HBO Original Three-Part Documentary Series MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE, AND RECKONING Debuts December 4
The Documentary Series Explores A Polarizing 1989 Murder
· The HBO Original three-part documentary series MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE, AND RECKONING, produced and directed by Jason Hehir ("The Last Dance," HBO's "Andre The Giant" ), and produced in association with The Boston Globe, debuts MONDAY, DECEMBER 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by episodes two and three airing subsequent Mondays at the same time. The documentary series will debut on HBO and will be available to stream on Max.
· Synopsis: On October 23, 1989, Charles "Chuck" Stuart places a frantic 911 call reporting that he and his pregnant wife, Carol, a white couple, have been shot by a Black man in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood. The ensuing investigation proves to be a lightning rod for the city, igniting decades-old racial tensions and brutal targeting amidst a media firestorm.
After Carol succumbs to her injuries that night, Boston mayor Raymond Flynn declares a citywide manhunt for the killer. When Carol and Chuck's baby also dies just days after being born, the homicides are thrust further into the spotlight. As the mostly Black and Latino residents of Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood suffer aggressive raids, "stop and frisk" searches, and some questionable police tactics, the already fraught relationship between residents and Boston Police disintegrates. Fanned by the media uproar and simmering tensions, and with skepticism from the Black community and some members of the press about the veracity of Chuck's story, the police face increasing pressure to solve the case and Boston is transformed into a powder keg as the quest for an arrest reaches a critical juncture.
Thoughtfully braiding extensive archive coverage of the incident, the years leading up to it, and its aftermath, with more than a dozen present-day interviews of people affected at the time including residents, community members, journalists who covered the case, Bennett family members, city officials and a retired Boston police officer, MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE, AND RECKONING chronicles the complex history of race-based hostilities in the city, which exploded with the desegregation of schools and the Garrity busing ruling of 1974. The series explores the enduring, painful toll the Stuart case has had on the families involved, on Boston race relations, and how a community can be brutalized in a rush to justice.
Episode 1: "Roots"
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
The shocking shooting of a white couple at the hands of an alleged Black assailant makes headlines and Boston's facade as a progressive city begins to slip as its unsavory legacy of racial violence and segregation again comes to the fore. Tensions escalate as police descend upon the Black community, arresting their first suspect - a Black man in Mission Hill whose possession of an Adidas tracksuit puts him in their crosshairs.
Episode 2: "Rampage"
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
After evidence against their first suspect falls apart, the Boston Police Department continues its aggressive targeting of Black neighborhoods, eventually leading to a second suspect, a local man named William Bennett with a long police record. Bennett is arrested and held on an unrelated charge, while police continue to gather evidence against him. Newspapers vie for the chance to tell Chuck's story as media and police ignore issues in his version of events.
Episode 3: "Reckoning"
Debut date: MONDAY, DECEMBER 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
In a shocking twist two months after the murder, Chuck commits suicide and surprising revelations emerge from his brother, Matthew. Troubling errors in the police investigation also come to light and the Black community responds in anger at the prejudicial manhunt and the media's handling of the story. Bostonians are left to confront the lasting impact of the Stuart case and to reflect on the enduring damage to their city.
The Boston Globe in association with HBO, is also producing an original investigative podcast that will dive deep into the Charles Stuart story. This nine-part series will feature extensive reporting by acclaimed Globe journalists Evan Allen, Brendan McCarthy, Andrew Ryan, Elizabeth Koh, and Adrian Walker.
· Featured Participants: Along with a wealth of archival footage, the series features new interviews with Mission Hill residents Dereck Jackson, Joey "Toot" Bennett, Veda Bennett, Diane Bennett, Sharita Bennett, Ebony Bennett, Aiusha Bennett, and community activist Ron Bell; community activists Reverend Jeffrey Brown and Kevin Patterson; Boston historian Dart Adams; reporters Jack Harper and David Ropeik; The Boston Globe associate editor Adrian Walker; Boston Herald reporter Michelle Caruso; friend Barbara Williamson; former President of the Boston NAACP Louis Elisa; author and journalist Howard Bryant; attorney and activist Judge Nancy Gertner; attorney and activist Professor Ted Landsmark; hairstylist Will Zecco; surgeon Dr. Frederick Millham; former Boston Police commissioner William Bratton; former Boston EMS chief Richard Serino; retired Boston Police officer Detective Bill Dunn; former Chief Boston Mayoral Advisor Neil Sullivan; former Boston city councilor Tito Jackson; and former executive editor of The Boston Globe Brian McGrory.
· Credits: HBO Documentary Films in association with The Boston Globe presents MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE, AND RECKONING, A Little Room Films Production. Directed and produced by Jason Hehir; producers, Jake Rogal, Nicholas Eisenberg, Jilllian Moosmamm; executive producer, Joie Jacoby; executive producers for The Boston Globe, Linda Pizzuti Henry, Dan Krockmalnic. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Sara Rodriguez.