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DNA was a revolution for crime solving and for one mother, it could be the key to proving her son’s innocence. Her journey leads to a miraculous discovery at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. What follows is an astounding series of events surrounding the work of one trailblazing forensic analyst, Mary Jane Burton. More information on Marvin Anderson’s case: See for privacy information.
Ch. 2 - Oil and Water

Ch. 2 - Oil and Water


Forensic scientist Mary Jane Burton cracks some of Virginia’s toughest and most gruesome cases – what’s her secret? When a young trainee brings fresh eyes to Mary Jane’s work, the answer to this question is not what she expected. But can we trust her story? See for privacy information.
Ch.  3 - Pandora's Box

Ch. 3 - Pandora's Box


Reporter Tessa Kramer gets her hands on a box that’s been gathering dust for 40 years – a time capsule from the crime lab’s pre-DNA era. To decipher the evidence, we’ll seek the help of an outside expert and put the whistleblower’s credibility to the test. What will we find in the box? And will it reveal an unsettling truth? More information on serologist Marilyn Miller of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): See for privacy information.
Who was this storied serologist, Mary Jane Burton? While her work is preserved in case files, bench notes, and court transcripts, little is known about her interior life. As we gather more detail about her life, uncovering mysteries and tragedies that complicate the narrative surrounding her work, a clearer picture emerges. See for privacy information.
Falsifying results, skipping tests, and ignoring scientific protocols -- why weren’t these concerns addressed by the Virginia state crime lab? Whistleblower Gina Demas finds herself caught in a clash between science and office politics. See for privacy information.
Whistleblower Gina Demas wasn’t the only one with concerns about Mary Jane Burton. Tessa Kramer sits down with two former lab employees whose careers soared following Gina’s fight with the lab. What do they remember about Mary Jane’s work? And what kept them from speaking up? See for privacy information.
The discovery of Mary Jane Burton’s clippings sparks a review of thousands of case files. This massive effort to find wrongly convicted people is unprecedented. Yet the slow effort by the lab raises questions. Were they afraid of what they’d find? More information on Virginia’s Post-Conviction DNA Testing and Notification Project: More information on the case of Bennett Barbour: See for privacy information.
In the midst of our reporting, another man is exonerated based on Mary Jane Burton’s clippings – Winston Scott. But one thing isn’t clear: why was Scott convicted in the first place? Reporter Tessa Kramer takes the original serology reports to an expert. Did Burton have a hand in Scott’s conviction? More information on the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, including former MAIP attorneys Frances Walters and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: More information on the case of Winston Scott: More information on serologist Marilyn Miller of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): See for privacy information.
Ch. 9 – The Burden

Ch. 9 – The Burden


Three women attacked on one fateful night in Norfolk, Virginia. All three identify the same man. Decades after his conviction, DNA analysis proves his innocence, leaving the women with more questions than answers. The people falsely convicted are not the only ones whose lives are turned upside down when the system gets it wrong. See for privacy information.
As we approach the end of our reporting, Tessa revisits Gina Demas, the whistleblower, to see where the events of our story have left her, and to give her an update on our investigation. Will she get any vindication? More information on Dana Gold and the Government Accountability Project: See for privacy information.
The case of Earl Washington left a permanent stain on Virginia’s state crime lab. What does this case, and its aftermath, reveal about the lab's record of reviewing misconduct within its own four walls? More information on the case of Earl Washington Jr.: See for privacy information.
The final episode of our first season is coming soon, but first: a message from Tessa on the arrest of her friend, Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who is wrongfully detained in Russia. For more information, visit See for privacy information.
As we come to the end of season one, reporter Tessa Kramer is left with some lingering questions. How are the injustices we've seen in this story woven into the DNA of our criminal legal system? Is there hope for genuine reform? And what role can forensics play? More information on Maneka Sinha of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law: Radically Reimagining Forensic Evidence by Maneka Sinha: See for privacy information.
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