CSUB professor Michael Burroughs consults on new Hulu series ‘Accused’

Jacob Torres, Staff Writer

Screenshots from ATTN, “Accused” trailer. Michael Burroughs, associate professor of philosophy and director of Kegley Institute of Ethics appears in television series “Accused.”

Michael D. Burroughs, associate professor of philosophy at CSUB and director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics, was involved in an ethics consulting project, along with the media company ATTN, for the TV series “Accused.” The show premiered on national television on the Fox network in late January 22, 2023, and is also available to stream on Hulu. 

Burroughs wrote in an email, “I was selected based on my ethics research expertise and my previous TEDx Talk. I also did a screen test with the project producers and eventually was selected to work on the project.”  

Burroughs continued in the same email, “It was a great experience. I like the challenge of breaking down complex ethics topics in order to make them as accessible and relevant as possible.” 

The show is essentially a “who done it?” where the characters are accused of a crime they’re not aware of, based solely on circumstantial evidence and seen from the perspective of the defendants.  

Burroughs’s colleague, Nate Olson, associate director of the KIE, shared in an email, “I think it is fantastic that Dr. Burroughs is working as an ethics consultant for the show ‘Accused.’ Dr. Burroughs filmed a video that discusses the ethical dimensions of the show and how we go about reasoning through ethical dilemmas. You can access this video through the Kegley Institute’s social media channels.”  

Olson also wrote, “Dr. Burroughs is a leading expert on bringing ethics programming to diverse public audiences, and his work with ‘Accused’ will expose the show’s broad audience to his insightful, engaging ethical analysis.” 

According to the KIE website, “The Kegley Institute strives to educate the public on the importance and gravity of ethical understanding in our community, and serves as an inspirational hub for ethical education, awareness, and leadership.” 

Originally from a small town in Maryland, Burroughs was raised by his father, a professor, and spent a lot of time around a university campus.  

Burroughs would eventually obtain a position teaching in prisons to incarcerated students, as well as teaching high school. He did this while in the process of obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Memphis, Tennessee. 

Burroughs also taught at Pennsylvania State University before bringing his passion and talents to Bakersfield in 2017. 

“I moved to Bakersfield after being hired to serve as Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at CSUB. I am still serving as Director of KIE and am now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at CSUB,” Burroughs revealed in the email. 

Burroughs will be stepping down from his position at the KIE at the end of the Spring 2023 semester. 

Burroughs gave a TEDx Talk, “The Significance of Ethics and Ethics Education in Daily Life,” in front of approximately 800 attendees at Penn State University. In the talk, he spoke about the ethical dilemmas and situations that arise in everyday life and how beneficial the education of ethics is to the world we live in. 

In the introduction of said TEDx Talk, he stated, “You feel pressure regarding your class grade, and you have the opportunity to turn in work that’s not your own in order to get ahead. You can tell a friend an important truth, even though it might end the friendship.”  

These are just some examples of the ethical dilemmas Burroughs discussed in the TEDx Talk.  

Burroughs also wrote in the email about how the TEDx Talk came about: “I was nominated to give the TEDx Talk while working at Penn State University. I then had to make a pitch, audition, and be selected to give the talk. After that was a several months process of preparation for the event.”  

The TEDx Talk is available to stream on YouTube on the TEDx Talk YouTube channel, where it currently has over 400,000 views.