Review: How To Fix A Drug Scandal (A Netflix Original Documentary Series)

In 2013, Massachusetts State Police arrest 35-year-old crime drug lab lab chemist Sonja Farak for tampering with evidence: and that was only the beginning. Over time, details emerged that Farak had been in fact using the drugs that she was tasked with testing. Did anyone know what had been going on? And when did they find out? The scope of Farak’s addiction—and the number of people convicted as a result of her drug testing—comes to light, despite repeated efforts to suppress evidence in the case. This four-part Netflix docuseries directed by Erin Lee Carr (Mommy Dead and Dearest, Dirty Money) examines an essential, but obscured, part of the criminal justice system. In addition to re-creations of Farak’s compelling grand jury testimony and interviews with attorneys and experts, we hear from Farak’s family for the first time, delving deep into how the actions of one crime lab employee can impact tens of thousands of lives.

This docu-series serves as a reminder to carefully consider how much we trust our criminal justice system. Our perception may be that a state-run drug testing lab would be a pinnacle of scientific and evidentiary standards and practices – however this series reveals the some-what shocking truth that the lab testing samples for thousands of cases covering a large area is poorly run and has only four staff working long hours (and in some cases there may only be one person in the lab at any one time) – this set against the background of a system that is trying to limit and cover up the potentially troublesome impact this may have on past cases that are affected. This is in the vein of other Netflix crime series such as Making A Murderer; however as the makers acknowledge drug cases such as these are not quite as ‘exciting’ as other criminal cases so don’t get as much attention or scrutiny. This series gives a balanced view of the case in question while also being very informative about drug testing and the system in general in the typical Netflix style. 

The series will be released globally April 1st 2020 on Netflix.

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