This special sees Louis travel to America to investigate the story of a man who has become one of the most controversial and captivating icons of recent times: the gun-toting, self-described ‘gay hillbilly’ and ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic.
Louis immerses himself in the world of Ohio’s state psychiatric hospitals, meeting patients who have committed crimes – at times horrifically violent – while in the grip of severe mental illness.
Following a long fascination with the religion and with much experience in dealing with eccentric, unpalatable and unexpected human behavior, the beguilingly unassuming Theroux won’t take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church’s headquarters is turned down. Inspired by the Church’s use of filming techniques, and aided by ex-members of the organization, Theroux uses actors to replay some incidents people claim they experienced as members in an attempt to better understand the way it operates. In a bizarre twist, it becomes clear that the Church is also making a film about Louis Theroux.
Louis Theroux travels to San Francisco where a group of pioneering medical professionals help children who say they were born in the wrong body transition from boy to girl or girl to boy at ever younger ages.
Following on from his recent look at alcoholism, the UK’s premier documentarian returns with another sensitive film, this time on living with a brain injury. Earl’s personality and interests have radically altered since he was involved in a car crash, while Dan – who sustained his injury in the late 90s – is desperate to live independently again. Elsewhere, Amanda is struggling to readjust to family life, and Natalie’s carers share her especially affecting story.
Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible. Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish settler movement – finding them warm, friendly, humorous, and deeply troubling.
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.
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.
Louis Theroux travels to California to meet the man dubbed “the most dangerous racist in America”; Tom Metzger. Louis meets him, his family and his publicity manager as well as following him to skinhead rallies and on a visit to Mexico.
Louis has gained access to Coalinga Mental Hospital in California, which houses more than 500 of the most disturbed criminals in America, convicted paedophiles. Most have already served lengthy prison sentences, but have been deemed unsafe for release. Instead, they have been sent here for an indefinite time. Spending time with those undergoing treatment, Louis wrestles with whether he can ever allow himself to believe men whose whole history is defined by deception and deceit.
Louis heads to Las Vegas, to reveal the world behind the myths of casino culture. Among the people he meets are two of the casino’s ‘high-rollers’ and an employee who looks after them as well as a retired doctor who says she has gambled away $4million in seven years.