Frontline - Season 2004

Tuesday 9:00 PM on PBS Premiered Jan 17, 1983 In Season




Episode Guide

  • The Plea
    The Plea
    Episode 06.14.04
    "The Plea" tells several stories -- different people, different charges, different parts of the country, all with one thing in common: the difficult dilemma of confronting a plea. The program also interviews experts on the criminal justice system. It is the centerpiece of America's judicial process: the right to a trial by jury system that places a defendant's fate in the hands of a jury of one's peers. But it may surprise many to learn that nearly 95 percent of all cases resulting in felony convictions never reach a jury. Instead, they are settled through plea bargains in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence.moreless
  • The Way Music Died
    The Way Music Died
    Episode 05.27.04
    In "The Way the Music Died," FRONTLINE follows the trajectory of the recording industry from its post-Woodstock heyday in the 1970s and 1980s to what one observer describes as a "hysteria" of mass layoffs and bankruptcy in 2004. The documentary tells its story through the aspirations and experiences of four artists: veteran musician David Crosby, who has seen it all in a career spanning 35 years; songwriter/producer Mark Hudson, a former member of the Hudson Brothers band; Hudson's daughter, Sarah, who is about to release her first single and album; and a new rock band, Velvet Revolver, composed of former members of the rock groups Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots, whose first album will be released in June.moreless
  • The Jesus Factor
    The Jesus Factor
    Episode 04.29.04
    "The Jesus Factor" chronicles Bush's efforts in Texas to allow faith-based groups to access state funding for social service programs -- a policy he would later advance following his election to the White House. And once again, the support of evangelical Christians proved critical to Bush's razor-thin victory. In "The Jesus Factor," viewers hear from numerous evangelical Christians who say President Bush understands the "heart and soul" of their beliefs and that his post-9/11 speeches comforted a grieving nation. FRONTLINE also speaks to those who feel the president has taken his rhetoric -- and his religion -- too far.moreless
  • Son of Al Qaeda
    Son of Al Qaeda
    Episode 04.22.04
    Growing up in the 1990s, Abdurahman Khadr's playmates were the children of his father's longtime friend, Osama bin Laden. "Son of Al Qaeda" chronicles Khadr's growing disillusionment with Al Qaeda and its increasingly bloody terrorist operations. Following Sept. 11, Khadr says he was picked up for questioning by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and made the decision to cooperate. The documentary then offers a detailed account of Khadr's life as a paid CIA informant, tracing his movements from Kabul to Guantanamo Bay -- where he says he was placed among the prisoners in an attempt to gain human intelligence and access to Al Qaeda secrets -- and finally to Bosnia, where he attempted to infiltrate Al Qaeda operations before making the decision to end his covert activities and return to Canada.moreless
  • Diet Wars
    Diet Wars
    Episode 04.08.04
    In "Diet Wars," FRONTLINE examines the great diet debate. Viewers follow FRONTLINE correspondent Steve Talbot, whose discovery that those "few extra pounds" have put him perilously close to the clinical definition of obesity prompts him to evaluate the myriad diets now available to overweight Americans. How did America get so fat in recent years? "Diet Wars" explores the social, cultural, and dietary factors that have led to the fattening of America, while also examining how the medical and diet industries have responded to consumers' desire to lose weight. The documentary examines how concerns in the early 1960s that Americans were eating too much animal fat and cholesterol prompted doctors to begin recommending that patients reduce the amount of fat in their diets. The problem, some observers say, is that the low-fat recommendations failed to distinguish between the so-called "good fats" -- unsaturated vegetable and fish oils -- and the "bad fats" -- saturated animal fats -- associated with clogged arteries, heart disease, and other health problems.moreless
  • Tax Me If You Can
    Tax Me If You Can
    Episode 02.19.04
    In "Tax Me If You Can," FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith investigates the rampant abuse of tax shelters since the late 1990s. Through interviews with government officials, tax experts, and industry insiders, Smith uncovers an avalanche of bogus transactions -- created by some of America's biggest and most-respected accounting firms, law firms, and investment banks -- that were then aggressively marketed to big corporations and wealthy individuals.moreless
  • Beyond Baghdad
    Beyond Baghdad
    Episode 02.12.04
    In "Beyond Baghdad," Smith, co-producer Marcela Gaviria, and cameraman Scott Anger -- the team who produced the October 2003 "Truth, War and Consequences" and the November 2002 "In Search of Al Qaeda" -- set out on a five-week journey across Iraq, from the Kurdish north through the Sunni Triangle to the Shiite south, taking a hard look at the social and political reality beyond the political corridors of Baghdad. In interviews with American commanders, local businessmen, tribal sheikhs, ayatollahs, and politicians from across Iraq's political landscape, the documentary explores what it will take to stabilize the volatile nation and transfer power to the Iraqi people. "Beyond Baghdad" reveals a seriously fractured Iraq, where modest successes in nation-building have been offset by widespread inter-ethnic and sectarian rivalry, frustration, and violence.moreless
  • The Persuaders
    Episode 11.09.03
    In "The Persuaders," FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. The 90-minute documentary draws on a range of experts and observers of the advertising/marketing world, to examine how, in the words of one on-camera commentator, "the principal of democracy yields to the practice of demography," as highly customized messages are delivered to a smaller segment of the market.moreless