Netflix has a new scripted drama in the works that focuses on the opioid crisis. Emmy Award winner Peter Berg will direct all of the episodes of the limited series, which is called “Painkiller.” According to the company, Eric Newman will serve as executive producer as part of his overall deal with Netflix, and Emmy Award-nominated duo Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster will write and serve as showrunners and executive producers. Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Alex Gibney will also serve as executive producer on the project.
Netflix also stated that Patrick Radden Keefe, who wrote New Yorker’s ‘The Family That Built An Empire of Pain,’ and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Barry Meier, will both consult on “Painkiller.” Their respective works serve as underlying material for the series.
In the announcement, Eric Newman added, “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 honored to be working with the great Alex Gibney and I’m thrilled that Peter Berg is coming on to direct it.”
Peter Berg said, “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.”
“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” added Cindy Holland, Vice President, Content, Netflix. “Combined with the directing of Peter Berg, Painkiller promises to be a powerful look behind the headlines of a tragedy happening in real time.”
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