Al Jazeera America logo AJAMBeginning this Sunday, May 18, cable news channel Al Jazeera America launches an all-new original documentary series that “explores the state of our legal system.”

Titled “The System with Joe Berlinger,” the eight-part series is directed by documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger.

The series begins with an examination of the justice system’s use of confessions. The other topics will be: mandatory sentencing, forensics, eyewitness identification, juvenile justice, policing strategies, parole and prosecutorial integrity.

Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger

More information is here.

Before I hear from concerned readers (whose hackles may rise at mention of the Al Jazeera brand), I add: I have not been privy to any preview tape, so I cannot prejudge whether and how a balanced presentation is achieved. The director, Joe Berlinger, is an experienced journalist, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

You may want to read a Q&A with Berlinger.

Here is a trailer for the series. (It is long on production values and short on substance, so it may not tip your viewing habits one way or the other.)

By entering your ZIP Code on the website, you can determine if the channel is available in your viewing area.

Do any of you intend to watch? I am (gasp!) cable-free, so I am unlikely to find a way to see it. But if you do watch it, I’d appreciate hearing your response to the first one that airs Sunday. Write to me at