May on FRONTLINE: Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Weinstein and MS-13
More than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, destroying homes and demolishing much of the island’s infrastructure, more than 100,000 Americans are still without power as part of the worst blackout in U.S. history.
On Tuesday, May 1, in Blackout in Puerto Rico, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate how the federal response in Puerto Rico left millions of Americans in the dark for months. It also delves into the storm before the storm: how Wall Street, the Puerto Rican government and Washington fueled a debt crisis that left the island’s economy in ruins and its infrastructure crippled even before Maria hit.
“What happened in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria was actually the result of two disasters — one natural, and one man-made,” says NPR’s Laura Sullivan, who spent seven months investigating the recovery effort with FRONTLINE producer Rick Young and his team. “We went in search of the people who could tell us what really happened.”
What they found unfolds in Blackout in Puerto Rico — one of two new documentaries airing in May on FRONTLINE.
The following week, on May 8, we’ll present Myanmar’s Killing Fields: an investigation into the slaughter of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
Then, we’ll bring you two encore presentations: On May 22, we’ll air Weinstein, our documentary tracing decades of sexual misconduct and abuse allegations against the Hollywood mogul. And on May 29, we’ll present The Gang Crackdown, an investigation of both MS-13’s violence on Long Island, and law enforcement’s response.
Here’s a closer look at our May lineup:
May 1: Blackout in Puerto Rico
FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the humanitarian and economic crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, examining how the federal response, Wall Street and years of neglect have left the island struggling to survive. From the team behind Business of Disaster and Poverty, Politics and Profit, the investigation includes the May 1 FRONTLINE documentary on PBS, and a two-part series on All Things Considered beginning April 30.
May 8: Myanmar’s Killing Fields
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was once seen as Myanmar’s hope. Now, she’s accused of standing by as the country’s military waged a brutal campaign against Rohingya Muslims. In this stunning documentary from Evan Williams, who previously made Hunting Boko Haram, years of secret footage and accounts from victims and their families shine new light on the effort to kill and expel the Rohingya people from Myanmar — an effort that has been described by the U.N. as having the “hallmarks of genocide.”
May 22: Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was once one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. But beneath the glitz and glamour, there was a pattern of alleged sexual misconduct going back to the very start of his career. In an encore presentation of Weinstein, FRONTLINE and the BBC investigate the disgraced mogul’s spectacular downfall, the efforts to silence his accusers, and what Hollywood itself knew. When the documentary first aired in March, The Washington Post said it “demonstrates just how far the entertainment industry has to go in reckoning with its complicity,” and Variety said it “offers not just snippets of testimony but also a sense of powerful specificity,” and serves as “both a helpful primer and a necessary addition to the #MeToo movement.”
May 29: The Gang Crackdown
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. As law enforcement tries to stop the gang, producer Marcela Gaviria goes inside the crackdown — investigating how the slew of gruesome killings led to many immigrant teens being accused of gang affiliation and unlawfully detained.
Check your local PBS station for airtimes.
Update: This post was updated on Monday, May 7 to reflect a change in FRONTLINE’s broadcast schedule. To accommodate new reporting in FRONTLINE’s upcoming investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, UN Sex Abuse Scandal will now air on Tuesday, July 10, rather than Tuesday, May 29.