How many episodes of beyond reasonable doubt are there?

There are 10 episodes in the first season of the docuseries Beyond Reasonable Doubt which premiered on ABC in 2022.

Overview of Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Beyond Reasonable Doubt is an American true crime documentary series produced by Lincoln Square Productions for ABC. The series premiered on September 7, 2022 and features 10 episodes in its first season. It is hosted by actor Hill Harper.

The show examines potential wrongful conviction cases where the defendants claim they were wrongly accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit. The program analyzes key evidence, interviews witnesses, legal experts and others involved in the cases to determine if the convictions were just or if errors or malfeasance led to unjust outcomes.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt takes an in-depth look at the U.S. criminal justice system and the complexities of determining guilt or innocence. The cases presented in the series highlight issues such as mistaken eyewitness testimony, police and prosecutor misconduct, coerced confessions, unreliable jailhouse informants and more.

The series title Beyond Reasonable Doubt refers to the legal standard that must be met for a defendant to be found guilty in a criminal trial. The prosecution must present evidence that convinces a jury that the defendant is guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.” If reasonable doubt exists, the defendant must be acquitted. The show examines cases where reasonable doubt may not have been given proper consideration.

Background on the Series

Beyond Reasonable Doubt is executive produced by Jon M. Chu and Caitlin Dulany from Chu Studios along with Lincoln Square Productions. The docuseries grew out of Chu and Dulany’s interest in depictions of the legal system and criminal justice reform in popular media.

ABC greenlit the series in April 2021 to have a summer 2022 debut. Hill Harper was announced as the host that October. Harper is known for acting roles on shows like The Good Doctor and CSI: NY. He also has a law degree from Harvard.

The series title Beyond Reasonable Doubt was chosen as a reference to the legal standard for a guilty conviction. Show staffers also conducted extensive research on potential wrongful convictions to choose compelling cases to feature that raised issues of reasonable doubt.

Episodes of Season 1

The first season of Beyond Reasonable Doubt contains 10 episodes. Each episode focuses on a different case involving a contested conviction.

Episode 1: “Mistaken” – September 7, 2022

The premiere episode looks at the case of Eric Kelley who was convicted of murder and spent over 25 years in prison. The show investigates if mistaken eyewitness identification helped lead to Kelley’s wrongful conviction.

Episode 2: “Faulty Evidence” – September 14, 2022

Episode 2 examines the murder conviction of JoAnn Parks who has maintained her innocence for over 25 years. The show probes if faulty arson evidence from discredited fire investigation techniques helped convict an innocent woman.

Episode 3: “Alibi” – September 21, 2022

This episode looks into Calvin Willis who spent over 21 years in prison for a murder he claims he had an alibi for. The show examines Willis’ proclaimed alibi and other aspects of the contested case against him.

Episode 4: “The Snitch” – September 28, 2022

Episode 4 investigates the double murder conviction of John Giuca, currently serving a 25-year-to-life sentence. The show focuses on the credibility of a jailhouse informant who testified against Giuca in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Episode 5: “The Exonerated” – October 5, 2022

This episode looks at the story of Clarence Elkins who was wrongfully convicted of assaulting and murdering his mother-in-law. He was later exonerated by DNA evidence after spending several years in prison protesting his innocence.

Episode 6: “The Confession” – October 12, 2022

The show examines Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns who were convicted of murdering Atif’s family. Their case hinges on an alleged taped confession authorities say the two men made, which they claim was coerced.

Episode 7: “CSI Effect” – October 19, 2022

Episode 7 investigates the murder conviction of Tim Wilkes which was secured mainly by bloodstain pattern analysis. The show looks at possible flaws in the forensic analysis methods used to convict Wilkes.

Episode 8: “The Investigation” – October 26, 2022

This episode focuses on the conviction of George Powell for murdering his wife. Powell alleges significant investigative errors by police skewed the case against him and ignored other leads.

Episode 9: “The Bite Mark” – November 2, 2022

The show examines the case of Crystal Weimer convicted of murder based on bite mark evidence. Weimer claims the bite mark evidence used to convict her has since been scientifically discredited.

Episode 10: “Reasonable Doubt” – November 9, 2022

In the season finale, the show summarizes the cases examined and underscores common themes in how dubious convictions occur despite reasonable doubt of guilt remaining.

Case Overviews

Here is a brief summary of the cases featured in each episode of season 1:

Episode Case Subject(s) Crime Conviction Issue
1 Eric Kelley Murder Mistaken eyewitness
2 JoAnn Parks Murder Faulty arson evidence
3 Calvin Willis Murder Alibi dismissal
4 John Giuca Double murder Jailhouse informant
5 Clarence Elkins Assault & murder Later DNA exoneration
6 Atif Rafay & Sebastian Burns Triple murder Alleged coerced confession
7 Tim Wilkes Murder Bloodstain pattern analysis
8 George Powell Murder Investigative errors
9 Crystal Weimer Murder Discredited bite mark evidence
10 Summary All cases Reasonable doubt themes

Recurring Themes

While each case examined in Beyond Reasonable Doubt has unique aspects, some common themes emerge in how questionable convictions occur:

Faulty Eyewitness Testimony

Mistaken eyewitness identifications have contributed to many wrongful convictions. Human memory and perception can be unreliable, but eyewitness testimony is often compelling to juries. Episode 1 shows how an eyewitness’s confidence may outweigh accuracy.

Discredited Forensic Techniques

Pseudoscientific forensic techniques like bite mark analysis have led to numerous unjust convictions. Episodes 2 and 9 demonstrate how invalidated methods persist in the legal system and sway juries despite modern scientific discrediting.

Incentivized Informants

Jailhouse informants are notoriously unreliable as they have incentive to fabricate testimony for reduced sentences. Episode 4 examines how an informant’s questionable claims still helped convict the defendant.

Misapplied CSI Techniques

The “CSI effect” has led juries to overvalue forensic evidence due to TV portrayals. But forensics has limitations and doesn’t always provide clear-cut answers. Episode 7 explores how trace blood analysis swayed a jury more than the science can support.

Alibi Dismissal

Alibis should raise reasonable doubt if they preclude the defendant from committing the crime. However, jurors often discount alibis for various reasons. Episode 3 shows how authorities minimized an alibi from the defendant’s family.

Coerced Confessions

False and coerced confessions occur for many reasons despite their improbability and unreliability. Episode 6 looks at an alleged taped confession that the defendants claim was fiction created under duress.

Investigative Tunnel Vision

When police settle on an initial suspect, they often develop tunnel vision that ignores other leads. Episode 8 examines how limited investigation failed to uncover alternative suspects with motive and opportunity.


The first season of Beyond Reasonable Doubt raises concerning issues about potential wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system. The 10 episodes document numerous cases across the country where dubious convictions rested on questionable evidence, investigative lapses, unreliable witnesses and pseudoscientific techniques.

The series underscores how convictions based on inadequate evidence, false testimony, flawed forensics or investigative errors betray the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt.” When reasonable doubt persists, conviction legitimately cannot be justified. Beyond Reasonable Doubt puts a spotlight on the system’s imperfections and the very real possibility of innocence despite declaration of guilt.

The show provides insight into common but flawed practices that skew pursuit of justice and often lead to the conviction of the innocent. Beyond Reasonable Doubt argues that reform is needed and greater diligence applied to avoid miscarriages of justice. The first season presents 10 cases that deserve closer scrutiny and consideration of innocence to right potential wrongs. The series raises awareness of pitfalls in the system that undermine the standard central to all criminal convictions in the United States.