PBS International
>> Login/Register Search
>> advanced search
Home Programs In production Downloads About us
New ReleasesPrograms by GenreHi Definition
Arts & CultureChildren'sCurrent AffairsHuman InterestHistoryLifestyleScienceSocial Issues
Program Details Back to List
Poisoner’s Handbook, The

To screen online Login or Register

Fast search for:

Keyword: Medicine, Forensic
Production: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

New Titles
HD Titles
In Production Titles

Poisoner’s Handbook, The
History

“A fascinating look back at how the chemical age changed police work.”—Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“…beautifully captures everything that made the book so special while taking full advantage of the visual medium.”—Christie Wilcox, DiscoverMagazine.com

In the early 1900s, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner’s treasure chest. There was radioactive radium in health tonics, thallium in depilatory creams, morphine in teething medicine, and potassium cyanide in cleaning supplies. While the tools of the murderer’s trade multiplied as the pace of industrial innovation increased, the scientific knowledge (and the political will) to detect and prevent the crimes lagged behind. All this changed in 1918, when New York City hired its first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris. Over the course of a decade and a half, Norris and his extraordinarily driven and talented chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, would turn forensic chemistry into a formidable science, sending many a murderer to the electric chair, and setting the standards that the rest of the country would ultimately adopt. The film is based on Deborah Blum's best-selling book of the same title.

Download fact sheet >>

Terms of Use | © 2007-2014 PBS Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are owned by PBS unless otherwise noted.