Continuing his diverse exploration of life in America, Louis looks at LA’s problem with neglected and feral dogs; the experiences of patients with life-threatening conditions at the city’s most famous hospital; and examines how California deals with sex offenders after they are released from prison.
Los Angeles is home to more than a quarter of a million dogs - from the pampered pooches of Beverley Hills to the pit bull terriers of the projects. Louis Theroux enters the bizarre world of LA's dogs, meeting the characters whose lives revolve around the city's huge canine population. In the toughest neighbourhoods of south LA, he has a terrifying encounter with a 'weaponised' dog, trained to attack on command, and goes on patrol with 'Dogman', whose mission is to rescue some of the thousands of stray and feral pit bulls roaming the streets. At the city's biggest animal shelter, Louis meets the hard-pressed staff, whose heartbreaking job includes euthanizing thousands of unwanted dogs every year. He also encounters the middle-class Americans who adopt some of these delinquent dogs, as well as the colourful dog-training gurus who claim to be able to take the ghetto out of the dog once the dog has been rescued from the streets.
Louis visits LA's most famous hospital, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in West Hollywood, where he meets patients battling for their lives against serious illnesses. America spends a huge amount on health care and a hefty proportion goes on end of life care, with a wide and expensive array of treatments on offer to those with insurance or who qualify for government funded programmes. Louis talks to patients and their families as they face some of the toughest decisions imaginable - whether to accept death and die in relative comfort, or to gamble on further, possibly painful treatment in the hope that it will cure them or prolong their life. He also talks to the doctors whose job it is to guide people through this traumatic process. Over several months Louis explores the American way of death, which often involves never giving up and keeping faith right to the end.
In the final episode of Louis Theroux's LA Stories, Louis spends time in the twilight world of the city's paroled sex offenders, whose crimes have made them pariahs living on the fringes of society. The state of California has some of the toughest regulations anywhere in America controlling sex offenders. On leaving prison they can spend years on parole, tagged and tracked, and a lifetime on an online sex offenders register. Louis spent several months at some of the hostels in Los Angeles where sex offenders live, talking in depth to sex offenders themselves as well as the people charged with monitoring them. The tough rules governing where they can live and who they can see make it hard for registered sex offenders to find work or even housing, and many are forced into homelessness. Meeting these outcasts Louis asks whether these tough rules keep society safer and when, if ever, it is right to give sex offenders a second chance.