Trailer Watch: 'Lorena' Aims to Shine New Light on the Controversial Case

The Hollywood Reporter puts the spotlight on TV series that may fly under the radar in this weekly column.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Welcome to Trailer Watch, a regular feature that helps put the spotlight on series that may fly under the radar in the crowded Peak TV landscape. Each installment of Trailer Watch will explain what the show is and why it looks interesting. This week it's Amazon's Jordan Peele-produced true crime documentary Lorena, which revisits the notorious Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt trials.

It's been more than 25 years since Lorena Bobbitt became the center of a media hurricane after cutting off her husband's penis in response to suffering years of alleged domestic violence and sexual abuse at his hands. At the time, the story was the perfect storm of scandal, sex and violence, and the tabloid news jumped on it. Quickly, Bobbitt's story became an international joke, shorthand for the trope of the woman scorned. After the news cycle ended, the story was widely forgotten but for the odd joke. The cultural assumption was that Bobbitt was found guilty at her trial, but this is a misconception as she was found not guilty due to temporary insanity.

Amazon seems interested in documentary series by big-name directors with both Lorena and the upcoming project This Giant Beast That is the Global Economy from Adam McKay. In the wake of the Me Too movement, the Jordan Peele-produced Lorena is hoping to highlight the injustice and lack of understanding at the center of a tabloid pile-on which saw Bobbitt mocked, scorned and her years of abuse ignored. Directed by Joshua Rofe, the four part docuseries debuted at Sundance and seems to be a timely exploration of a media circus which was steeped in misogyny, as well as playing on the current popularity of true crime shows.

The trailer immediately throws us back into the '90s with headlines ripped from the front pages as well as a number of talking heads giving us their thoughts on the now infamous trial and the "irresistible story" at its core. For people who somehow managed to avoid the story when it originally broke and in the decades since, the series will offer up a history of sorts before heading to the main selling point, which is new interviews with Bobbitt herself.

Since the fallout of the case, Bobbitt has stayed away from the limelight, and for many viewers, the biggest draw will be hearing from the woman at the center of the scandal. In her own words, Bobbitt "didn't choose to be in the spotlight." But as she tells the audience, "now there's no going back." If the series can succeed at finally giving Lorena Bobbitt a voice in her own story, it will be a notable achievement. The trailer definitely leans into the power of hindsight and how Court TV, a near constant news cycle and a lack of cultural awareness led to society's missing the chance for a complex conversation by turning the situation into a crude joke. With a name like Peele on board, a recognizable case at its core and a reexamination of massive institutional sexism, it's likely that Lorena could be a big success for Amazon.

You can watch Lorena on Amazon's Prime Video now.