Zero Point Zero — the production company behind Anthony Bourdain's CNN show Parts Unknown — has launched a new investigative documentary web series about the shady world of food crimes. Simply titled Food Crimes, the series was created in partnership with Food Republic. ZPZ released the first episode today.
The nearly 25-minute episode focuses on multiple aspects of the illegal seafood trade through archival footage and numerous interviews. The episode dives into the case of South African Arnold Bengis, who was convicted of smuggling Chilean sea bass and rock lobster. ZPZ's SVP of Digital Films and Development Chris Cechin tells Eater he believes it is the "seminal case" about illegal seafood.
New episodes of the series will air online each month. While Cechin remains mum about what exactly future episodes will cover, he does reveal that there will be plenty of traveling involved: "We are heading to Spain, we are working on getting into Iran and Afghanistan, we are going all over Europe."
Essentially, Cechin says, the series is trying to tell stories that no one has really told before by "exploring large sorts of ideas via specific and granular crimes and events." As for specific topics, a post on Food Republic reveals that the series may possibly cover subjects like "the illicit and geopolitically driven saffron trade, weirdo fraudsters crafting beautiful illegal wines, the horrors found inside the world of diseased agriculture."
Cechin says that ZPZ decided to do the show purely as web series instead of shopping it to networks because the company "wanted to do things on our own terms, and we didn't want to play by the bounds of traditional and conventional television." Cechin adds that ZPZ wanted to be able to be "more creative and let things run a little longer if they needed to," which means that not every episode will be the same length.
ZPZ is currently filming next month's episode, and Cechin says it has four others currently in pre-production. You can watch the first episode of Food Crimes, titled "The Hunt for Illegal Seafood," in full below: