Painkiller: Get a first look at Netflix’s new series about the opioid crisis

Peter Berg executive produces and directs a new limited series that deals with intertwining stories involving the opioid epidemic.

Netflix has just released an exclusive first look at the new limited series drama that’s due to hit the service later this summer. Painkiller features an all-star cast and deals with one of the many crises that currently plagues our world — the opioid epidemic. The series will feature six episodes that clock in at an hour an episode. It stars an ensemble that includes Uzo Aduba, Matthew Broderick, Taylor Kitsch, Dina Shihabi, West Duchovny, and John Rothman.

The official synopsis from Netflix reads,
“A fictionalized retelling of events, PAINKILLER is a scripted limited series that explores some of the origins and aftermath of the opioid crisis in America, highlighting the stories of the perpetrators, victims, and truth-seekers whose lives are forever altered by the invention of OxyContin. An examination of crime, accountability, and the systems that have repeatedly failed hundreds of thousands of Americans, PAINKILLER is based on the book PAIN KILLER by Barry Meier and the New Yorker Magazine article ‘The Family That Built the Empire of Pain’ by Patrick Radden Keefe.”

West Duchovny, the daughter of David Duchovny and Tea Leoni, is one of the prominent characters.. In this, Duchovny takes on the role of Shannon Shaeffer, an ex-college athlete and new recruit to the Purdue sales team, while Shihabi plays Britt Hufford, a veteran sales rep who mentors Shannon. Rothman plays Mortimer Sackler, co-owner of Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler’s uncle, with Ritter playing US Attorney John Brownlee, Edie Flowers’ new boss.

The other intertwining stories include Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Election) as Richard Sackler, scion of the billionaire family and senior executive at Purdue Pharma, and Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, True Detective) plays Glen Kryger, a hardworking family man and business owner whose life is upended after an injury. 

The show also features guest stars Clark Gregg, Jack Mulhern, Sam Anderson, Ana Cruz Kayne, Brian Markinson, Noah Harpster, John Ales, Johnny Sneed, and Tyler Ritter.

Painkiller will be executive produced by Eric Newman, Peter Berg, Alex Gibney, and showrunners/creators Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster. The episodes are also directed by Peter Berg, known for his films, Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Battleship. Berg speaks about his vision for this series, “My goal was to capture the DNA that lives deep in the soul of the opioid crisis — a very dense and complex tragedy fueled by greed, corruption, human fragility and more greed. For Purdue, the business was pain and business was booming…”

Painkiller will premiere on Netflix on August 10.

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