Acclaimed filmmaker Nanfu Wang’s new docuseries, “Mind Over Murder,” will premiere June 20 at 10 p.m. PT on HBO Max.
Produced by Vox Media Studios, the six-part show will explore the complicated nature of memory, as told through the 1985 Nebraska murder case featuring the “Beatrice Six.”
Wang — whose “Hooligan Sparrow” was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Oscars — will use the case to shed light on the fallibility of police confessions and how recovered memories can inadvertently induce false ones, which in tandem produce wrongful convictions. The docuseries will feature previously unavailable archival footage, including the original interrogation videos, as well as interviews with the family members of the victim and the Beatrice Six and former government officials involved in the case.
“Mind Over Murder” unravels the complex story of six people who were wrongfully convicted of killing a 68-year-old grandmother, Helen Wilson, in Beatrice, Nebraska. While five individuals confessed to the crime, all were later exonerated by DNA evidence decades later, in 2009, which caused a rift of opinions in the rural town.
The story will follow the original investigation and trial, as well as the subsequent exoneration and resulting civil suits. The Beatrice Six served a combined 70 years in prison and were thereafter awarded $28 million in damages.
The “Born In China” Emmy nominee’s series also prioritizes healing old animosities — which still run high in the town — through a staged, local theater production drawn from court records, investigative reports and police interviews.
Wang, Marc Smerling, Max Heckman, Chad Mumm, Mark W. Olsen serve as executive producers, alongside HBO’s Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller and Sara Rodriguez.