American Experience (1988– )
8.3/10
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The Poisoner's Handbook 

From PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: In the early 20th century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner's treasure chest, with radioactive radium, thallium, and morphine ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Iva Baumanova ...
Anna Fredericksen
...
Alexander Gettler
Daniel Brown ...
Defense Lawyer - Creighton Case
Jiri Cap ...
Fremont Jackson
...
Detective McCallister
Filip Dyda ...
Morgue Assistant
Alena Guigarova ...
Annie Jackson
Dominika Hasková ...
Amelia Maggia
Ryan James ...
Prosecutor - Creighton Case
Pavel Koutecký ...
Francesco Travia
Lucie Kozinová ...
Alice Merritt
Iveta Elisabeth Lit ...
Katherine Schaub
Howard Lotker ...
Abraham Freireich
Curtis Matthew ...
Prosecutor - Creighton Case
...
Judge - Creighton Case
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Storyline

From PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: In the early 20th century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner's treasure chest, with radioactive radium, thallium, and morphine in everyday products. The pace of industrial innovation increased, but the scientific knowledge to detect and prevent crimes committed with these materials lagged behind until 1918. New York City's first scientifically trained medical examiner, Charles Norris, and his chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, turned forensic chemistry into a formidable science and set the standards for the rest of the country. Written by Anonymous

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poison | See All (1) »


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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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7 January 2014 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

 
Fascinating and completely disgusting at times...
9 January 2016 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

If you decide to watch this episode of "American Experience", I STRONGLY recommend you think twice. While it is VERY interesting, it's also quite disgusting at times. Again and again, old photos of dead people (some REALLY awful looking) are shown on the program. A few of them are just god-awful looking...so I am warning you...think twice!!!

The show itself is a fascinating show about the history of forensic science and the history of the coroner's office in New York City. Up until the 1910s, there was no way to determine how folks had been poisoned and whether or not it occurred by accident or if it was murder...and the rise of a new science helped to correct this. The show is actually based on a book, "Poisoner's Handbook" by Deborah Blum and you see her throughout the show along with many other experts. The main hero, so to speak, in this story is Charles Norris--a man who worked tirelessly to create a new sort of science. It also centers on one of his workers, the tireless Alexander Gettler. I could easily say more and talk about the many different topics covered (as well as the fascinating story of Mary Creighton), but it's really something you should see for yourself. Overall, a very interesting and HORRIFYING episode well worth seeing IF you have the stomach for it.


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