Painkiller: Where is Richard Sackler’s Dog Unch Now?

Image Credit: Keri Anderson/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Painkiller’ follows the true story of corporate greed, which plunged America into a healthcare crisis unlike any the country had seen before. Termed the opioid crisis, it started with the arrival of a drug called OxyContin, manufactured and distributed by Purdue Pharma. In the show, which takes a fictional approach, we follow Richard Sackler, who takes command of the company after the death of Arthur Sackler. He sees OxyContin as the means to consolidate his predecessor’s legacy while also making a lot of money.

Richard Sackler emerges as the villain of the story, who is ready to do whatever it takes to get the drug approved and keep it in the market, not caring at all about how it is affecting the masses. Perhaps, the only likable thing about Sackler is his dog, Unch. If you want to know more about the canine, we’ve got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD

What Happened to Richard Sackler’s Dog Unch?

‘Painkiller’ is set in the late 1990s and early 2000s and focuses on Purdue Pharma, its executives, and its sales reps who push for the sales of OxyContin. Considering this timeline, and the fact that dogs have a lifespan of about 10-13 years, we can assume that Richard Sakcler’s dog, Unch, must have died a while back. In crafting the character of Sackler (Matthew Broderick), the Netflix series focuses on the relationships around him. He lives in an empty house and gives more time and attention to his dog than any other human being. He brings Unch to the office, and instead of attending a meeting with John Brownlee from the US Attorney’s office, he plays with Unch, frustrating the lawyers.

All of this is reportedly an accurate portrayal of how Sackler used to behave. In his book, ‘Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,’ Patrick Radden Keefe writes about how Sackler would bring Unch to the office and let him run free. As mentioned in the book, Unch was a bulldog who was named after the stock market abbreviation “Unchanged,” which indicates that the value of a share has not changed for a given period of time. It is also claimed that Unch’s presence often made things uncomfortable for others. The dog is said to have the habit of defecating in the hallways, and because it was Richard Sackler’s dog, no one could do or say anything about it.

We see somewhat similar things happening in ‘Painkiller,’ where Sackler doesn’t care if Unch’s presence is a nuisance for others. In fact, he makes it a point to use the dog to make others uncomfortable. Sackler’s love for his dog also adds a layer of humanity to his character, who, otherwise, appears greedy and sees nothing but money and profit. Though no matter whether we like the dog or not, it barely does anything to redeem Sackler’s bad reputation for the audience.

Read More: Did Richard Sackler Go to Jail? Where is He Now?