Death Row: Countdown to Execution

Death Row: Countdown to Execution

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

At first this seems like a standard “meet the murderer” documentary, although they’re all pretty startling: in Huntsville, Texas, Susanna Reid meets Patrick Murphy, a member of the notorious “Texas 7”. He was involved in an armed robbery during which a police officer was murdered, and now he faces a lethal injection.

The encounter is gripping. Without at all letting Murphy off the hook, Reid avoids the pointless, performative disgust that can mar such interviews to reveal a calmly thoughtful man, not an irredeemable villain who must be killed for society’s sake. Details of the case also give succour to campaigners who are fighting for Murphy’s life as the clock ticks down – but in a nuanced story full of surprises, one revelation about Murphy will likely see your sympathy suddenly evaporate.

Summary

Susanna Reid travels to Huntsville, home of the most active death chamber in the United States, to come face to face with Death Row inmate Patrick Murphy - one of the seven members of the notorious Texas 7 gang - who violently murdered a police officer while on the run. Susanna meets the lawyers who are fighting for and against his execution, the family of the victim who lost his life, as well as Patrick's own family and, when his execution day arrives, is outside the death chamber with those closest to the crime.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Susanna Reid
Executive Producer Mark Scantlebury
Producer Sarah Clark
Documentary