Netflix’s crime film ‘The Good Nurse’ follows Amy Loughren, a nurse who realizes that her co-worker and best friend Charles “Charlie” Cullen is a serial killer who has been killing the patients of their hospital. As the film depicts, Amy was Cullen’s best friend at Somerset Medical Center, a hospital in New Jersey where they worked together. When detectives Tim Braun and Danny Baldwin approached her to discuss Cullen’s involvement in the deaths that happened in the hospital, her relationship with him even prevented her from believing the same.
Amy eventually realized that her best friend hurt the same patients they were supposed to protect, which led her to team up with Braun and Baldwin. The trio brought Cullen to justice but did Amy’s relationship with him change? Are they still friends? Let’s find out!
Are Amy Loughren and Charles “Charlie” Cullen Still Friends?
Amy Loughner and Charles Cullen got acquainted when the latter joined Somerset Medical Center’s critical care unit in September 2002. Amy and Cullen spent several long overnight shifts together, and during the same period, the serial killer opened up about the hardships he had to endure, which affected Amy severely. “Charlie offered up slapstick tales of debilitating depression, bad luck, and bullied victimization with a wry honesty he believed Amy would connect to; she’d reply with laughter and the maternal attentions Charlie needed,” Charles Graeber wrote in the eponymous source text of the film.
The revelations about Cullen’s life made Amy sympathize with him. “He [Cullen] was confident yet shy, self-deprecating. He always had an edge of humour. And he seemed very much an underdog… I felt he needed to be protected,” Amy told The Times. Her decision to protect Cullen was the start of their friendship. Their bond got affected when she went through the records of drugs Cullen had withdrawn from the dispensing system to kill patients. However, Amy couldn’t kill their relationship right away.
Amy continued to be his friend to elicit his confessions to the murders he committed. She even wore a wire for the police. After Cullen’s arrest, Amy again helped the detectives by approaching him as his friend, making him confess, as the film depicts. Cullen wasn’t Amy’s friend after the serial killer’s trial and eventual conviction. She became clear about the same when she visited the serial killer in New Jersey State Prison. “I stood up when I saw him [Cullen], and he put his hand up on the glass and I put my hand up,” Amy told The Times in the same interview.
She added, “We leant over and touched our foreheads to the glass and did any ugly cry. Then we just started laughing hysterically, because it was so overwhelming. The sardonic humour was still there. But then it became obvious that I wasn’t talking to my friend any more, I was talking to the murderer. My friend Charlie disappeared after that,” the nurse added, revealing how he ceased to be her friend. Helping Braun and Baldwin to put Cullen behind the bars wasn’t an easy affair for Amy as a friend. “I knew that monster needed to be behind bars, but I was also putting my friend Charlie behind bars,” Amy told Glamour.
“I struggled with that,” Amy further continued. But her multiple meetings with Cullen after his conviction at the prison helped her to understand that the friend she had admired wasn’t the same person in prison. “I saw him in prison maybe dozens of times. I really wanted to know if I had harmed someone accidentally and I wanted answers and closure. […] I wanted to make certain that whoever my friend Charlie was that he was no longer there,” she added.
Amy’s last meeting with Cullen happened a decade ago. Before leaving the prison, she was able to make sure that her “friend” didn’t exist anymore in the person who supposedly killed hundreds of patients in his life. The realization helped Amy to comprehend that she was not betraying her friend but helping the families of victims who perished while they were under her care as well.