Plot & Details
Thornwell was based on a documentary directed by Harry Moses, which formed the nucleus of a 60 Minutes piece. Moses also directed this TV-movie dramatization of the incident, a truly shameful chapter in the history of the American military. James Thornwell (Glynn E. Turman), an African American soldier suspected in 1961 of being a spy, is subjected to an intense, painful, and humiliating interrogation. The Army's grilling tactics are within the accepted boundaries--until it is decided to use Thornwell as a guinea pig for the "mind-expanding" drug LSD. Once released, Thornwell suffers from mental and physical agony which he cannot fully comprehend, because he has no idea that he's been pumped full of the hallucinogenic drug. It is only 16 years later, thanks to the Freedom of Information act, that Thornwell learns what has been done to him. He is awarded a sizeable cash settlement by Congress, but Thornwell makes clear that this is inadequate compensation for two lost decades in a man's life.