Bad Blood: The Final Chapter is a substantive piece of investigative journalism that has been seamlessly adapted into a captivating podcast series.
John Carreyrou hosts the 12-episode series, which is based on his own reporting that took down a billion-dollar company and its infamous founder.
The former Wall Street Journal reporter had written a damning story in 2015 that exposed the biotech startup Theranos as a fraud. Carreyrou’s work, including the podcast, was instrumental in bringing down Theranos.
Many people know the story of the Theranos fraud, but it is impossible to tell without mentioning Carreyrou. For seven years, the veteran journalist covered the downfall of the once-darling tech company and the subsequent criminal proceedings against its founder and CFO, Elizabeth Holmes.
Carreyrou published a book in 2018 detailing the rise and fall of Theranos and his experience covering the scandal. The podcast, which was released in 2021, ties up the saga in a nice bow and includes new information uncovered between 2018 and 2021.
The podcast takes place during the criminal trial of Holmes, who was facing charges for multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In the 12-episode series, Carreyrou shares the stories that took down Theranos. Each episode explores a different lie that was spun to prop up the company. Episode nine, for example, details the lies that Elizabeth Holmes told investors about Theranos’ work with the American military.
Holmes raised millions of dollars based on the lie that Theranos devices were being used in helicopters and field hospitals. The idea was explored but Theranos devices never had the functionality to do anything close to what the company was claiming.
The podcast series shines a light on the culture of Silicon Valley that values optics over functionality and lies over truth.
Despite threats of litigation from Theranos lawyers, (the extent of which are detailed in the podcast) Carreyrou and his editors persisted and Theranos eventually succumbed to public pressure for answers.
Carreyrou’s reporting proves how valuable investigative journalism is. When other publications were singing the praises of Theranos all it took was one journalist to critically examine the company.
The podcast series is a lens into the world of investigative journalism. Carreyrou details his experience and provides audio clips of his interactions with sources, lawyers and victims.
The average listener may have a general idea of what happened at Theranos but after having listened to Bad Blood: The Final Chapter they will have a completely new understanding of the scandal and a more critical eye when it comes to promising tech startups.