01/12/2013 06:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Scientology Spying Portrayed in TV True-Crime Docudrama Airing January 16


Discovery Channel's true-crime sister network, Investigation Discovery, is airing a one-hour dramatization of Nancy Many's life as a Scientology spy next week, at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16.

The show is based on Many's 2009 memoir, My Billion-Year Contract, in which she describes one of the most remarkable careers in Scientology -- from working directly with church founder L. Ron Hubbard, to spying for the church on its enemies, to running the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles, and to being sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force prison detail in Florida while she was five months pregnant.

All of that material is covered in the one-hour dramatization of Many's life which is airing next week on ID, kicking off a new true-crime series called Dangerous Persuasions, which portrays good people manipulated into doing bad things. In Canada, the show debuts on January 18 on the History Channel, and will kick off a new series by the name of Brainwashed. Well-acted and produced, the detailed and accurate docudrama also features Nancy narrating the story, as can be seen in the teaser video the network has posted.

Many has been very effective at keeping this a secret, but recently she let us in on it, and now that she's seen the final edit, she's very happy with how the production turned out.

"Out of the blue I got a request last spring from two separate production companies wanting to put my book in a docudrama format," Many says. She chose a British production company whose executives had some previous experience working on Scientology stories.

"This past summer they came to the U.S. and interviewed me and several other people, including Paulette Cooper," she says.

For part of her career in the church, Nancy was a Boston-area volunteer who helped the church carry out covert operations. In one of her assignments, she was asked to tail Cooper, who had written a book about Scientology in 1971 and was considered the church's biggest enemy at the time.

"I was briefed as to when she was coming into Boston, and exactly which clothes she'd be wearing the next day," she says, and she admits it puzzled her how her handlers knew what Cooper would be wearing in the future -- later, she learned that Scientology was being fed information by Cooper's roommate, an operative who called himself Jerry Levin.

In Many's book, one of the most disturbing episodes describes her time as a prisoner in the RPF, five months pregnant, forced to live in a parking garage in Clearwater, Florida. Later, she was running the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles when she and her husband made a break for freedom after they were threatened with further RPF stints -- then had to go back for their young son.

For more peeks inside the documentary, read the rest of this story at