of a couple of men convicted and serving time in prison who were just some of the cases Farak worked on. Because she was not only cooking meth, but the results of what she was supposed to be testing. This lawyer is trying to prove that the cases against his clients have to be thrown out because of Farak.
Shortly after what Sonja Farak was up to came out a second case was revealed involving another female drug lab chemist. Annie Dookhan was not stealing and taking drugs, she was just forging results. To keep ahead of her co-workers in an attempt to win favour at work, Dookhan began to work long hours and turn in a ton of results. How she was able to do this was to fake the results. Meaning she did not test everything.
Emails from her account demonstrates that the corruption when high up the justice food chain. Everything ended up being blamed on her, but there was probably a cover up of what she was doing by higher ups.
The result of all this is thousands of cases turned over and tax payers bearing the brunt of the cost of the payouts.
While director Erin Lee Carr attempts to be very thorough. This quality turns out to be the downfall of the series however. So many technical details are gone over the human element of the story is lost. Which is the interesting part for my money. Yes, there is the whole other aspect of the corrupt and the system being majorly flawed, but I really found myself wanting to know more about the two women. In their own words. The dramatic recreation parts are also hokey. Makes it feel like one of those cheesy true crime series.
The criminal justice system is one that, unless you have your head buried in the sand, most of us known is flawed. The tedious details gone over in this docuseries takes all of the emotion out of what could have been a very interesting and enlightening story here.