John Oliver would like to draw everyone’s attention to something — but he understands it’s a tough subject, so he’s enlisted actress Helen Mirren to help.

The “Last Week Tonight” topic Sunday (June 14) is the U.S. Senate Torture Report, which reveals some brutal and alarming things about what the U.S. government has done in the name of fighting the war on terror. And the description of these things certainly sound nicer when read in Mirren’s dulcet tones, but that doesn’t help as much as one might think.

What also doesn’t help, it turns out, is torture. Torture is not a reliable interrogation technique. Yet most people mistakenly believe that it is, and Oliver puts some of the blame on movies and TV that use torture as a plot device — he’s looking at you, “24.”

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In conclusion, “There is no proof that torture does any good, but there is real proof that it does serious harm to America’s image overseas. … The problem is the rules we have on the books to stop us from returning to the dark days of torture are in one easily-reversible executive order.”

There’s an amendment being voted on next week — proposed by Republican John McCain and Democrat Diane Feinstein — that will make the basic tenets of the executive order actual law, instead of something that can be reversed by the next president. Oliver is urging Congress to pass it, because torture isn’t something the U.S. should be doing — and it doesn’t work anyway.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."