Louis Theroux

The BEST episodes of Louis Theroux

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

The documentary work of British-American journalist Louis Theroux.

Last Updated: 6/25/2022Network: BBC Two
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Dark States: Heroin Town
star
9.25
4 votes

#1 - Dark States: Heroin Town

Season 1 - Episode 29 - Aired 10/8/2017

America's love affair with prescription painkillers has led to widespread dependency on opiates. But following a crackdown on their over-prescription, where does this leave the two million Americans who have developed a habit for these high-strength painkillers? With the pills now becoming increasingly expensive and scarce on the black market, vast numbers of Americans have turned to the cheaper and stronger opiate: heroin. The drug now claims more lives in the US than either car accidents or gun crime. And, for the first time in over two decades, life expectancy in the US is declining - largely attributed to the rise in fatal heroin overdoses. In Huntington, West Virginia, Louis Theroux embeds himself in an Appalachian community that is being devastated and stretched to its limits by widespread heroin use. With one in ten babies in the city born dependent on opiates and a fatal overdose rate 13 times the national average, this is the epicentre of the most deadly drug epidemic in US history. Louis spends time with the user community caught in the vice-like grip of drug misuse and follows the emergency services struggling to cope with multiple overdoses each day.

Under the Knife
star
9.22
106 votes

#2 - Under the Knife

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/7/2007

Louis Theroux: Under The Knife sees Theroux following patients having cosmetic surgery in California, before receiving liposuction himself.

Directors: Emma Cooper
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Surviving America's Most Hated Family
star
9.00
4 votes

#3 - Surviving America's Most Hated Family

Season 1 - Episode 39 - Aired 7/14/2019

Thirteen years since first encountering one of America's most notorious hate groups, award-winning film-maker Louis Theroux makes a long-anticipated return to Kansas to spend time with the Westboro Baptist Church - a hugely-controversial Christian ministry that for years has picketed at military funerals and other high-profile events with deliberately provocative and homophobic placards. Immersing himself in the strange world of Westboro, Louis explores what happens when a hate-group largely populated by one family loses its patriarch.

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Miami Mega Jail: Part 2
star
8.79
113 votes

#4 - Miami Mega Jail: Part 2

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired 5/29/2011

Louis Theroux concludes his exploration into Miami Mega-jail, one of America's largest and most violent of jails, a holding pen for almost 6000 un-convicted inmates. Louis goes deeper into the jail system, meeting an alleged triple murderer facing a possible death sentence. He also follows a group of forty or so younger inmates who have escaped prison by pleading guilty and agreeing to attend a four month military style boot camp. Among them is a 14-year-old boy facing a possible ten year sentence for armed robbery if he can't survive the boot camp's relentless and brutal training and indoctrination programme. Many will drop out and receive prison sentences, but for a handful this will be their second chance at life.

Directors: Emma Cooper
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Miami Mega Jail: Part 1
star
8.78
116 votes

#5 - Miami Mega Jail: Part 1

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired 5/22/2011

In the first episode of this two-part series, Louis spends time in one of the most notorious sections of Miami County Jail: the fifth and sixth floor of 'Main Jail', where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated. Held in large cage-like dwellings for up to 24 men, the inmates have developed a strange and violent jail culture. The men - who remain in the cells almost all the time and may only leave for yard time twice a week - live under the sway of a gladiatorial code. They fight each other for food, for status, and often just to pass the endless hours of confinement. Trips to the infirmary are a frequent occurrence as inmates are viciously attacked and beaten, but the guards say they are powerless to end the abuse.

Directors: Emma Cooper
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Law and Disorder in Johannesburg
star
8.65
51 votes

#6 - Law and Disorder in Johannesburg

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/7/2008

Louis Theroux travels to Johannesburg to investigate the increasing amount of crime there. Many citizens are turning to private security companies, with brutal methods, to help protect them and their property.

Directors: Paddy Wivell
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Law and Disorder in Lagos
star
8.62
78 votes

#7 - Law and Disorder in Lagos

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired 10/10/2010

Louis Theroux journeys to Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, to investigate the nature of law and order in the rapidly expanding city. There he follows the Government-run paramilitary task force KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline), notorious union leader MC, and young gang members known as "Area Boys" who unofficially run neighborhoods for money.

Directors: Jason Massot
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The Most Hated Family in America
star
8.59
117 votes

#8 - The Most Hated Family in America

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 4/1/2007

In The Most Hated Family In America, Louis meets the Phelps family, the people at the heart of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. The Phelps have rabid anti-homosexual beliefs, and often campaign at the funerals of American soldiers. They believe that every tragedy in the world is God's punishment for homosexuality. Subtle they are not. Theroux hangs out with the family in Kansas to find out whether there are other sides to their nature. But with any family who run websites like godhatesfags.com and godhatesamerica.com it's going to be difficult. As ever, Louis sticks manfully to the task, but the Phelps' family commune is not a place to be if you're a free-thinking liberal. Explosive stuff!

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Life on the Edge: Beyond Belief
star
8.50
2 votes

#9 - Life on the Edge: Beyond Belief

Season 1 - Episode 41 - Aired 9/6/2020

Since making his television debut on TV Nation in the mid-90s, journalist and film-maker Louis Theroux has become synonymous with documentaries involving subcultures and people on the fringes of society. In the first episode of this career retrospective, Louis looks back at his earliest documentaries and explores how some people’s most fervent beliefs can bring them into conflict with mainstream society. From his Weird Weekends episodes on survivalists and UFOs to his now notorious documentary about the White Aryan Resistance in California (Louis and the Nazis), Louis has always been drawn to those whose beliefs seem unusual, confused or, in some cases, abhorrent. Louis catches up again with some of his previous contributors, including Mike Cain, who he first met in the mid-90s, having moved to the hills of Idaho and armed himself for what he saw as an inevitable war with the federal government. Over 20 years later, his views haven’t changed much – but in Donald Trump, he has a president who finally speaks to him. Louis also tracks down Lamb and Lynx, once members of the white nationalist pop group Prussian Blue. They have since rejected their past and believe their story gives hope that even the most indoctrinated can change their beliefs.

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Louis and the Brothel
star
8.47
94 votes

#10 - Louis and the Brothel

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/9/2003

Louis Theroux travels to the US to visit a newly opened legal brothel in Nevada, the Wild Horse where he spends time hanging around in the background, getting to know the husband/wife owners and some of the girls, especially Hailey who tries to convince Louis to "party" with her in exchange for interviews.

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Extreme Love: Dementia
star
8.39
82 votes

#11 - Extreme Love: Dementia

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired 4/26/2012

Louis travels to Phoenix, Arizona - the capital of dementia care. He spends time at Beatitudes, a residential institution, and also with those looking after loved ones at home to try to understand the struggle of living in a world of encroaching shadows - and of keeping relationships alive in circumstances that can be among the strangest and most challenging imaginable.

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A Place for Paedophiles
star
8.34
80 votes

#12 - A Place for Paedophiles

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired 4/19/2009

Louis has gained access to Coalinga Mental Hospital in California, which houses more than 500 convicted paedophiles who have been deemed unsafe for release.

Directors: Emma Cooper
Altered States: Take My Baby
star
8.33
3 votes

#13 - Altered States: Take My Baby

Season 1 - Episode 36 - Aired 11/25/2018

Louis Theroux heads to California, the US adoption capital, where the majority of newborn adoptions are carried out privately, creating a multimillion dollar industry. Agencies, facilitators and lawyers can earn thousands of dollars per baby by matching up pregnant women prepared to give up their newborns with adoptive parents willing to pay up to $50,000 for the privilege. Louis spends time with the birth mothers preparing to hand over their own flesh and blood, uncovering the stories of poverty, addiction and abuse that can push these women into making such a heartbreaking decision. He also meets the adoptive families, paying out huge amounts of money in the hope of being able to raise a child they can't have by natural means - but in a system open to abuse, whether the birth mum hands over the baby hangs in the balance until after the birth.

Directors: Wesley Pollitt
Watch Now:Amazon
America's Most Hated Family in Crisis
star
8.21
173 votes

#14 - America's Most Hated Family in Crisis

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired 4/3/2011

Following up on his 2007 documentary, The Most Hated Family in America, Louis Theroux returns to Topeka, Kansas, for a week-long visit with the Westboro Baptist Church. He again joins the Phelps family on their controversial pickets where they try to antagonise communities with offensive slogans and anti-gay placards. But four years on from Louis's last visit, there are signs of disarray in the Phelps clan. A series of defections of family members has shaken up the church.

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Savile
star
8.16
87 votes

#15 - Savile

Season 1 - Episode 28 - Aired 10/2/2016

In light of the unmasking of Jimmy Savile as a predatory sex offender, and 15 years on from the BBC documentary When Louis Met Jimmy, Louis Theroux sets out to understand how a man who was at the centre of British entertainment and charitable fund-raising for decades was able to get away with a long litany of crimes.

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Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee
star
8.00
5 votes

#16 - Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee

Season 1 - Episode 31 - Aired 10/22/2017

Milwaukee is said to be one of the most racially divided and impoverished cities in the US. With spiraling gun crime and homicide rates, this Midwestern city encapsulates America's complex and troubled relationship with guns and the increasing disharmony between African-American communities and the police. In this episode, Louis spends time with the Milwaukee Police Department as they patrol District 5, home to some of the nation's deadliest streets, with a homicide rate over twelve times the national average, and follows the homicide division as they investigate one of the city's many killings. He also embeds with a family who have recently lost a loved one to gun crime, and he meets a local social activist, once a criminal and gang leader herself, who has turned her life around and is coming up with her own solution to the blight of gun crime. On the streets of Milwaukee, Louis discovers a community who is often misunderstood by, and mistrustful of, the police. Arriving at a time of heightened tension between the police and the African-American community due to a recent police shooting, Louis hears from both sides of the debate and uncovers hope in a desperate city.

Directors: Jason Massot
Life on the Edge: Law and Disorder
star
8.00
3 votes

#17 - Life on the Edge: Law and Disorder

Season 1 - Episode 43 - Aired 9/20/2020

Louis reflects on the criminal justice system in the USA, which has more prisoners than any other country in the world. In documentaries such as Behind Bars and Miami Mega Jail, Louis spent time with hundreds of incarcerated men, discovering a world with its own rules and codes and a system that seemed to be broken. In A Place for Paedophiles, Louis came face to face with those responsible for serious sex crimes against children who were being locked up indefinitely, even after their sentences had been completed. Louis also revisits his documentaries in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, where tensions between the African-American community and the police were already at boiling point, years before the recent killing of George Floyd.

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Life on the Edge: Family Ties
star
8.00
4 votes

#18 - Life on the Edge: Family Ties

Season 1 - Episode 44 - Aired 9/27/2020

Louis examines how the greatest source of love in our lives – our families – can often be the cause of our deepest pain. In his trilogy of documentaries centred around the Westboro Baptist Church, Louis explores the price the family was paying for its devotion to the distorted vision of its patriarch, Pastor Fred Phelps. With Pastor Phelps now dead, the family has been torn apart – some of its members are still utterly devoted, whilst others have left, forbidden from ever contacting their families again. Louis also reflects on how physical and mental health or forces beyond our own control can threaten to derail our family lives. He catches up with contributors from Trans Kids and A Different Brain to see how life has changed since he saw them last.

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Louis and the Nazis
star
7.95
128 votes

#19 - Louis and the Nazis

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/21/2003

Louis Theroux travels to California to meet the man dubbed "the most dangerous racist in America"; Tom Metzger. Louis meets him, his family and his publicity manager as well as following him to skinhead rallies and on a visit to Mexico.

Directors: Stuart Cabb
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America's Medicated Kids
star
7.95
102 votes

#20 - America's Medicated Kids

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 4/18/2010

Louis meets parents who have turned to medication to keep their children under control.

Ultra Zionists
star
7.93
132 votes

#21 - Ultra Zionists

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/3/2011

Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive and disputed areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible. Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish settler movement - finding them warm, friendly, humorous, and deeply troubling.

Directors: Andy Wells
Watch Now:Amazon
The Night in Question
star
7.75
4 votes

#22 - The Night in Question

Season 1 - Episode 37 - Aired 3/4/2019

Louis Theroux heads to American college campuses and comes face-to-face with students whose universities are accusing them of sexual assault. As reports of sexual violence have dramatically increased in recent years, the government has urged US colleges to enforce a stricter code of sexual conduct amongst students. Employing specialist administrators to carry out investigations into alleged misdemeanors, they now have the power to permanently exclude those they deem ‘responsible’. For the victims of sexual assault these new processes, which require less stringent levels of proof than criminal cases, have allowed accusations that might have never been heard in a court of law to be vindicated. But alleged perpetrators believe the attempt to be more vigilant about rape and assault has turned into an overreaction that tramples on due process, and harms innocent people. At the start of this journey, Louis meets a neuroscience major called Saif Khan, who has been accused of raping a fellow student. His University is investigating the claims separately even though Saif has been found not-guilty in a court of law. Though Saif continuously pleads his innocence, Louis is drawn into an increasingly complex world, where separating fact from fiction becomes increasingly challenging. He also meets young women whose claims of sexual assault have previously fallen on deaf ears, who believe that a new approach to handling allegations of sex crimes is not only necessary but long overdue. One such student is Mollie Johnson, whose experience is a powerful reminder that there is now a broader understanding of what sexual assault looks like.

Directors: Lottie Gammon
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Mothers on the Edge
star
7.75
4 votes

#23 - Mothers on the Edge

Season 1 - Episode 38 - Aired 5/12/2019

Louis Theroux returns to the UK to spend time in specialist psychiatric units which treat mothers experiencing serious mental illness whilst allowing them to live alongside their babies. Immersing himself on the wards, he meets women who have been admitted with a range of serious conditions - including depression, anxiety and psychosis - often triggered by birth or the strains of motherhood. As he follows the patients and their families both in hospital and recovering back at home, Louis explores what lies behind their recent crisis and discovers the immense challenge in caring for two people in the most vulnerable state of their lives.

Directors: Mark Casebow
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The City Addicted to Crystal Meth
star
7.71
109 votes

#24 - The City Addicted to Crystal Meth

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired 8/9/2009

Documentary in which Louis Theroux visits Fresno in California's Central Valley to take a look at how crystal meth addiction is affecting the local community. As he infiltrates the town, he experiences the reality of meth abuse, with addicts inviting him into their homes to see them take hit after hit of their favourite drug. He talks to the local police and meets a couple who have sustained their marriage despite a 25-year meth addiction and losing custody of their five children. He also witnesses arrests of families doing meth together, and sees the work being done to combat the destruction caused by the drug.

Extreme Love: Autism
star
7.68
174 votes

#25 - Extreme Love: Autism

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/19/2012

Louis visits one of the best schools in America for autism. He meets the students and their families to get a glimpse of what life is like for them and to experience the pleasures and the strains of one of the most extraordinary kinds of relationship.

Directors: Jamie Pickup
Watch Now:Amazon