Wormwood: Miniseries (2017)


Miniseries
Wormwood

Critics Consensus

Wormwood's real-life mystery unfolds in hypothetical tendrils guided by Errol Morris' singular vision and style that will keep viewers engaged despite the four-hour run time.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 52

65%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 693

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Episodes

Air date: Dec 15, 2017

In the series premiere, Army scientist Frank Olson falls to his death from a hotel window in 1953. Later, in 1975, his demise is tied to a little known experiment.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2017

Media attention accompanies the government's efforts to soothe the family. Also: Frank sees an unconventional doctor in New York.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2017

Frank must return to New York after experiencing a setback on his way home. Also: Eric is leery of checking in to Room 1018A.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2017

On the night of Frank's death, a hotel employee overhears a mysterious phone call. Later, in 1994, new clues are revealed upon a forensic expert's exhumation of the body.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2017

Frank's increasing Cold War concerns set off alarms at the CIA. Also: Eric struggles to find closure.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2017

In the season finale, Frank confronts two men in Room 1018A; and Eric owes a debt to Seymour Hersh for finally getting the true story.

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Wormwood: Miniseries Videos

Wormwood: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

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.

News & Interviews for Wormwood: Miniseries

Critic Reviews for Wormwood Miniseries

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (20)

It's a true-crime documentary with a terminal case of Netflix bloat; an investigation into a heavily reported subject that ultimately yields no new information.

Dec 18, 2017 | Full Review…

A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

Dec 15, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A hybrid blend of documentary and Cold War thriller that makes The B-Side, Morris's loving portrait of radical photographer Elsa Dorfman earlier this year, look almost straightforward.

Dec 14, 2017 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

But then Morris also includes recurring fictionalized sequences - not the generic reenactments we tend to find in average cable documentaries, but artful scripted pieces featuring well-known actors, led by Peter Sarsgaard as Frank Olson.

Dec 13, 2017 | Full Review…

Their testimonies unfolds alongside a series of dramatic reenactments that may or may not illustrate the precise nature of the events being described. The result is a documentary-fiction combination like nothing seen before.

Dec 13, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Wormwood is not only a fascinating and frightening look into covert homeland operations that took place during America's Red Scare, it's also a moving portrait of a son who never really knew his father.

Jan 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Expansive in its scope, engrossing, structurally daring and thoroughly watchable, Wormwood is a true masterpiece in the age of rampant misinformation and distrust.

Jul 16, 2020 | Full Review…

A proposal that is undoubtedly one of the most original in 2017. [Full Review in Spanish]

Aug 2, 2019 | Full Review…

What Errol Morris has done with Wormwood is create a documentary that weaves between fact and fiction, attempting to piece together the best obtainable version of the truth knowing full well there may be nothing but lies and deception.

Oct 30, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

There's a fascinating hour and a half documentary or a tight mystery thriller in here ... Yet, in its current state, it's bloated, uneven, and plodding.

Oct 29, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

For over four hours Wormwood works as a series of layers being lifted, revealing more disturbing layers as the story unfolds.

Aug 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Morris pushes his signature-style to further break open and break up the uncertainty and opacity of a jigsaw-puzzle past.

Jul 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wormwood: Miniseries

  • Apr 14, 2020
    Disappointed reading the reviews... nicely shot but way too slow moving... don't need a re-enactment for every single thing that happened after just having the narration of the same thing twice. Far too many pointless scenes
  • Mar 31, 2020
    This was excellent. Well worth watching.
  • Sep 11, 2019
    As someone who has done more than their fair share of personal digging & research into the CIA's & US government's highly unethical projects during the 50's-70's of the Cold War Era, I find it extremely important that the American public is given a specific example of said criminal behavior on witting US citizens...thankfully, Errol Morris is up to the task, and this Netflix mini-series focusing on HOW and WHY a Company Man — a Biochemist no less(!) — was thrown to his death from the window of a New York City hotel room within days of raising moral objections to the CIA's reckless & inhumane "PROJECT MK-ULTRA."
  • Aug 26, 2019
    Overrated and overly drawn out. The "twists" are not surprising and what you think happened, is in fact what happened. Never have CIA conspiracies been this dull and predictable.
  • Aug 16, 2019
    This would have been a much more fun thing to watch if it had all been done in one episode. It really goes over a lot of same information over and over again. The constant reference to Hamlet were , for me , a little tedious. The acting was actually pretty good , and it was photographed well. It's (a little) sad , but understandable that poor Eric Olson has become obsessed. I love a good conspiracy as much as the next , but , I think it's still quite possible that Frank Olson actually did commit suicide.
  • Feb 20, 2019
    Totally engrossing ...thoroughly conceived in plotting and writing, casting, acting, photgraphing - the works!
  • Dec 29, 2018
    An incredible look into the depths of depravity, conspiracy and cover-up that US government sinks to avoid accepting responsibility for a crime they are heinously involved in. As they said in the documentary, with all the circumstantial evidence they gave gathered, it would be enough to convict a person for murder... but because there isn't one single person to blame here (which makes it even worse because there's a huge group of people collectively involved, from 1953 into the 2000's) therefore no one is to blame. It's shocking and sickening knowing this could happen to anyone, even some like Frank Olson who served in the military. I really feel for Frank's son as his whole life has been consumed by this tragedy. Morris once again stuns viewers with his detailed and fact based exposition.
  • Jul 02, 2018
    w o r m w o o d -- just like the title says. Could have really been good if it went no more than 4 episodes and that's generous.
  • May 26, 2018
    Interesting story but just too slow. could have been done in three episodes.
  • Mar 16, 2018
    This is a documentary that should have been halved with more historical background added and the repetitive, conjecture-based re-enactments omitted. It is a fascinating subject that was turned into an agonizing journey akin to driving across a flatland state. I can only surmise that the professional critics are giving Morris' deference based on past work; and that they watched the CliffsNotes version. Olson expects what no one gets when they lose a loved one to murder -- the neat package with all the answers -- and that point is belabored endlessly. Whether CIA or individual murderer, to get those answers are rare. He has been given far more answers, attention and publicity than most. The mechanics of the situation may serve as a technical distraction to dealing with the loss. I do not lack empathy, but six hours of wheel spinning is a lot to ask of a viewer. This is about history and loss; but unfortunately, neither subject is explored indepth. Ultimately, it takes Morris five more episodes to catch up with the viewer, who has likely figured out most of the possibilities in the first installment.

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