As John Walker Lindh is released from prison, Showtime Documentary Films announced the production of DETAINEE 001, from Emmy(R) winning director Greg Barker (The Final Year, Sergio, Manhunt, Legion of Brothers). The film, which has been in production since 2017, gives the definitive account of Lindh’s story with never-before-revealed details from his legal case and unpacks challenging truths and shifting allegiances behind one of the most compelling and unresolved mysteries of the post-9/11 age. Lindh’s case set a precedent for how Americans caught up in the War on Terror were prosecuted, and the film examines how American military and justice systems have grappled with the two decades since his detention.
Drawing on unique access to the world of intelligence and special operations, DETAINEE 001 pieces together the defining yet almost-forgotten origin story of post-9/11 America. From the battlefield to the courtroom, Barker’s film confronts the unresolved issues at the heart of Lindh’s case, including his role in the uprising that led to the first casualty of the war in Afghanistan, CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann. Even after nearly 20 years, clarity on justice remains elusive, leaving a nagging open sore at the heart of the American soul.
“The complex saga of John Walker Lindh is central to the most controversial legal issues in the post 9/11 era of the United States,” said Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Non-Fiction Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Beyond the confusion of a young man from California caught standing side by side with the Taliban, the handling of Lindh’s case remains one of the more curious events since the attacks on 9/11. DETAINEE 001 will be particularly important in advancing the discussion of fundamental assumptions about politics, ideology, terrorism and justice in America.”
“I’ve been intrigued by John Walker Lindh’s story since my first trip to Afghanistan back in 2002, as it has all the hallmarks of a great high-stakes drama, played out on the battlefield and in the courtroom; now, with the perspective of time, it’s clear this is one of those origin stories that came to define an era, and still resonates today,” said director Greg Barker. “The rush of headlines surrounding Lindh’s release from federal prison in the early hours of this morning is reminiscent of the intense news coverage of his capture back in 2001. I’m grateful to SHOWTIME for taking the long view and putting this film into production back in 2017, as one of the privileges of making documentary films is that we have the time to take a step back, figure out what really happened and tell a compelling story that is accurate, gripping and timeless.”