Though slow to jell, this Explorer special on women terrorists proves to be revealing.
It proceeds from a mixture of incredulity and heightened wariness. Reporter Lisa Ling wonders how "women, the givers of life" can blow themselves up and kill innocent people in the service of a cause. And if women are as much a potential threat as men, how much harder will it be to spot terrorists before they strike?
Ling postures for the camera when she takes to the streets in the Gaza Strip, and we grow impatient for her to offer something substantive on the motives of female suicide bombers. But the program comes into its own when she focuses on individual Palestinians: a 20-year-old student who hopes to attend medical school but won't rule out "martyrdom" as an alternative path; a young woman, dominated by male relatives, who may have accepted a terrorist role as a means of escaping a brutal marriage; and, most tragically, an 18-year-old suicide bomber whose victims included an Israeli girl of 17.