Smoke Screen is an investigative documentary series on people with complex motives and morals. Follow characters on the fringes of society — con artists, cult leaders, corrupt politicians — as they seduce their marks and bend communities to their will. Join us as we unravel their stories and bring justice to the people they’ve deceived.
SEASON 7: Betrayal on the Bayou
For almost two decades, DEA Special Agent Chad Scott ruled the streets just North of New Orleans. He controlled a network of snitches by convincing people he arrested to work for him as informants. Chad would stop at nothing to put drug dealers behind bars. His successes won awards at the DEA, but his willingness to bend the rules earned him a terrifying reputation on the streets. Some called him the Golden Boy. Others called him the White Devil. But when one of guys on Chad's team is caught dealing drugs, Chad’s life is overturned. His right-hand men betray him and confess everything to the FBI. Investigators go over his career with a fine-toothed comb, asking the question: is Chad Scott the greatest DEA Agent in the South, or is he a criminal?
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SEASON 6: Just Say You're Sorry
Texas Ranger James Holland is celebrated as the ‘serial killer whisperer’, solving dozens of murders through his legendary interrogation skills. But how far does he go to get confessions? And has he put innocent people in prison along the way? Smoke Screen: Just Say You're Sorry uses shocking police tapes to reveal the psychological drama behind one murder case, and uncovers something rotten at the heart of the justice system.
SEASON 5: Deadly Cure
Smoke Screen: Deadly Cure is a podcast about a family on the fringe who convinced tens of thousands of people across the globe to buy a miracle liquid made of poison, the international conspiracy they ignited, and the people who fought to take them down. Produced in collaboration with Bloomberg.
SEASON 4: Puppy Kingpin
Americans are used to being on the lookout for a scam, but authorities are warning of a new kind of fraud. Puppy Kingpin shines a spotlight on Jolyn Noethe, a secretive businesswoman from Iowa who is accused of laundering puppies much like drug money. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman exposes the scheme and an underground part of the industry bringing us the pets we love.
SEASON 3: The Sellout
Councilperson Jose Huizar grew up in Boyle Heights – a working-class Latinx neighborhood in L.A. For the most part, people trusted Huizar... until the day the FBI raided his home and offices, looking for evidence of a criminal enterprise. He stands accused of taking bribes from luxury developers as his constituents were displaced from their homes. Produced in collaboration with LA Taco, journalist and host Mariah Castañeda investigates how Huizar got the power to do what he did, and how the community that raised him paid the price.
SEASON 2: I Am Rama
To some he was an enlightened master, and to others a dangerous cult leader. One thing’s for sure, the spiritual leader Rama was a product of the 80s: designer clothes, a rock band, sports cars and a modern message were only some of the things that made Rama a fascinating and complex teacher. Host Jonathan Hirsch explores his life and untimely death.
SEASON 1: Fake Priest
Ryan Scott, known to some as “Father Ryan,” was no ordinary con man. He’d been accused of abusing followers and enriching himself with their money. He's left a wake of angry people across multiple states. And that’s not all. There are questions surrounding the brutal deaths of two priests he associated with. Investigative reporter Alex Schuman explores Scott's bizarre, quizzical, and sometimes dangerous world.