Frontline On Financial Fraud

In one of the most complete documentaries undertaken on the financial crisis, PBS Frontline's "Money, Power, & Wall Street" series stretches from the origins of the credit derivative business with a bikini-clad pool-side Blythe Masters and her JPMorgan colleagues to the scary (but absolutely true) fact that the financial crisis never ended. The four-part series (of which we present the first two below) continues tonight at 730ET and the entire set of 20 in-depth interviews with the various players (from Sheila Bair to Rodgin Cohen with a smattering of Jared Bernstein and Dick Fisher in between)  can be found here. A must-watch series from beginning to end to get a grasp of how we got here (despite what Chairman Greenspan told us all this morning), where exactly we are now (in spite of today's FTMFW ISM print), and what we can expect in the next few years.

The chapter-headings alone generate enough insight into the documentary's depth and we will post the remaining two episodes tomorrow as soon as they are released.

Episode 1

Chapter 1 - A Brave New World of Banking

A group of young bankers make history with the creation of the credit default swap market

Chapter 2: Funding The American Dream

The Wall Street and mortgage lobbies successfully defeat attempts to regulate derivatives

Chapter 3: Marching Towards The Cliff

JPMorgan reassesses, pulls back from the mortgage market but other banks can't get enough

Chapter 4: The Unraveling Begins

When the housing bubble burst, CDS bring the global economy to its knees

Episode 2


Chapter 1 - Systemic Risk

Bear Stearns collapses; regulators fear its effects on the financial system

Chapter 2 - The Summer Of Assurances

The financial crisis becomes increasingly obvious, but there's no decisive action

Chapter 3 - The Decision To Let Lehman Fail

Paulson bet the markets would take care of themselves but would soon learn he was wrong

Chapter 4 - AIG Gets A Bailout

A decision by Geithner means billions of US Government dollars flows to Wall Street

Chapter 5 - A Turning Point?

Paulson decides on a dramatic use of the TARP money: capital injections to the banks.