Highlighting the blunder of human error, Netflix’s ‘Painkiller’ revolves around the opioid crisis in the country that rendered the public health industry nothing but a tool for the powerful. Based on the New Yorker article, ‘The Family That Built an Empire of Pain’ by Patrick Radden Keefe and ‘Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic’ by Barry Meir, the biographical drama series reimagines the drastic situation by focusing on Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Created by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the television show portrays the compromising abilities of the drug and its effects on the victims of the crisis.
The drama features compelling performances by Matthew Broderick, Uzo Aduba, Taylor Kitsch, Dina Shihabi, West Duchovny, John Rothman, and Clark Gregg. The series unfolds the banality of addiction and the consequent life of crime and failure that emerges from the same. As the perpetrators blur the line of health and exacerbate sales through marketing, several jilted themes follow. So, if you are equally intrigued by the despicable turn of events that upended the lives of thousands, then here is a list of similar shows. You can watch several of these shows, like ‘Painkiller’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Hustle (2004-2012)
Creator Tony Jordan construes the extraordinary impact of cheating and conning in this BBC series. The story revolves around a band of con artists who play the long game and reap big awards. The team is initially led by Mickey Stone, a master manipulator who uses several tips and tricks to create an elaborate maze and walk away unscathed. As the group creates daring scams, several intensive themes follow. Just as the marketing geniuses of Purdue Pharma con the country into addiction, ‘Hustle’ also revolves around convoluted stings that help con artists win remarkable fortunes.
7. WeCrashed (2022)
Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway star as the titular lead in this tale of an unscrupulous business. Based on the ‘WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork’ podcast by Wondery, the series revolves around the real-life married couple who built WeWork, a coworking space, from the ground up. However, with unparalleled success also comes problems.
The series follows the meteoric rise of the coworking space company that reached $47 billion in valuation before falling due to financial revelations. Just as ‘Painkiller’ features the elimination of human responsibility and duty toward others in the face of money, ‘WeCrashed,’ created by Drew Crevello and Lee Eisenberg, also features the systemic changes that render a company and its people undone.
6. Inventing Anna (2022)
The unsuspecting truth veiled by pomp and glitz is uncovered in ‘Inventing Anna.’ Based on Jessica Pressler’s New York article, ‘How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,’ the drama revolves around Anna Delvey, the eponymous lead who tricks the elite of New York City for money.
Feigning unprecedented circumstances and creating a strong network, Anna manages to permeate an entire class of New York elite. The series is created by Shonda Lynn Rhimes and features a master of conning at play. So, if the greed for money in ‘Painkiller’ kept you on the hook, then you’ll find this series equally immersive.
5. Dr. Death (2021)
Based on the true story of a rising medical professional in Dallas, ‘Dr. Death’ takes its basis from ‘A Chilling True Crime Podcast About a Murderous Surgeon’ by Wondery. The series revolves around Christopher Duntsch, whose unparalleled excellence in neurology earns him wide renown. However, when Christopher’s patients start getting mutilated, a streak of events uncovers the horrifying secrets of the renowned medical professional.
Created by Patrick Macmanus, the show features performances by Joshua Jackson, Mandy Moore, Christian Slater, and Alec Baldwin. So, if you were intrigued by the unimaginable reign of horror cast by the opioid epidemic, then you’ll find this story of a seemingly-brilliant professional equally interesting.
4. Ratched (2020-)
With Sarah Paulson as the titular lead, ‘Ratched’ features the psychologically thrilling and horrifying journey of Nurse Mildred Ratched. The character is based on ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey. Created by Evan Romansky, the series construes the journey of a medical professional who embarked on the industry with good intentions but ultimately swapped those for sadistic actions. The psychologically-charged drama also depicts the inconceivable expanse of a mental asylum. From diving into the condition of the human mind, ‘Painkiller,’ like ‘Ratched’ also serves as a metaphor for the healer becoming the predator.
3. The Nurse (2023)
Creators Kasper Barfoed and Dorthe Warnoe Hogh uncover the astonishing face of healthcare services in their oeuvre. The true-crime television series revolves around two nurses, Pernille Kurzmann Larsen, and Christina Aistrup Hansen, and is based on the book written by Kristian Corfixen, titled ‘The Nurse: The True Story Behind One Of Scandinavia’s Most Notorious Criminal Trials.’
Renowned for their abilities to save patients undergoing cardiac arrest, the two women acclaim the title of the ‘dream team.’ However, things take a turn when Pernille discovers Christina’s unabashed self-obsession with the coveted title. As Pernille heads on a journey of shocking revelations, the secret to the cardiac arrests comes to the fore. So, if the remarkable impact of medical systems in ‘Painkiller’ intrigued you, then you’ll find this bewildering story of a medical worker equally riveting.
2. The Dropout (2022)
With Amanda Seyfried, Stephen Fry, and Laurie Metcalf, ‘The Dropout’ chronicles the story of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, who had hoped to revolutionize the healthcare industry by using newfound tech. The series documents Holmes’ claims to revitalize the detection and diagnosis of diseases through radical blood tests. Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, the black comedy-drama is based on the ABC News podcast of the same name. Much like ‘Painkiller,’ ‘The Dropout’ also features the ease with which entities of the healthcare industry spark deception and cause fraud.
1. Dopesick (2021)
Based on the non-fiction book, ‘Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,’ ‘Dopesick’ also uncovers the ugly intricacies of the opioid addiction that clutched America. Created by Danny Strong, the series features performances by Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Will Poulter.
Like ‘Painkiller,’ ‘Dopesick’ also features the irreverent circumstances that followed the development, testing, and marketing of OxyContin. The show maps the dreadful causes and effects of the addiction crisis and outlines the sprawling mess created by human error. So, if you were engrossed by the emotional and mental turmoil that warped thousands of families in ‘Painkiller,’ then you’ll find that this tale offers an equally interesting look into the crisis.
Read More: Best Drug Addiction Movies