Coming Up on FRONTLINE: MS-13, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Abacus and Weinstein

February 6, 2018
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

The fight against the notorious MS-13 gang. The dangerous rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuse of dozens of women.

In the coming weeks, FRONTLINE will bring you new, in-depth looks at all three of these subjects — plus, a special, encore presentation of our Academy Award-nominated documentary, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

First, on Feb. 13, in The Gang Crackdown, we’ll investigate MS-13’s gruesome killings on Long Island, and law enforcement’s efforts to stop the gang — which have led to immigrant teens being accused of gang affiliation and unlawfully detained.

Then, on Feb. 20 and 27, in an epic, two-part series called Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia, we’ll examine how an intense political rivalry between the two countries has helped plunge the Middle East into sectarian war.

The next night, we’ll present Abacus, which tells the story of the only U.S. bank prosecuted for mortgage fraud in relation to the 2008 financial crisis.

And finally, on a special air date — Friday, March 2, just ahead of the 90th broadcast of the Academy Awards on March 4 — FRONTLINE will offer an investigative report on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and his efforts to silence allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by his accusers.

Here’s a closer look at our upcoming lineup:

Feb. 13: The Gang Crackdown

In a surge of brutal violence that has become a focal point of President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration and a priority of his Justice Department, some 25 dead bodies have been found on Long Island since 2016, all linked to the violent gang MS-13. Numerous immigrant teens are missing. But in its efforts to stop the gang, has law enforcement gone too far? Producer Marcela Gaviria investigates the slew of brutal killings, and how the resulting crackdown led to many immigrant teens being accused of gang affiliation and unlawfully detained.

Feb. 20 & 27: Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia 

Much of today’s widespread violence across the Middle East has been portrayed as part of an ancient battle between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. But as FRONTLINE explores in this special, two-part documentary series, the real story is far more complex and contemporary — rooted in a 40-year rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia that has fueled sectarian extremism for political gain, with virtually every step the U.S. has taken along the way only ratcheting up the conflict. From FRONTLINE founder and executive producer at large David Fanning, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent and producer Martin Smith and FRONTLINE producer Linda Hirsch, this epic series with on-the-ground reporting from across the Middle East offers a dramatic and timely road map for viewers to understand the forces shaping this complex region.

Feb. 28: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

If you missed acclaimed director Steve James’s latest documentary when it first aired on FRONTLINE, catch up before it vies for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards on March 4. Abacus chronicles the Chinese-American Sung family’s fight to clear their names after their bank in New York City’s Chinatown became the only U.S. bank indicted for mortgage fraud related to the 2008 financial crisis.

March. 2: Weinstein

Full of fresh reporting and first-hand accounts, Weinstein examines how Harvey Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed and abused dozens of women over four decades. With allegations going back to Weinstein’s early years, the documentary, a co-production with BBC Current Affairs, investigates the elaborate ways in which he and those around him tried to silence his accusers.

Check your local PBS station for airtimes.

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