Netflix opioid drama from Narcos showrunner
February 19, 2020
Netflix has announced Painkiller, a new scripted drama and limited series about the origins of the opioid crisis in the US.
Eric Newman will serve as Executive Producer as part of his overall deal with Netflix where he is showrunner on Narcos and Narcos: Mexico. Writing duo Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, Transparent) will write and serve as Showrunners and Executive Producers.
Patrick Radden Keefe who wrote New Yorker’s ‘The Family That Built An Empire of Pain’ and Barry Meier, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of the book Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic will both consult on Painkiller. Their respective master works serve as underlying material for the series.
Peter Berg (The Leftovers, Friday Night Lights) will direct all eight episodes of the limited series, and Alex Gibney will serve as Executive Producer.
Newman commented: “A tragedy decades in the making, the opioid crisis has become one of the most devastating public health crises of our time. Unlike other drug epidemics, born from underground manufacturing and covert smuggling, this epidemic began by prescription – dispensed by doctors, approved by government regulators, and promoted by a family-owned pharmaceutical giant that made billions while betraying the trust of patients and the public. I’m grateful to Micah & Noah, and Alex for bringing this story to me. Noah and Micah’s narrative of how it happened, based on the spectacular reporting of Patrick Radden Keefe and Barry Meier, is heartbreaking and terrifying. I’m honoured to be working with the great Alex Gibney and I’m thrilled that Peter Berg is coming on to direct it.”
Berg added: “I am really charged to be a part of such an in depth exploration of the genesis of the opioid travesty. Companies that profit off of death and addiction are fair game to me when it comes to illuminating the realities of how they go about their business.”
Cindy Holland, Vice President, Content, Netflix, said: “Eric Newman has masterfully chronicled the drug trade for years and now I’m excited to see him join forces with the incredible Alex Gibney, Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster to take a more expansive view of the opioid epidemic. Combined with the directing of Peter Berg, Painkiller promises to be a powerful look behind the headlines of a tragedy happening in real time.”