Who Killed Tutankhamun?

Atlantic Productions for the Discovery Channel, first aired October 6, 2002.

In a tale of religious revolution and political intrigue this documentary brings the tools of modern homicide investigation to one of the greatest riddles of the ancient world. Two former FBI detectives reopen the casebook on the murder of Tutankhamun, tracking down his killer in a compelling murder mystery. Featured in Time Magazine and on the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine. BAFTA nominated in 2003. The 90-minute screening outperformed five's normal feature film rating.

Narrator: They're assisted by one of the world's leading forensic psychiatrists, Dr. Harold Bursztajn.

Bursztajn: To begin to understand Tutankhamun, we need to understand that he was the son of a powerful, revolutionary leader, of a dictator. He was the son of a Joseph Stalin, of an Adolph Hitler.

Bursztajn: When, at the age of 9, Tutankhamun is made king, clearly someone has made him king, or some group has made him king for their own purposes.

Narrator: Upon the death of Tut's father, Ay became the boy king's protector.

Bursztajn: Why would someone who was a surrogate father in some sense, turn around and destroy his own creation? Being Tut's protector had given Ay a taste of power.

Ankhesanamun: Had I a son, would I have written about my own and my country's shame to a foreign land? Never shall I take a servant of mine and make him my husband.

Bursztajn: She reaches out as far away as she can, to a traditional enemy. What does this tell us?

Narrator: The detectives' psychological expert also believes that the evidence points to Ay.

Bursztajn: The three elements which come together to point to Ay being the Murderer are that Ay had the motive, wishing to maintain power; he had the opportunity, he was so close to Tut; and he had the means, he had the power at the court to be able to put his plans into action.

Bursztajn: It's a reasonable inference that Tutankhamun was murdered, and that he was murdered by Ay.

Bursztajn: From what we know about Ay, he's not above forcing King Tut's wife into marrying him. And then, lo and behold, she disappears from history as much as Tut was expunged from history. It's likely that she was murdered by him once she served to legitimize his own power.