The scandal that rocked America

In a country where gun laws are slack and school shootings happen with disturbing regularity, it makes sense that some extreme solutions would arise and be put into practice. 

But what happens when extreme measures do not have good intentions and take advantage of a traumatised public for their own economic gain?

This was precisely the case in 2008, when Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella announced he would be cracking down on juvenile delinquents, vowing to issue harsh sentences for even the slightest crimes in an effort to make schools safer.

Kids committing trivial crimes (like impersonating a school principal) were ending up in juvenile detention centres and coming out hardened men.

As disapproval of these sentences grew, more details emerged, leading to the revelation that Ciavarella was receiving money – at least  $2.6 million – from a centre profiting from the growing number of inmates.

In Kids for Cash (91 on RT), debut director Robert May interviews the victims and men behind it – including Ciavarella himself. 

DR2, Tue 12:45

Also new: 

DR2, Tue 20:45 Hunt vs Lauda (Photo: Wikipedia)

There were some who thought Matthew Whiteman’s relatively short (just 59 minutes) documentary Hunt vs Lauda (DR2, Tue 20:45) had the edge on Rush, so it is no exaggeration to say that you must not miss this (like Lauda did that corner at the Nürburgring in 1976).

The same can’t be said about Tyrant, a 2014 drama series about a pediatrician who reluctantly returns home to a Middle East country under the control of a dictator, his father, only to end up helping his rapist brother take over. With 54 on Metacritic, the reception for a potentially controversial series has been mixed.  

Maybe it could have borrowed a few taboos from Erasing Hate (DR3, Thu 22:30), which chronicles the efforts of a white power skinhead to remove all his racist facial tattoos. Christ!

Elsewhere, the BBC fly-on-the-wall doc The Call Centre (BBC Ent, Thu 21:05) has its moments, there’s another chance to watch the first series of British sitcom Miranda (SVT1, Fri 21:30) and prostitution doc Scarlet Road: A Sex Worker’s Journey (DR2, Sun 23:00) and you can hardly go wrong with ACDC Live at River Plate (SVT2, Sat 23:20). (BH)

Coming soon: 

"Pay attention class! The last day-dreamer ended up here"

So, Steven Soderbergh’s given up directing? No, just films, not TV, and his early 20th century New York medical drama, The Knick starring Clive Owen (75 on Metacritic), is a glorious return to form. 

Just a little prick … not that he'll need it as a heroin addict

“Like a shot of adrenaline to the heart,” praises the Huffington Post about a series that takes us back to a time when the life expectancy was 47 and healthcare was a precarious business, both for patients and drug-addicted doctors. 

“It is a fascinating look at New York in 1900,” chimes the New York Times. (FP)

Sport of the week: 

K6, Sat 18:30 English Premier League: Everton vs Arsenal (Photo: Scanpix)

Chelsea, most pundits’ PL tip, have made an unconvincing start, narrowly seeing off two newly-promoted teams, although Diego Costa does look the business. 

Eurosport, all week Vuelta a España (Photo: Wikipedia)

Here comes their first test (and an emotional farewell to club president Dickie Attenborough). Elsewhere, the US Open and Vuelta a España continue. (BH)

Eurosport, all week US Open tennis (Photo: Wikipedia)

Film of the week: 

K5, Mon 20:00
The Hunger Games 

At the risk of getting hate mail, can we suggest The Hunger Games is nonsense. Surely it’s just a prepubescent-friendly version of Battle Royale? And that wore thin quickly. 

TV2, Sat 01:30 Looking for Eric 

At least the title character in Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric is hard to find, as are reasons for thinking Roman yarn The Last Legion might have been a good idea. (BH)

K5, Sat 21:00 The Last Legion

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