Netflix’s Wormwood is not quite a documentary and not quite a drama—the six-part series from Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris explores the mysterious death of army scientist Frank Olson, who was involved in the CIA’s ultra-shady MK-Ultra program. Whether his participation was willing is one of many questions that Morris’ film explores, combining interviews with dramatizations of what may have happened, starring Peter Sarsgaard as Olson.
The trailer is a lot to digest: Opening in medias res with Sarsgaard’s Olson, dosed with LSD and distraught, it segues into an interview with Olson’s son, who is still grappling with the circumstances of his father’s death some 60 years later. The trailer’s jarring cuts from dramatization to archival footage and back contribute to its tone of unmoored paranoia, with harrowing imagined scenes made all the more chilling when juxtaposed with the Olson family’s nightmarish reality.
Wormwood also stars Molly Parker, Bob Balaban, Christian Camargo and Tim Blake Nelson. The series streams on Netflix on Dec. 1. Watch the trailer above, and find Netflix’s synopsis below.
Directed by boundary-breaking filmmaker Errol Morris, Wormwood explores the limits of knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in our search for the truth through the story of one man’s sixty-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s mysterious death. Combining a virtuosic performance by with Morris’ legendary interview style, Wormwood examines this case from every possible angle, bringing the viewer face-to-face with some of the United States’ darkest secrets.