Introducing Netflix Original Series: Wormwood

Netflix has a documentary miniseries coming your way that is as mind-bending as it is original. We have all the details you need including the release date.

Netflix’s latest true-crime series mixes documentary and scripted storytelling in a way you have never seen before. Directed by boundary-breaking filmmaker Errol Morris, Wormwood explores the limits of knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in our search for the truth. It’s a twisting, evolving story of one man’s sixty-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s mysterious death. Combining a virtuosic performance by Peter Sarsgaard with Morris’ legendary interview style, Wormwood examines this case from every possible angle, bringing the viewer face-to-face with some of the United States’ darkest secrets. Wormwood sets a new standard for nonfiction filmmaking and finds Morris working on his grandest canvas yet.

The Director

Director Errol Morris primarily directs documentaries that examine mystery and authority. His films have won many awards including, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, an Emmy, and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

“After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.” -Roger Ebert

He is perhaps best known for his 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line, commonly cited among the best and most influential documentaries ever made. The breakthrough film exonerated a man on death row.


The Mystery

Series Plot

The six-part series centers on two ill-fated men:

  • Frank Olson, a CIA operative and biochemist who either jumped or was thrown out of a Manhattan hotel window in 1953, plummeting to his death and leaving his family pleading for answers.
  • His son, Eric, who has spent the last 60-plus years intent on uncovering the top-secret governmental dealings that put his father in trouble with the organization and possibly precipitated his demise.

The Secret

There is an incredibly murky history of the CIA and its attempts to uncover how mind control could be achieved through certain drugs, namely LSD. It is believed that Olson was covertly dosed by his supervisor. Nine days later, he plunged to his death from the window of a New York City hotel room. The US government ruled the death a suicide. Others are not so sure.

The Top Secret Project MK-ULTRA

The operation began in the early 1950s and was officially sanctioned in 1953. It was designed and undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War era when the most dangerous weapon was information. The experiments were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture.

The Cover Up

The experiment was kept hidden for decades because experiments were done on human subjects, which were at times illegal and most notably because the subjects did not consent and had no idea what was being done to them. Anyone from inmates to college students could have been exposed to drug-induced illusions without their knowledge at the will of the United States government.


The Cast

The series is a combination of archival footage, acted scenes, and interviews.

Peter Sarsgaard is the lead as Frank Olsen.

Molly Parker, Christian Camargo, Jimmi Simpson, Bob Balaban, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Doman round out the stellar cast.


The Trailer


The Release Date

Wormwood will arrive on Netflix and in select theaters Dec. 15th, 2017.

Are you excited to see Wormwood? Are you familiar with the mystery surrounding the plot? Let us know in the comments.

Cheryl Greenway

Cheryl has written for What’s on Netflix for over three years. She’s a confessed streaming addict and also runs a Netflix based community on Facebook with over 10,000 users. Cheryl specializes in documentaries and covers weekly additions for the US in addition to breaking news stories. She is the Weekend Editor for What’s On Netflix. Cheryl resides in Virginia, USA.