Addiction is a devastating curse that not only affects the individual suffering from it but also takes a toll on everyone who cares about them. This relentless dependency slowly consumes one’s soul, making it increasingly difficult to break free, and the guilt and sadness make life unbearable. It becomes even more agonizing when you realize that this enslavement wasn’t your fault to begin with—a fate shared by thousands of people and their families due to corporate greed during the late 1990s.
Netflix’s upcoming drama series, Painkiller, delves into the real-life accounts of everyone impacted by the massive opioid crisis post-1996. Drawing inspiration from Patrick Radden Keefe’s New Yorker article “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” and Barry Meier’s novel Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic, Painkiller sheds light on the origins and aftermath of America’s most significant opioid epidemic. The series closely examines criminal behavior, accountability, and the systems that have failed hundreds of thousands of Americans for years. It delves into the trauma experienced by several families due to selfish desires, cover-ups, and lies that shield those responsible for almost a decade.
Executive produced by Eric Newman (Narcos) and Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), this addictive drama is set to arrive on Netflix soon. Before you gear up for a binge-watching session of this limited series, let’s take a look at the release date, plot, cast, trailer, and everything else we know so far about Painkiller.
As a Netflix original series, you’ll need a Netflix subscription to watch the new series. With a focus on the controversial actions of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and particularly on Richard Sackler (portrayed by Matthew Broderick), the company’s founder, Painkiller explores the roots of America’s opioid crisis. The series follows various characters involved in the early stages of creating and spreading the drug, including the Sackler family, those working to bring them down, such as Uzo Aduba’s Edie, and those who suffered from the drug, like Taylor Kitsch’s Glen, a mechanic whose life is forever changed after a debilitating back injury at work.
Painkiller also delves into the lives of medical sales representatives, people paid well by Purdue to convince physicians to prescribe more of their highly addictive medicine, and individuals who became addicted to opioids after their doctors assured them it was safe to use.
The cast of Painkiller boasts some prominent talents in the acting industry. Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) portrays Richard Sackler, the patriarch of the billionaire Sackler family and a senior executive at Purdue Pharma. Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black) takes on the role of Edie Flowers, a righteous lawyer at the US attorney’s office investigating the new Purdue narcotic OxyContin.
West Duchovny (The Magicians) plays Shannon Shaeffer, a former collegiate athlete who joins the Purdue sales team as a new hire, while Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) embodies the character of Glen Kryger, a hardworking family man and mechanic whose life is turned upside down after a crushing back injury. Kitsch is also set to reunite with Peter Berg and Netflix for another limited series, American Primeval. Carolina Bartczak (Moonfall) portrays Glen’s wife, Lily Kryger.
Dina Shihabi (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) stars as Britt Hufford, a seasoned sales representative who becomes Shannon’s mentor. Tyler Ritter (The McCarthys) plays US Attorney John Brownlee, Edie Flowers’ new supervisor, while John Rothman (One Mississippi) takes on the role of Mortimer Sackler, a Purdue Pharma co-owner and Richard Sackler’s uncle.