Apple TV+ Announces Three-Part ‘John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial’ Documentary Series

Apple TV+ announced a new three-part documentary series delving into the 1980 murder of late Beatle John Lennon. With narration from 24 star Kiefer Sutherland, John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial promises to present exclusive eyewitness interviews and previously unseen crime scene photos that will shed “new light on the life and murder” of the rock icon, as well as the investigation and conviction of his confessed killer, Mark David Chapman.


A release announcing the series says it is “the most thoroughly researched examination of John Lennon’s 1980 murder, which shocked and saddened the world.” The production was reportedly given extensive Freedom of Information Act requests from the New York City Police Department, the Board of Parole and the District Attorney’s office and features “exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses — speaking for the first time — along with some of Lennon’s closest friends, revealing shocking details of Lennon’s tragic murder.” The series will also feature interviews with Chapman’s defense lawyers, psychiatrists, detectives and prosecutors.

The show was directed by Nick Holt (Responsible Child) and Rob Coldstream (Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain) and produced by Apple TV+ and 72 Films. At press time a release date for the series had not been announced. Lennon’s killing has previously been the subject of a number of films, including 2007 biographical drama Chapter 27 starring Jared Leto.

Lennon was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 1980 outside his New York apartment building, the Dakota, by Chapman, a disturbed Beatles fan who said he was inspired to murder the beloved musician by the hypocrisy-hating fictional misanthrope Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger’s iconic 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. Chapman was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison; he became eligible for parole in 2000 and has been denied release 12 times since.

The news of the docuseries came just days before the release of what has been dubbed the the final-ever Beatles song, “Now and Then,” which will drop on Thursday (Nov. 2), followed on Friday (Nov. 3) by a Peter Jackson-directed music video featuring previously unseen footage of the Fab Four. “Now and Then” is the final song written by Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and it was finished by living members McCartney and Starr more than 40 years after the group began work on it.

The double A-side single will also include a touching throwback with the inclusion of the band’s 1962 debut single, “Love Me Do,” featuring the original cover art shot by Ed Ruscha.

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