Capital punishment is in crisis. After a series of high-profile botched procedures, influential pressure groups worldwide are calling out for a humane and infallible method. But does one exist? Former British politician Michael Portillo investigates. His journey takes him across Britain and America, meeting experts in the business of death, from retired executioners to toxicologists, biomechanics specialist and trauma surgeons as well as witnesses of botched procedures. Michael sets up experiments to find out why hangings are so easily botched, why poison gas is so cruel and the many flaws of lethal injections. And after exploring the science and history behind current methods of execution, Michael investigates some alternatives. With a strong and important journalistic story at its heart, firmly rooted in the scientific world, this is an original take on a difficult scientific issue.