Trial 4

Series/Documentary / English / 1 season (8 episodes). Each episode is between 45 and 60 minutes / Original Release: 2020


Sean Ellis was a 19-year old African-American man who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. After purchasing Pampers at Walgreens for his cousin, Sean proceeded to the parking lot. At the same time, police officer John Mulligan was shot and killed while sitting in his parked car. The officer was brutally shot five times in the face, execution-style. With skimpy evidence, the first two trials led to deadlocked juries. Sean was convicted in the third trial and started what would be 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Enter pro bono attorney Rosemary Scapicchio. Fearless and aggressive, she is determined to exonerate Sean. She uncovers corruption and wrongdoing in the previous trials. She files an appeal and a Federal court judge rules  a fourth trial must take place. Justice will be done but only after an innocent person sat for so many years in prison. As Boston Globe journalist Adrian Walker wrote, “The cops were looking for someone to pin this murder on.”

Sean Ellis / Rosemary Scapicchio
Why Stream This Film?
It’s long, it’s detailed, and very upsetting. It’s a tragic example of  how racism and corrupt police can knowingly convict an innocent person. And it illustrates, heartbreakingly, that to overturn a wrongful conviction, you often have to be extremely lucky. 
  • The film received a high 7.4/10 IMDb rating

Now streaming on:

TRIAL 4 is one of the densest true crime docuseries ever made. Police officers paid witnesses, robbed criminals, and coerced testimony. The doc devotes a lot of time analyzing the entire system that allowed them to get away with it.
Brian Tallerico

Ever since Netflix launched the modern true-crime docuseries five years ago, networks and services have been seeking stories with heft. TRIAL 4 fits that bill—dealing with police misconduct, systemic racism and a miscarriage of justice.
Brian Lowry

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