Netflix docuseries tackle food industry, corporate corruption

Digital streaming giant Netflix is delving deeper into true crime with original series from Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Zero Point Zero Productions. In January 2018, Netflix is slated to air ...
December 14, 2017

Digital streaming giant Netflix is delving deeper into true crime with original series from Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Zero Point Zero Productions.

In January 2018, Netflix is slated to air two original doc series: Dirty Money and Rotten (pictured).

Dirty Money, produced by Gibney’s Jigsaw, aims to uncover the untold stories of greed and corruption in some of the world’s biggest companies, using rare footage alongside first-hand accounts from perpetrators and their victims.

Each episode of the six-part series will be helmed by a different documentary director. Fisher Stevens, for example, will profile the rise of Donald Trump’s career in The Confidence Man. In Maple Syrup Heist, Brian McGinn examines a mysterious case where $20 million of maple syrup goes missing in Canada. Gibney will direct the premiere episode, which reveals new details about automaker Volkswagen’s corporate deceit. Additional episodes include Payday (Jesse Moss), Drug Short (Erin Lee Carr) and Cartel Bank (Kristi Jacobson).

Dirty Money premieres Jan. 26 across the SVOD platform.

Elsewhere, the team behind Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown  and The Mind of a Chef have produced a new series that gives viewers a look at the seedy underbelly of food production.

Rotten, produced by Zero Point Zero Productions, aims to expose the corruption, waste and dangers behind everyday eating habits. The six-part series will tackle the global honey business, food allergies, the U.S. garlic scene, chicken-growing, the dairy industry, and fisheries.

The series debuts Jan. 5 on Netflix.

Find below a detailed list of each episode of Dirty Money and Rotten, along with descriptions supplied by Netflix.


HARD NOx (Directed by Alex Gibney)
Gibney reveals shocking new details about VW’s corporate deceit, and exposes the unholy alliance between governments and automakers that allowed the automaker to put tens of thousands of lives at risk — all for the sake of a $500 part.

THE CONFIDENCE MAN (Directed by Fisher Stevens)
A rollicking profile of the rise and reign of TRUMP Inc. Weaving together a tapestry of tales in real estate booms and busts, Stevens lays out how Donald Trump’s business career transformed from epic failures into a consummate branding machine that propelled him into office.

PAYDAY (Directed by Jesse Moss)
Targeting unsuspecting Americans, a group of payday lenders made millions off small loans with undisclosed charges, inflated interest rates and incomprehensible rules. But the way the laws are written, is that a crime or just business?

DRUG SHORT (Directed by Erin Lee Carr)
Wall Street short-sellers expose a scam that regulators overlook: how Big Pharma gouges patients in need of life-saving drugs.

CARTEL BANK (Directed by Kristi Jacobson)
For decades, HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. Senator Elizabeth Warren, dogged journalists and prosecutors try to hold the bankers to account. But will they be judged “too big to jail?”

THE MAPLE SYRUP HEIST (Directed by Brian McGinn)
In Canada, maple syrup is worth more than oil.  When $20 million of syrup goes missing, the trail leads back to an epic battle between cartels and the little guy.


Explores the new global honey business, and largest food fraud investigation and prosecution in history—a scam known as “Honeygate.”

In the last twenty years, there’s been a surge of people suffering from severe food allergies. A look at the swelling body of science around this change, and the accountability of restaurateurs in caring for their most vulnerable customers.

A lucrative and controversial commerce relationship between the U.S. and China forms the backdrop for a David-and-Goliath tale of loyalty, betrayal and revenge on the American garlic scene.

From the lowliest hen to the richest magnate, the size and scale of chicken-growing has determined the fate of every player in this expansive food chain.

To boost profits, some dairy farmers are switching to produce upscale organic milk, or even “raw” unpasteurized milk, but it comes with the risk of pathogens which can sicken and even kill consumers.

In the wake of overfishing in New England, the US government stepped in to regulate and save the fisheries.  The unintended result was a wave of consolidation that set the stage for massive criminal exploitation.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.