Interview with Alex Gibney and others

TV Interview!

Alex Gibney, Scott Higham, Dr. Anna Lembke and Dr. Art Van Zee of "Crime of the Century" on HBO

Interview with Alex Gibney, Scott Higham, Dr. Anna Lembke and Dr. Art Van Zee of “Crime of the Century” on HBO by Suzanne 2/10/21

I was delighted to attend this TCA Virtual Press Tour. I was only able to ask one question because there were so many press there. This sounds like a great documentary that everyone should watch.

Today (2/23) I was asked to take the transcript down, for some legal reasons (that has never happened before, but I guess the TCA has different rules than regular TV networks). I will get a summary together for you later.

The Crime of the Century (HBO)

This virtual panel had Alex Gibney (Director, Producer, Writer)
Scott Higham (Washington Post Investigative Reporter, Subject)
Dr. Anna Lembke (Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Stanford University, Subject)
Dr. Art Van Zee (Primary Care Physician, Subject)

2021 Virtual Tour
Los Angeles, CA
February 10, 2021
© 2021 HBO and HBO Max. All rights reserved.

The two-part documentary “The Crime of the Century” from Academy Award and Emmy winner Alex Gibney, is a searing investigative work that reveals the inner workings of the multi-billion dollar industry behind the opioid epidemic. Following the trailer, we will be joined by Alex Gibney, Director, Writer and Producer, and Film Subjects Scott Higham, Washington Post Investigative Reporter, Dr. Anna Lembke, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University, and Dr. Art Van Zee, Primary Care Physician. (Clip shown.)

Here is the question I asked:

MODERATOR: Good morning to our panel. Our first question comes from Suzanne Lanoue.

SUZANNE LANOUE: Hi. How long did it take for you to make this?

Alex Gibney: It took about two years from start to finish. It started with a meeting at “The Washington Post” where the editors and the reporters, Scott Higham included, sort of educated me in terms of the breadth of this. So about two years from start to finish.

Here are links to other reporters’ summary of the discussion.




HBO Documentary Films Announces THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, A Searing Investigative Work Revealing The Inner Workings Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Industry Behind The Opioid Epidemic

TCA | Winter 2021 The Crime of the Century

Two-Part Documentary From Academy Award-Winning Director Alex Gibney Debuts This May

HBO’s THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, a two-part documentary directed by Emmy® and Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (HBO’s “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” “Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief”), is a searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates.  Exploring the origins, extent and fallout of one of the most devastating public health tragedies of our time, with half a million deaths from overdoses this century alone, the film reveals that America’s opioid epidemic is not a public health crisis that came out of nowhere.

With the help of whistleblowers, insiders, newly-leaked documents, exclusive interviews and access to behind-the-scenes investigations, and featuring expert input from medical professionals, journalists, former and current government agents, attorneys and pharmaceutical sales representatives, as well as sobering testimony from victims of opioid addiction, Gibney’s exposé posits that drug companies are in fact largely responsible for manufacturing the very crisis they profit from, to the tune of billions of dollars…and thousands of lives.

THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max this May.

The opioid crisis has resulted in a country ravaged by corporate greed and betrayed by some of its own elected officials, following the aggressive promotion of OxyContin, a highly addictive drug from family owned pharmaceutical giant, Purdue Pharma. Purdue worked closely with the FDA to get the highly profitable pain medication approved for wider use, promoting its safety without sufficient evidence, and creating a campaign to redefine pain and how we treat it. When government regulators or Justice Department officials tried to mitigate the wrongdoing, Purdue Pharma and companies like Cardinal-Health that were huge opioid distributors would settle the cases, keep the details private and continue on unabated. As tens of thousands of people succumbed to opioid addiction, the fortunes built by the opiate business became the crime of the century, and the market that OxyContin had opened paved the way for even deadlier prescription drugs.

Contributing to Part One of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY are: author Patrick Radden Keefe; opioid specialist Dr. Andrew Kolodny; former Purdue sales rep. Mark Ross; addiction specialist Dr. Anne Lembke; Life Tree pain clinic founder Dr. Lynn Webster; Roy Bosley, whose wife died of an opioid overdose; author and NY Times reporter Barry Meier; primary care physician Dr. Art Van Zee; former Department of Justice official Paul Pelletier; and EMT Giles Sartin.

Part Two of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY shines a spotlight on the mass marketing of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and examines the connections between drug manufacturers and government policy.  While America’s silent epidemic was killing 40 people a day, Insys Therapeutics, an upstart opioid manufacturer of fentanyl, continued to bribe doctors to overprescribe. Startling video of sales retreats and promotional material speak to a deep cynicism among company employees and a disregard for the widespread, nefarious corporate practices. A complex scheme to defraud the insurance companies existed side by side with fraudulent marketing tactics while lawmakers continued to turn a blind eye to the implications of a complex pipeline that delivers billions of pills around the country.

Interweaving stories of personal tragedy from first responders, survivors and family members of opioid victims with the timeline of corporate greed and malfeasance, Part Two of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY includes insights from former DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi; former DEA attorney Jonathan Novak; Washington Post reporters Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham, Lenny Bernstein; Assistant U.S. Attorneys for Massachusetts David Lazarus, Nathaniel Yeager and Fred Wyshak; former V.P. of Sales at Insys Alec Burlakoff; former Insys regional sales manager Sunrise Lee; and fentanyl dealer Sidney Caleb Lanier. Woven together, the character-driven stories form a larger narrative of shocking corruption.

HBO Documentary Films’ presents a Jigsaw Production in association with Storied Media Group, THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY written and directed by Alex Gibney; produced by Alex Gibney, Sarah Dowland, and Svetlana Zill; executive produced by Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Todd Hoffman, and Aaron Fishman; For HBO: senior producer, Tina Nguyen; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Crime of the Century" on HBO

Primetime TV Review: “Squish”

TV Review!

"Squish" on HBO Max

“Squish” on HBO Max Review by Suzanne 1/9/21

This is a weird animated show that familiarizes children with science. It’s based on a graphic novel (also for children). Most of the characters are kids who go to school, study, play, etc. even though they are amoeba, paramecium, bacteria, viruses and fungi. Each one has a separate character. Squish (voiced by Cory Doran), the star of the show, is an amoeba. In the very first show, Squish meets a new friend, Vinnie, who’s a virus. He learns that too much Vinnie is not a good thing. At the same time, the series teaches the kids how a virus works.

The series is fun and well done – no question. I just wonder if the timing (talking about viruses during the pandemic) is a good idea. I guess they figure that any education is good for everyone to have. I just wonder if kids that are forced to stay home all the time because of the risk of COVID really want to spend their fun time watching this. As an adult, I don’t like watching shows that remind me of the pandemic. I want escapism. Well, the episodes are only 12 minutes long, so that might be just about the right amount of time.


Squish, along with best friends Peggy and Pod, embarks on hilarious adventures in the town of Small Pond! Together, the pals navigate bacteria, viruses, fungi, and social survival.

Welcome to the fascinating world of amoebas! Squish, along with best friends Peggy and Pod, embarks on hilarious adventures in the town of Small Pond! Together, the pals navigate bacteria, viruses, fungi, and social survival. Based on the action-packed graphic novel, stream Squish now on HBO Max.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Main Reviews Page

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

"Squish" on HBO Max

Primetime TV Review: “30 Coins”

TV Review!

30 Coins' Montaner and Silvestre

“30 Coins” on HBO Review by Suzanne 1/9/21

If you like horror (not just the gross-out kind), you should love this show. It’s in Spanish, though, so you do have to pay attention if you’re not a native speaker and you’re watching the English subtitles. This show really grabbed me right at the beginning. They don’t play around. The first thing you see is horrible, and more terrible things follow. The show reminds me a bit of the Exorcist TV series, but it’s got even more shocks. There’s very little that’s subtle here; however, they do have a lot of surprises.

The heroine of the show is Elena (Megan Montaner), a veterinarian who witnesses some horrific things. Paco (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) is the handsome mayor of their small town. He runs a butchering plant and was pushed into running by his domineering wife (Macarena Gómez). Paco is called when something really weird happens with Elena and this newborn baby.

The other main character is Padre Vergara (Eduard Fernández), who’s new to town. He has a history with exorcism. He claims that he doesn’t believe in the devil any more, but we know that he’s seen otherwise. He’s called in by Paco about the baby.

The 30 coins in the title refers to the pieces of silver given to Judas. The show’s “theme song” shows Christ’s crucifixion, and then Judas’ hanging, in vivid detail. Apparently the devil (or someone in Hell) wants the coins back, but they’re scattered all over the world.

I’m really trying hard not to post a spoiler here because it’s important, in a horror movie, not to spoil the really terrifying, shocking or gruesome things that happen. I’ll just say that there is plenty to be had, and all I watched was the first episode. I watched it late at night, so I had to watch a couple of lighter shows afterwards, to make sure I didn’t have nightmares. Watch this in the daytime. It’s very compelling.


Directed and co-written by acclaimed horror master Álex de la Iglesia (The Day of the Beast, The Last Circus), 30 Coins takes viewers into a world where nothing is as it seems, and nobody can be trusted.

The eight-episode drama series follows Father Vergara (Eduard Fernández), an exorcist, boxer, and ex-convict who is exiled by the church to be the priest of a remote town in Spain. As his past and old enemies come back to haunt him, strange things begin to happen. An unlikely task force forms as Mayor Paco (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and local vet Elena (Megan Montaner) seek the truth, while reality is distorted by a cursed coin which is at the heart of a global conspiracy.

30 Coins is co-written by Álex de la Iglesia and Jorge Guerricaechevarría. Executive producers for HBO Europe are Steve Matthews, Miguel Salvat, and Antony Root. Álex de la Iglesia and Carolina Bang are executive producers for Pokeepsie Films. The series was produced with participation from HBO Latin America.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Main Reviews Page

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

"30 Coins" promotional pic