"Trial By Fire"
Directed by Edward Zwick, the fact-based drama Trial By Fire questions the 2004 execution of Texan Cameron Todd Willingham for the 1991 murder of his three children by arson. Corsicana resident Cameron Todd Willingham (Unbroken and Money Monster’s Jack O'Connell) was convicted in 1992 of killing his daughters—2-year-old Amber and 1-year-old twins Karmon and Kameron—by setting his house on fire. Willingham, who claimed the fire was started accidentally, was executed in 2004 despite unreliable witness testimony and a fire expert’s review that questioned the evidence against Willingham. Trial By Fire details Willingham’s decade on Death Row and the legal efforts to exonerate Willingham. Laura Dern portrays Elizabeth Gilbert, the Houston playwright who befriended Willingham and campaigned to prove his innocence. Trial By Fire is based on the David Grann’s 2009 New Yorker article of the same name and letters exchanged between Willingham and Gilbert. Austin-based director Joe Bailey Jr. and Steve Mims previously examined Cameron Todd Willingham’s trial, conviction and execution with their 2011 documentary Incendiary: The Willingham Case. Edward Zwick first made his name in television as the co-creator of Thirtysomething, which air on ABC from 1987-1991. He followed his directorial debut with About Last Night …—his 1986 adaptation of the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago—with Glory, the Civil War race drama that marked the first of three collaborations with Denzel Washington. On the strength of Glory, Zwick would go on to direct more period and contemporary epics set during a time of conflict, most notably Legends of the Fall, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Defiance, as well as Courage Under Fire andThe Siege with Denzel Washington. But he’s also found time to direct the intimate dramedies Leaving Normal, Love & Other Drugs, and the Bobby Fischer fact-based drama Pawn Sacrifice with Tobey Maguire. He last directed the Tom Cruise 2016 sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. His other television series include My So-Called Life, Once and Again, Nashville, and the upcoming Hilary Swank space drama Away for Netflix.
Aired: May 13, 2019