AUTOPSY: MICHAEL JACKSON’S LAST HOURS. Transcript of the false show on British TV
Friends, below is the transcript of the false autopsy show from British TV on which Susannerb and me have painstakingly worked for the past few days.
I added to the transcript the description of background pictures to give you a better idea of what it’s like. Almost every sentence here requires a comment but I’ve tried to limit myself to a complete minimum which is still a lot, I’m afraid.
The comments come in the form of side notes. The notes for the second part of the transcript will be added later as the potential for them is infinite and I am struggling to choose.
Dr.Richard Shepherd is not as bad as the other participants but there are a couple of questions to him too.
At the end of the text there is a link to the video in case the transcript hasn’t been enough for you.
00:00 TV announcers: The singer Michael Jackson is reported to have died from a heart attack. …to the USLA medical center but it appears it was too late… Apparently suffered… He arrived in hospital in a deep coma and died….
[photos of MJ, TV people announcing the news, fans mourning]
00:12 Narrator: 2:26 pm on June 25th 2009. Michael Jackson, controversial megastar, entertainer and pop icon is pronounced dead in Los Angeles.
[photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney]
Reporter: Brother Jermaine says no one gave up.
Narrator: Jackson is just 50 years old.
[the photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney with a close-up on his face]
0:34 Reporter: The sidewalk just outside the hospital quickly became a strange mix of grieving for a loss and celebrating a unique brand of music.
[pictures of a fan crying and other fans dancing]
0:40 Narrator: His sudden and unexplained death sparks a police investigation that questions every detail of his passing.
[pictures of three pill bottles in the bathroom, propofol and saline bag, a bottle on the bedroom floor, three pill bottles and a syringe (without a needle) on a bedside table]
0:49 Police officer: Robbery/ homicide was assigned to this because of a high profound nature of it.
[picture of a helicopter flying]
Narrator: But it is his lifeless body that reveals the most telling answers.
Reporter: It was unceremoniously loaded in a van and driven to the LA County Coroner’s office.
Narrator: His corpse was pored over by a team of medical experts.
[the camera shows scissors cutting the skin]
Jermaine Jackson: He is believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest in his home. However the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known.
[the picture of MJ’s dead body on a gurney]
1:25 AUTOPSY: The last hours of Michael Jackson [a break for a commercial]
1:30 Narrator: World-renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Richard Shepherd has been performing high-profile autopsies for more than 25 years.
[Dr. Richard Shepherd walks into a darkened room with a notepad in his hands and leans over a synthetic cadaver]
Narrator: He was the expert witness at inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana, Jill Dando and victims of the 9/11 attacks
[Dr. Shepherd uses a knife on the body and places some tissue into a glass].
1:51 Dr. Shepherd: The fascinating thing about an autopsy is that it doesn’t just tell you how a person died. It can tell you even more – about how they lived. And it is non-judgmental. It is a scientific acquisition of facts. And the fact that the individual is a celebrity makes no difference at all.
[picture of MJ’s naked body with tags on his legs and hand]
Dr. Shepherd: There are no celebrities on the mortuary slab.
2:18 Narrator: Now Richard Shepherd will forensically unpick Jackson’s autopsy and piece together what happened in the final hours of his life.
[Dr. Shepherd is making notes in a pad]
2:30 Dr. Shepherd: This is a coroner’s report into the death of Michael Jackson [shows the autopsy papers]. These hard, cold medical facts tell us who he was and what he was doing. More than that they give a timeline of the events leading up to his death.
2:45 [the caption shows time 11:30 a.m. June 24th]
Narrator: June 24th 2009. Jackson is renting a mansion in Beverly Hills. In just nineteen days time he will embark on a sell-out fifty date residency tour at London’s O2 arena.
[the MJ actor is shown waking up in his bed]
2:59 [photo of Michael as a child]
Narrator: Forty years previously Michael Jackson had burst onto the music scene [photo of Jackson 5]. As the lead singer of the Jackson 5 he was propelled into international mega stardom.
3:15 Terry Harvey, music promoter [with a cigar in his hands]: Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. He was the king of entertainment.
[the video of MJ arriving for his last public performance at World Music Awards in London in 2006]
Terry Harvey: He did things that no one else could do. He was untouchable.
3:25 [photo of MJ in the Thriller era]
Narrator: Jackson was the most successful entertainer the world had ever seen [picture with Quincy Jones].
Narrator: Combined song and concert netted him an estimated $750 million dollars.
[picture of an article headlined 35M $ilence. Report says molesting 24 kids cost Jackson a mint. ‘FBI’files dated to ’89’ not given to prosecutors’].
Narrator: But by 2009 his personal fortune had all but gone.
[the camera is slowly moving from left to right reading the headline]
Narrator: High profile court cases and reckless spending had left him on the brink of bankruptcy.
[the camera stops on the word $ilence]
3:44 Caption on the screen: Jackson’s mansion Beverly Hills 10 am June 19th 2009
[the camera shows the MJ actor in bed and the Murray actor in an armchair]
3:50 James Desborough, showbiz journalist:
Michael Jackson had essentially been a recluse for 12 years, not touring, not really having any huge record releases like his past. He was around $400 million in debt. He also had over 30 lawsuits lined up against him.
4:15 Narrator: For Jackson there was only one way out.
[‘Murray’ is shown placing two pills into ‘MJ’s palm and him swallowing the pills].
Narrator: To ease his debt he must perform a grueling schedule of concerts in London. And to ensure his health and fitness he is depending on his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray. But Jackson would never make an opening night.
[The caring ‘Murray’ is shown putting overalls on ‘MJ’].
4:45 Dr. Shepherd: If you look at the autopsy the first thing we see is the male of approximately 50 years. There are no significant injuries but there are some grazes and abrasions to the center of the chest.
[he shows the photo of MJ’s naked body with an abrasion on his chest]
Dr. Shepherd: I don’t think these are significant as the cause of his death, but we do know that he had quite a prolonged and extensive resuscitation [photo of MJ’s naked body] and these injuries are typical of this type of resuscitation.
[the photo of MJ with a close up on the lower part of his naked body, followed by the picture of MJ “dangling” his baby son from the hotel balcony]
5: 06 Narrator: Jackson’s life was dogged with moments that were both controversial and bizarre. And the secrets revealed by his autopsy report are no different.
[the camera shows snatches from the autopsy report]
Dr. Shepherd: The autopsy report states that he is black and that is of course correct, but if you look to the body objectively not knowing that it is Michael Jackson it wouldn’t be that clear cut.
[the camera is going over the white skin of the MJ actor]
5:31 James Desborough: Millions of column inches have been devoted to the subject of Michael’s skin. Was he black? Was he turning white? Was he turning himself white? These are the questions that everyone wanted to know.
5:45 Caption – Oprah Winfrey show February 10th 1993
Oprah Winfrey: The color of your skin is obviously different than it was when you were younger.
5:50 Narrator: Jackson tried to quash the rumors in a TV interview, but the manner of his answers and his body language made few believe him.
Oprah Winfrey: What have you done or are doing? Are you bleaching your skin? Is your skin lighter because you don’t like to be black?
Michael: I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. It’s something that I cannot help, okay? People make up stories that I don’t like to be who I am and it hurts me.
6:18 Dr. Shepherd: You can see from the autopsy that just as Jackson maintained he did have a skin condition. In the darker areas there are lighter blotches and it appears in these lighter blotches the skin stopped producing pigment.
[the animation shows how melanocite cells producing Melanin change the color of skin]
Narrator: Cells called melanocites produce a dark pigment Melanin that colors the skin, but these cells are absent in the autopsy.
Dr. Shepherd: And without it the skin is pale. That explains Jackson’s appearance and is consistent with the disease called Vitiligo.
6:50 Narrator: So Jackson did have a skin disease but doubt still remained about all the claims he made in the interview.
[the camera moves over the MJ actor’s white body]
Oprah Winfrey: I just want to get this straight. You are not taking anything to change the color of your skin?
Michael: Oh God, no. We are trying to control it and using make-up evening it out because it makes blotches on the skin. I have to even out my skin.
[the camera shows the label of the Benoquin 20% cream admitted as evidence at Murray’s trial]
7:11 Narrator: But evidence found at the crime scene shows this wasn’t true.
[photo of an invoice from Applied Pharmacies for shipping 20 pcs of Benoquin cream]
Narrator: Jackson spent a large amount of money on the skin bleaching drug called Benoquin.
[the Murray actor is shown rubbing the cream into the white arms of ‘MJ’]
7:23 James Disborough: It turns out that Michael had been getting treatment for his Vitiligo from a doctor called Arnold Klein for about 25 years.
[picture of MJ, Klein and Liz Taylor]
Narrator: Based in Beverly Hills Klein was the dermatologist to the stars. His other clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Carrie Fisher and Sharon Stone.
[picture of all three of them]
7:45 Narrator: Klein recommended this lotion to Jackson when they first met. It prevents dark pigment being made in areas unaffected by vitiligo. For half of his life Jackson had been bleaching his skin.
[‘Murray’ in latex gloves is spreading Benoquin cream over the abdomen, shoulders and arms of the MJ actor]
Narrator: The King of Pop was fixated with his appearance.
Dr. Shepherd: There were several scars on his face and neck that are typical of previous plastic surgery. The nose is an extensive site of modification. It’s caved in on one side and the bridge is entirely missing.
8:17 Narrator: Jackson would become addicted to plastic surgery.
Narrator: And this all-consuming obsession can be traced back to a single catastrophic event.
8:36 Caption on the screen: AUTOPSY: The last hours of Michael Jackson [a break for a commercial]
8:41 Narrator: On June 25th 2009 pop megastar Michael Jackson died suddenly in Los Angeles. The world was shocked by his passing asking why the King of Pop died at just 50 years of age.
[photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney is followed by a close up on Michael’s face]
8:59 Narrator: Now leading forensic pathologist Dr. Shepherd is investigating Jackson’s autopsy and uncovering secrets hidden in Jackson’s life.
[Dr. Shepherd is looking at an X-ray in a darkened room and writing something on an autopsy report]
9:11 Dr. Shepherd: There were several scars on his face and neck that are typical of previous plastic surgery. And he had a cleft inserted into his chin which would certainly have changed his appearance.
[picture of smiling MJ with a cleft in his chin]
9:23 Dr. Shepherd: The nose is an extensive site of modification.[the blurred scene of the MJ actor applying something to his nose]
Dr. Shepherd: It’s caved in on one side and the bridge is entirely missing. And this is one of the signs of extensive plastic surgery.
9:36 James Desborough: His brothers used to tease him about the size of his nose calling him “Big nose”.
[photos of MJ as a child and of Jackson 5]
It really left an emotional scar on him. And the minute he found out about plastic surgery he began to have work on his nose.
9:49 Narrator: Over the years Jackson visited the surgeons’ table again and again – changing not only his nose but almost his entire face.
[the picture of young Marlon Jackson is compared with the photos of MJ after his nose surgery]
Narrator: In the press he became known as Wacko Jacko. It was public property. But the autopsy reveals he did manage to keep one secret from the media for 25 years.
[Dr. Shepherd is looking at an X-ray and writes something in a note pad]
10:13 Dr. Shepherd: Jackson’s hair is not his own. He is wearing a wig. It is held on by semi-permanent glue and there are some sparse areas of his own hair on the side and back of his head.
[the MJ actor is shown with a bottle of glue and a brush in his hand]
Narrator: Other than these patches the King of Pop was almost entirely bald.
[the blurred picture of the MJ actor applying glue to his forehead]
Narrator: Despite being a tabloid target he had kept this hidden for a quarter of a century.
10:38 Dr. Shepherd: His scalp reveals reason for his baldness.
[the autopsy drawing shows scars on the back of MJ’s head]
Dr. Shepherd: There’s an area of scarring on the top and back of his head. And this scarring is consistent with the burn.
10:50 The caption on the screen dates MJ’s Pepsi burn as January 27, 1984.
[the full video of the accident is shown]
10:51 Narrator: In 1984 Jackson was at the height of his powers. His album Thriller had become the biggest selling album of all time. Filming a Pepsi commercial with his brothers would mark the start of his decline, when a pyrotechnic device set fire to his hair. He suffered severe second and third-degree burns to his scalp which left him needing to wear wigs for the rest of his life.
11:26 Ian Halperin Author, Unmasked, the Final Years of Micheal (sic) Jackson:
Michael never recovered from that. The Pepsi incident changed Michael’s career forever. Michael became extremely self-conscious about his appearance. He became extremely paranoid about the people around him. He felt damaged, he felt hurt, he felt betrayed.
[a blurred video of ‘MJ’ putting his jacket and a dark cloak on]
11:51 Narrator: The accident also triggered a habit that eventually claimed his life. Recovering from his injuries he became hooked on painkillers. These were gateway drugs that led to multiple drug addictions.
[a blurred picture of ‘MJ’ shaking something from a vial of pills into his palm and swallowing it]
12:08 Emma Kenny, counselor & psychologist: A gateway drug is something you can buy over the counter. And because it is so hugely available it means that people who may be susceptible to wanting to having harder drugs can get involved in that process. So you may start on Paracetamol and then you may lead up until much more dangerous drugs.
12:28 Narrator: Over the years Jackson also became dependent on sedatives, alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs and even morphine.
[several pictures of MJ with fans screaming in the background]
12:40 Narrator: Without prescription drugs he could not function, sing, dance or perform.
[MJ speaks at a press-conference on March 5, 2009]
Michael Jackson at the press-conference: I love you. I really do. You have to know that.
Narrator: Six months before his death Michael Jackson announced a punishing schedule of 50 concerts.
Michael Jackson: I’ll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. This is it. I mean this is really it. This is the final – this is the final curtain call.
13:15 James Desborough: Before rehearsals began Michael Jackson was telling everyone how excited he was about coming out and reclaiming his crown as the King of Pop, and also showing his kids what he could do on the global stage.
13:34 Narrator: But behind closed doors the promoters AEG were concerned that Jackson wasn’t up to performing his trademark high-energy routines.
[the blurred picture of ‘MJ’ sitting in a car and swallowing a pill]
13:45 Narrator: They began to question health scares published by the press.
[snatches from some emails say: urgent attention… hospitalized…cancer… bleeding…anorexia].
Narrator: His personal doctor Conrad Murray assured them that apart from his insomnia Jackson was in good physical condition.
[the camera shows an excerpt from Murray’s medical records of August, 2008 with words “insomnia” and “great health” singled out. The text said:
“Patient complains of insomnia and difficulty to sleep. He has no evidence of mood changes or signs of depression. He is otherwise doing quite well and at this time is in great health.
Plan: 1) Restoril 30mg I po hs PRN 2) Follow-up as needed. Conrad R. Murray M.D.]
13:59 Narrator: But not everyone was so convinced.
[the camera shows the gargantuan Terry Harvey with a cigar sitting in a car]
Terry Harvey: Ha-ha-ha.
Narrator: Terry Harvey is a music promoter with close links to the Jackson family.
14:11 Terry Harvey: How fit would someone have to be to perform for 2,5 hours in good shape? Do I think Michael didn’t have the energy and stamina for fifty nights? He didn’t have the stamina to do 30 minutes.
[the MJ actor is shown walking in a dark cloak in the corridor of an O2 arena]
14:29 Ian Halperin: Michael knew deep down – there was no way he’d be able to perform 50 shows.
[blurred picture of ‘MJ’ walking in a dark cloak]
Ian Halperin: Michael told people close to him – he didn’t know he could do two shows.
14:43 Narrator: So what was the truth about Jackson’s fitness? Was he really up to the tour?
14:50 Dr. Shepherd [with the autopsy report in his hands]:
The report says he is 136 pounds in weight and he is 5 foot 9 [inches] and he is tall which gives a BMI of 20,1 which is normal. So though he appears slightly thin he is within the acceptable range. You might expect some furring up of the arteries in a man aged fifty but Michael Jackson had no evidence of this. And his heart was in good condition too, so for a man of his age he was in good shape.
15:15 Narrator: Yet Jackson was clearly in trouble at rehearsals.
[the fragment of This is it rehearsal dated June 19th shows MJ doing Billy Jean. He is shown mostly walking]
Narrator: He was short of breath, stiff and unable to perform the routines he was famous for. In the autopsy Richard Shepherd has found a reason for Jackson’s lackluster performance.
15:34 Dr. Shepherd: Several X-rays were taken of Michael Jackson. They showed he had osteoarthritis in some of his fingers and his spine.
15:42 Narrator: The vertebrae in the spine are cushioned by areas of cartilage. In osteoarthritis the cartilage degenerates and the bones are left unprotected. This places pressure on the joint and in extreme circumstances the bones can grind together.
[the animation illustrates the process]
16:06 Dr. Shepherd: This is a condition that would cause him some pain and stiffness and might limit his movements.
16:12 Narrator: Osteoarthritis would explain why Jackson isn’t performing with his trademark sleekness
[a fragment from Billy Jean again]
16:19 Dr. Shepherd: It is a degenerative condition which would only get worse. And though it is not uncommon for a man of 50 it can be triggered by an injury.
16:28 Narrator: In 1999 Jackson did suffer an injury to his spine.
[a video of the accident MJ had when a bridge fell during a Munich concert]
Narrator: During a concert in Germany he plunged 50 feet into an orchestra pit. Although he carried on performing he collapsed in agony soon afterwards. Osteoarthritis could explain why he was struggling with movement. But it couldn’t explain why he was struggling to breathe.
17:12 Dr. Shepherd: His organs were in good condition for his age. The exception is his lungs and they were like a battlefield. The lining of the airway showed a lot of damage and both lungs showed wide-spread inflammation and quite extensive scarring. For Michael Jackson it would have made it hard of him to exert himself and he would have fatigued more easily, and that’s the question I would want to ask – What caused all this damage?
17:36 Narrator: A possible explanation is written all over Jackson’s face. In his mid 20s he developed a symmetrical red rash around his cheeks [photos of MJ of the Thriller era with a red rash on his face], a classic symptom of another rare skin disease – Discoid Lupus which causes hair to fall out anywhere on the body and can damage the lips.
17:59 [photo of dead MJ on the gurney with a close up on his face]
18:00 Dr. Shepherd: We can see from the autopsy that Jackson had dark tattoos on his eye-brows and there were tattoos on his eyelids like eyeliners. And he also got tattoos in pink around his lips.
[photo of dead MJ on the gurney with a close up on his face]
18:12 Narrator: Lupus would also explain Jackson’s habit of using umbrellas.
[photos of MJ with an umbrella]
Narrator: The disease leaves skin sensitive to sunlight. And it doesn’t only affect the skin. It can reek havoc across the whole body.
18:29 Dr. Shepherd: Lupus is an autoimmune disease. And these diseases occur when the body attacks part of itself.
[animation of white blood cells attacking foreign invaders in the body]
Narrator: White blood cells usually attack foreign invaders in the body.
[animation of white blood cells attacking lungs in lupus]
Narrator: But in lupus these cells strike at the body itself including the lungs – leaving them heavily damaged.
18:55 Dr. Shepherd: A chronic disease would have episodes of remission and recurrence. And the recurrence can be triggered off by a number of things – stress, exertion and lack of sleep.
19:05 Narrator: But is there an alternative explanation for Jackson’s lung damage?
[a picture of empty vials and a syringe on the screen]
19:12 Narrator: The 25 years and the increasingly unstable and drug-dependent Jackson had been visiting the clinic of dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein.
[picture of the clinic and the door opening to it]
According to those who worked there these visits had become less and less about his skin.
19:32 Jason Pfieffer, Dr. Klein’s former office-manager: He would be in the office a couple times a week and have very minor procedures done. When he got to the office I would take him in the back door and put him in the procedure room and at that point I go get Dr. Klein’s nurse Ellen and say “Michael is here and he wants a shot”.
[the MJ actor is rolling up his sleep for a shot in his arm]
19:53 Narrator: On every visit he would receive at least one injection. The syringe was full of Demerol, a powerful medical version of Heroin.
[the nurse is shown making an injection]
20:07 Jason Pfieffer: Usually the effects were pretty quick. He might pass out, he might be just tired, he might be loopy.
[the head of the MJ actor falls back on the sofa]
20:16 Narrator: And Jackson didn’t always come to see Dr. Klein alone.
20:20 Jason Pfeiffer: If he was with the kids it would be a little bit of a distraction for him. The kids would usually sit in Dr. Klein’s office. They’d be running and screaming and joking and I’d just say it would be a lot of fun until Michael got really out of it.
20:37 Narrator: As the tour approached Jackson’s requests for these injections became more and more frequent.
20:44 Jason Pfeiffer: He would come in and he would demand to see Dr. Klein quickly and he would want a shot of Demerol as quickly as possible and you could tell that there was something going on.
[an injection is being made into the arm of the actor]
20:56 Narrator: By taking the drug Jackson risked severe lung damage, addiction and even death.
[the photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney with a close up on his face]
Narrator: But Demerol is not what killed Michael Jackson.
21:12 The caption – AUTOPSY: The last hours of Michael Jackson [a break for a commercial]
21:18 [Dr. Shepherd is shown looking at an X-ray]
Narrator: Leading forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd is investigating the final hours of Michael Jackson’s life.
[the photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney with a close-up on his face]
21:29 Dr. Shepherd: The autopsy shows there are no significant injuries on the body and there is no evidence of any significant disease except in the lungs. And so we turn to the next stage. We look at the tell-tale chemical clues in the body – the toxicology report.
[the MJ actor is shown swallowing 2 pills in his bed]
21:44 Narrator: Jackson had well-publicized problems with prescription drugs.
[the MJ actor swallows pills in a car]
Narrator: He’d been in rehab several times and had admitted to addictions to painkillers.
[the MJ actor rolls up his sleeve for a shot]
Narrator: In 2009 he was also having frequent injections of Demerol, a pharmacological equivalent of Heroin.
[the nurse is giving a shot to the MJ actor in the arm]
And by early June Jackson was struggling at the rehearsals for his This is it tour.
22:13 Emma Kenny, counseller & psychologist: Demerol is an incredibly powerful drug. So if you would turn up at a rehearsal on it the reality is you would be disorientated, you’d be dizzy, you’d also struggle with your breath as it creates a shortage of breath. Now this is literally the opposite of what’s required when you are performing.
22:27 Narrator: But in just 19 days time Jackson was due to embark on his record-breaking 50-date residency in London.
[picture of an ad of This is it film]
22:37 James Desborough: Michael Jackson’s mind was not ready. Though publicly he was telling people: “Yes, I can do this” it was clear that by the way he was not turning up for rehearsals, ignoring important production meetings this man was not ready for the This is it comeback.
22:50 Narrator: The situation became so desperate that the tour’s producer Kenny Ortega [photo of smiling Kenny Ortega on the screen] sent an impassioned email to the promoters.
23:00 Caption: Voice of Kenny Ortega [the words in bold type appear on the screen]:
My concern is he appeared quite weak and fatigued this evening. He had a terrible case of the chills , was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. And I believe that he really wants this. It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He is terribly frightened .. It broke my heart. He was like a lost boy. There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs. Sincerely, Kenny
23:29 [MJ is going along the corridor in a dark cloak, the caption says it is June 24th 2009]
23:30 Narrator: The promoters issued Jackson an ultimatum – shape up or they will pull the plug. $400 million in debt, for Jackson this was not an option.
23:45 James Desborough: It was clear that this was about the money being on the line. For Michael – he didn’t have a choice. He had to be there or he’d lose his home, his kids would be homeless and he would be in financial ruin.
23:59 [footage of Billy Jean with a caption saying that it is June 19th 2009]
[At this point I can’t resist interrupting the transcript and posting a Youtube fragment of Billie Jean performed by Michael Jackson for This is it. Of course it was not on June 19th when Michael could not even go on the stage – it was at the beginning of June at the Forum stage. Michael is not dancing full-out as this is a rehearsal and not a show]
24:03 Narrator: As this footage shows five days earlier Jackson had been struggling at rehearsals. He seems sluggish and not in control of his body.
24:14 [footage of MJ performing on June 24th].
Narrator: But the effect of the promoters’ threat was stunning. His next performance was described as ‘electric’ by members of the production team. He was agile, lively and like the Michael Jackson of old.
24:35 James Desborough: Suddenly he makes a miraculous recovery. He gets on stage, he performs 30 to 40 minutes and he is dancing, he is singing and performing in a way which makes them a lot happier.
24:51 Narrator: So how did a 50-year old man with osteoarthritis, lupus, scarred lungs and an addiction to Demerol manage to turn it around?
[footage of This is it rehearsal on June 24th].
Narrator: The clue is lying in Jackson’s body. He gets another narcotic.
25:10 Dr. Shepherd [with the autopsy report in his hands]:
Extensive toxicological testing was performed on numerous samples taken from Jackson’s body. In the urine sample it was noted that a drug called ephedrine was present. Ephedrine is similar to the naturally occurring adrenalin in the body. And adrenalin is the hormone that prepares the body for fight or flight.
[the autopsy report showing traces of ephedrine is on the screen].
Dr. Shepherd: When Jackson took ephedrine it would have been to energize himself.
25:35 Narrator: Jackson had turned to yet another drug [photo of MJ’s house]. In his house police discovered tablets of ECA, a powerful stimulant made from caffeine, aspirin and ephedrine.
[picture of 3 pill bottles on MJ’s bedside. The narrator does not explain that it is Diazepam, Lorazepam and Flomax for the prostate]
Narrator: At high levels this drug can trigger a cardiac failure – the ultimate cause of Jackson’s death.
[picture of 3 pill bottles and a cream in the bathroom. No ECA again]
25:57 Dr. Shepherd: Because the ephedrine is present in his urine and not in his blood, it can’t be having an effect on Jackson’s body and so it can’t have contributed to his death.
26:05 Narrator: But the autopsy throws up a further narcotic surprise.
26:11 Dr. Shepherd: The toxicology analysis looked for but didn’t find Demerol and that shows that Jackson hadn’t been taking the drug for some time.
26:20 Narrator: Jackson made it through his make or break rehearsal by loading his body with stimulants and coming off the heroin-like drug Demerol.
[the MJ actor is shown in a car]
Narrator: But as he returned to his Carolwood mansion this strategy would have deadly repercussions. Because suddenly coming off Demerol is highly risky.
26:41 Emma Kenny: The effects of withdrawing from Demerol can be very, very difficult. In fact to try to do it on your own is downright dangerous. You have issues such as fever, you feel a sense of cold turkey and irksome pains. And one of the biggest side-effects is insomnia.
26:59 Narrator: Jackson had been plagued by the sleeping disorder throughout his adult life.
[the MJ actor is shown in the dark of a car on his way home]
Narrator: Now he is full of stimulants and in withdrawal from Demerol. But his doctor Conrad Murray had no idea Jackson had been taking this drug, let alone that he had suddenly stopped.
[the Murray actor is dialing a number on his phone]
Narrator: Michael Jackson hid his drug habits well.
27:23 Ed Winter, Assistant Chief L.A. Coroner Department: When at the location connecting one of several searches we located a number of number of bottles of prescription medication, not only in Mr. Jackson’s name but in four or five aliases.
[photo of Lorazepam and Diazepam prescribed by Murray, and some drug prescribed in the name of Omar Arnold].
27:38 Narrator: Although the majority of these drugs were prescribed by Murray [picture of the autopsy report with Murray’s name stated for a series of benzos] some were recorded with other doctors [picture of another page stating the names of Klein and Nurse Lee].
27:49 Terry Harvey [smiling and making dance moves]: … he was devious and the king of manipulation. He was the puppet master. He can tell you what you want to hear and look like it is real and guess what? You go – it’s okay, it’s all right, come on, let’s go.
28:02 [the Murray actor is making the bed for the MJ actor and is preparing a saline bag on the IV stand]
Narrator: And Murray was right for manipulation. Like Jackson he was deep in debt. As the London tour didn’t go ahead he too would be financially ruined.
28:16 Narrator: One of his roles was to ensure Jackson could sleep, but the autopsy report suggests this would be problematic.
[the Murray actor is placing a protective pad on the bed]
28:26 Dr. Shepherd: He does have an enlarged prostate which is not at all unusual for a 50 year old man. And this might mean he had some difficulty in urination. It might mean he has to go to the toilet more often.
28:36 Ed Winter: Michael had a condom catheter that he used during his sleep time so that he didn’t have to wake up or be woken up to go and use the bathroom.
[‘Murray’ is taking off ‘MJ’’s overalls. ‘MJ’ gets into bed in his shorts]
28:53 Narrator: But Murray’s master plan to get Jackson to sleep also had a more sinister pharmaceutical element.
[‘Murray’ is shown attaching something to ‘MJ’s knee]
29:00 Dr. Shepherd: The drug that stands out in the toxicology report is Propofol. Propofol is an anesthetic agent which is normally only used in operating theatres and in intensive care units. It’s a very powerful drug. Due to its appearance and its effects it is sometimes known as “milk of amnesia”.
29:17 Narrator: Jackson had been using Propofol as a sleep aid for nearly a decade.
29:21 Ian Halperin: In early 2000 he was in a hospital. One time they administered Michael propofol and he said he really liked the drug and became dependent on it and would get doctors to administer it to him.
29:41 Narrator: Over the years this dependency escalated.
29:47 Jason Pfeiffer: He called me up one Sunday night and said “Mr. Jason, I need an anesthesiologist”. And I said: “What do you need an anesthesiologist for, Michael?” And he said: “Well, I’ve got a media spot in the morning and I need to be fresh for him”. And I said: “This is crazy.” I said, “I don’t understand.” Never in my life had I heard a thing like this. Ever. I was just flabbergasted.
30:06 Narrator: By June 2009 Conrad Murray was feeding Jackson’s Propofol addiction in the star’s own house [‘Murray’ is shown drawing it into a syringe]. For Jackson it was the ideal drug.
30:20 Shepard: Propofol is a very useful drug as you get asleep quickly and and you wake up cleanly with no hangover. But the line between risk and use can be very narrow. And too much drug can cause fatalities.
30:33 Narrator: Murray has been giving Jackson Propofol for 60 nights in a row. But aware of the promoter’s ultimatum he has decided to wean Jackson off the drug. For the last 2 nights he sent Jackson off to sleep using drugs called benzodiazepines instead. And he administered them in an unusual way.
[the blurred image of ‘Murray’ doing something to ‘MJ’s knee]
30:58 Dr. Shepherd: The autopsy report shows an intravenous injection site below the knee. This is a very rare site for any medical resuscitation treatment, but it’s a common site for intravenous drug abuse. Unlike the arms, an injection site on the knees is hidden away and keeps the drug abuse secret.
31:17 Emma Kenny: When you are actually in the press you have to consider the fact that people are watching you all the time, you’re being observed, and your profile is very important to you. So it is not actually unusual for people to inject in areas like the penis, the groin, under the toenails for example, anything that would distract people around them from seeing that they had an issue.
[blurred image of ‘Murray’ handling ‘MJ’’s knee]
Emma Kenny: The reality is that this is just such a sad thing to say because we know that the user is aware of that problems and aware that they don’t want other people to know about them. It means that the user recognizes that they have an issue. They just don’t want to share that issue.
31:53 [Caption on the screen – 1:30 am June 25th]
Narrator: At 1:30 a.m. on the 25th of June, 2009, Conrad Murray gives Jackson a tablet he hopes will help him sleep.
32:00 Dr. Shepherd: There is Valium in the system. Valium is a benzodiazepine drug which is used to treat anxiety, but commonly causes some sedation. It is an addictive drug and long-term use can lead to physical dependence.
32:20 [Caption on the screen – 2:00 am June 25th]
Narrator: But 30 minutes later Jackson is still awake. Murray turns to a faster acting benzodiazepine sedative – Lorazepam.
[‘Murray’ is shown drawing Lorazepam into a syringe and injecting it into a saline bag] (!)
32:41 [Caption on the screen – 3:00 am June 25th]
Narrator: After an hour Jackson still hasn’t fallen asleep, so Murray tries a third benzodiazepine – Midazolam.
32:54 Dr. Shepherd: It may be a little unusual to find 3 different types of benzodiazepine at the same time. But it seems likely if the intent is to get someone to sleep that one would start with a long-acting Valium type drug, move to the medium-acting Lorazepam and then finally have to try the very short-acting Midazolam. So in this situation it does make sense.
33:25 Narrator: Throughout the early hours Murray gives Jackson more and more benzodiazepines.
[‘Murray’ is shown drawing them into a syringe].
33:28 [Caption on the screen – 3:00 am June 25th]
33:33 Narrator: But they have no effect.
[‘Murray’ has a caring look on his face. He is shown walking about, thinking. Symphonic music is accompanying the scene].
33:48 Narrator: By 10 a.m. a desperate Jackson asks for his drug of choice – his milk. He wants Propofol [The MJ actor says: “My milk”].
Narrator: He wants Propofol. But Murray resists. [The MJ actor says: “My milk”]. Jackson protests, he can’t function without sleep and will have to cancel the concerts.
34:25 Narrator: At 10:50 a.m. Conrad Murray finally relents and prepares a dose of Propofol.
[‘Murray’ is shown drawing Propofol into a syringe]
Narrator: As this drug burns when it enters the body, Murray adds a local anesthetic – Lidocaine – to numb the pain.
33:42 [Caption on the screen – 10:50am June 25th]
Narrator: Jackson is unconscious at last.
34:57 [Caption on the screen – 11:05am June 25th]
Narrator: 15 minutes later Conrad Murray reenters the singer’s bedroom.
[‘Murray’ is shown entering the room talking on the phone. He comes up to ‘Michael’s bed and shakes ‘MJ’ by the shoulder with a telephone in his hand]:
“Michael! Michael! Michael!”
35:16 Narrator: Jackson is not breathing. But Murray thinks he can feel a pulse.
[‘Murray’ yells: “Michael!” He does CPR on the bed and looks frantic].
35:34 Narrator: He searches for Flumazenil, a drug that reverses the effects of benzodiazepines. But there is no antidote for Propofol.
[The camera shows ‘Murray’ drawing something into a syringe and injecting it into some spot, and then shaking the body with his both hands and yelling “Michael! Michael!” Then he runs out of the room]
35:55 Caption on the screen: AUTOPSY: The last hours of Michael Jackson [a break for a commercial]
36:00 [With a telephone in his hand ‘Murray’ shakes ‘MJ’ by the shoulder and starts making CPR on the bed].
[He yells]: “Michael! Michael! Michael!”
36:12 Caption on the screen – 11:05am June 25th
Narrator: At 11:05 a.m. on the 25th of June 2009 Michael Jackson is found unconscious and not breathing.
[‘Murray’ is shown pressing the chest and yelling “Michael”!]
Narrator: But his personal physician Conrad Murray can feel a pulse.
[‘Murray’ continues to press the chest on the bed and yell: “Michael! Michael!”. He runs out of the room]
36:36 Caption on the screen: Emergency call to LA 911
36:40 [‘Murray’ and a ‘bodyguard’ with a telephone in his hand are running back into the room. The ‘bodyguard’ is talking to a 911 operator. ‘Murray’ is doing CPR on the bed. The tape of the real call is being played].
Alvarez: Sir, we have a gentleman here that needs help. He’s stopped breathing, he’s not breathing and we are trying to pump him, but he’s not, he’s not…
Operator: Ok ok, how old is he?
Alvarez: He’s 50 years old, sir.
Operator: Ok. He’s not conscious, he’s not breathing?
Alvarez: Yes, he’s not breathing sir.
Operator: And he’s not conscious either?
Alvarez: No, he’s not conscious sir.
Operator: Ok. Alright, is he on the floor, where’s he at right now?
Alvarez: He’s on the bed sir, he’s on the bed.
Operator: Ok let’s get him on the floor.
[‘Murray’ is giving a sign to the ‘bodyguard’ to move him to the floor]
Operator: Ok let’s get him down to the floor. I’m gonna help you with CPR right now, OK.
Alvarez: We need him… we need a…
Operator: Yes, we’re already on our way there. We’re on our way. I’m gonna do as far as I can to help you over the phone. We’re already on our way. Did anybody see him?
Alvarez: Yes we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.
Operator: Oh you have a doctor there?
Alvarez: Yes. But he’s not responding to anything to no… no… he’s not responding to the CPR or anything.
Operator: Ok. Ok. They’re on their way.
37:40 Narrator: By the time the paramedics arrive, Murray can no longer detect a pulse.
[The paramedics come in moving somewhat slowly, open their bag, take an oxygen mask and lean over the body. ‘Murray’ looks flushed and frustrated. It seems that it’s him who hurries up the others:] “Come on! Come on!”
38:06 Narrator:Jackson’s body is rushed to hospital, but it’s too late.
[the photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney with a camera close-up on the face]
38:14 Dr. Shepherd: At 14:26 on June 25th 2009 Michael Joseph Jackson was declared dead at the UCLA MedicalCenter, Los Angeles.
[the photo of MJ’s dead body on a gurney continues to be shown]
38:27 Dr. Shepherd [reading from the report]: The autopsy report concludes that his cause of death was acute Propofol intoxication with a contributory factor in the death being benzodiazepines.
38:40 Narrator: Once in the bloodstream both these drugs spread around the body. When they reach the lungs they have a profound effect. They slow the rate the lungs inflate and deflate, so critically decreasing their ability to oxygenate the body.
[animation of lungs stopping to breathe is shown]
39:04 Dr. Shepherd: And you’ve got to remember that Jackson had really bad lungs. And these things combined of course the oxygen in his bloodstream to get to such a low level that his heart and his brain have stopped working, and he has died.
39:15 Narrator: Two months after his death the autopsy results were announced.
[a page of an autopsy report is on the screen]
A TV announcer: “The L.A. County Coroner has ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide.”
39:26 Narrator: The prime suspect was Dr. Conrad Murray.
[the camera shows a page of the autopsy report with the word “homicide” on it. This is followed by a video of MJ’s fans protesting at a court house]
39:32 Narrator: He was tried for involuntary manslaughter. At the trial the smoking gun was Propofol.
[a picture of Dr. Shafer testifying at the trial]
39:40 Dr. Shepherd: Conrad Murray states that he gave Jackson 25 mg of Propofol at 10:40 a.m. (But) the toxicology report shows there was far more than that in Jackson’s bloodstream when he died. So the question remains: How are we going to explain this discrepancy?
39:57 Narrator: In court Murray claimed that this anomaly was not of his doing [picture of prosecutor Walgren talking]. He suggested it was all down to the other person in the room – Jackson himself.
40:08 [the MJ actor is shown getting out of bed, grabbing a propofol bottle near by and taking something into his hand to open it].
Chernoff: When Dr. Murray left the room, Michael Jackson self-administered a dose, an additional dose of Propofol, and it killed him. And it killed him like that, and there was no way to save him.
40:28: [the MJ actor is shown injecting propofol by a syringe into the upper part of the IV set up and falling back unconscious]
Narrator: But the prosecution had a different version of events. A version that implicated Murray as guilty.
Walgren: Conrad Murray’s actions directly caused the death of Michael Jackson.
40:48 Narrator: They claimed Murray had coupled together a system that kept Jackson continually topped up with Propofol whilst he slept.
[‘Murray’ is shown cutting off the top of a saline bag with a kitchen knife]
40:58 Narrator: Murray cut into the lid of a bottle of the drug.
[‘Murray’ is shown making a hole in the lid of a Propofol vial again with a knife].
41:04 Narrator: Once in the saline bag, the Propofol could then infuse constantly into Jackson’s bloodstream.
[‘Murray’ is shown putting the pierced propofol bottle into a bag with saline in it]
41:15 [the drawing of a makeshift IV set up shows a saline bag on the top, a long tubing and a port on its side for injections by syringes]
Narrator: Normally, saline coming down from the bag mixes with drugs injected at a port and washes them into the body.
[an animation shows saline going from the top and propofol being injected into the port on the right ]
41:26 Narrator: The prosecution maintained the drug was already mixed with the saline.
the animation shows saline and propofol streaming together from the top]
41:30 Narrator: So there should be traces of Propofol in the tube above the injection port.
[the top part of the tube where propofol was supposed to be found is marked yellow]
41:37 Narrator: Despite testing, traces of the drug were never detected.
[flashes of several pictures of MJ’s room and the evidence, followed by the picture of MJ’s fans protesting near the court house]
41:44 Narrator: Yet this didn’t sway the jury.
Judge Pastor: “I’m advised that the jury has reached a verdict.”
The courthouse clerk: “We the jury…. find the defendant Conrad Murray guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaugher” [MJ fans are cheering. One woman is shown saying: “Burn in hell”]
42:12 Narrator: The autopsy supports the court’s verdict. Conrad Murray failed in his duty as a doctor.
[MJ fans shouting ”Guilty, guilty!”. An excerpt from the autopsy report says: The standard of care for administering propofol was not met]
42:20 Dr. Shepherd: Propofol is a very powerful anesthetic. There is a very fine line between its proper effects and causing death. In hospital an anesthesiologist would have the patient attached to numerous machines which would monitor pulse and blood pressure, carbon dioxide levels and oxygen levels.
42:25 Narrator: But investigators found no evidence of any medical monitors in the mansion.
[the picture of MJ’s bathroom is shown]
Murray was sentenced to 4 years in prison for killing the King of Pop.
42:53 [picture of Michael closing the camera with his palm and pointing a finger at it]
Narrator: In a 40 year career Jackson had established himself as the most successful act of all time. But his success had long been underpinned by reliance on prescription drugs.
43:06 Jason Pfeiffer: It’s such a tragedy seeing him go from this huge larger than life figure down this road of drug dependency.
[fragment of MJ speaking at a press-conference in London]
Jason Pfeiffer: These drugs had turned him into just a shell of his former self.
43:20 James Desborough: He didn’t have a choice. He was around 400 million dollars in debt.
[the 2006 video footage of MJ at the World Music Awards talking to fans]
James Desborogh: “This is it” was this is it. It was his make or break comeback.
43:32 Terry Harvey: He was on a path of destruction.
[the video of MJ’s coffin carried by a car]
Terry Harvey: When you walk often in that Devil’s Dalliance some of us make it out, some of us don’t.
43:41 [the photos of Jackson 5].
Narrator: Jackson’s life had been full of turmoil and controversy [MJ’s photos]. In Conrad Murray he hired a doctor who ultimately failed him [photo of Jermaine]. From the moment they met Michael’s fate was sealed.
43:56 Dr. Shepherd: Michael Jackson was a man with numerous physical and psychological problems, and to overcome these he’d spiraled into drug dependency and addiction. He was using dangerous drugs in an untested manner. In some ways it’s a miracle that he lasted as long as he did.
[the picture of MJ fades away]
* * *
Here is a link to this morbid, ridiculous and shameful show:
As a final note let me quote the words of anesthesiologist Dr. Barry Friedberg:
“When Conrad Murray found Michael Jackson with fixed and dilated pupils, he should have pronounced him dead. Everything after that was pure theatrics to attempt to mitigate his own negligence.”
“Dr. Murray failed to watch and monitor his patient and nothing else matters.“
And also this from Dr. Friedberg’s book:
Propofol is not physically addictive…. Physical addiction is defined by withdrawal or “cold turkey” symptoms if the agent is not supplied. The first Murray folly was the notion of propofol “addiction”. The second fallacious notion was attempting to “wean” Jackson from a potentional propofol addiction by giving him members of the benzo family. The third and lethal folly was giving Jackson two types of drugs well known to potentially stop breathing.
[Even] the propofol dose is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is observing and monitoring one’s patient.
..giving multiple drugs with the well-known potential to stop breathing, failing to remain in observation, and failing to use a pulse oximeter are all clear predictors of a bad outcome. .. The only thing more reckless Murray could have done was taking Jackson up in an airplane and pushing him out without a parachute.
What would have prevented Jackson’s death? A knowledgeable, conscientious physician who both watch and monitored his oxygen – at the very least – absolutely would have.
IT WAS HOMICIDE.
The autopsy report said:
The cause of death is ACUTE PROPOFOL INTOXICATION. A contributor factor in the death is benzodiazepine effect.
The manner of death is HOMICIDE.
Circumstances indicate that propofol was administered by ANOTHER.
The circumstances do NOT support self-administration of propofol
* * *
Below is the UK independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries to whom complaints about the program can be sent:
This regulator is called OFCOM (Official Broadcasts Audience Research Board). They assess complaints under the Broadcasting Code.
The Code sets standards for television and radio shows and broadcasters have to follow these rules.
These rules not only cover harm and offence, but also other areas like impartiality and accuracy, sponsorship and commercial references as well as fairness and privacy.
For fairness and privacy complaints go to http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/fairness/
For more information about how Ofcom assesses complaints and conducts investigations go to http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/guidance/complaints-sanctions/standards/