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Uzo Aduba (In Treatment) and Matthew Broderick (The Producers, Better Things) will star in the six-episode series, which will dramatize the origins of the crisis with a focus on Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. The cast also includes West Duchovny, Dina Shihabi and John Rothman.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s New Yorker article “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” and Barry Meier’s book Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic serve as source material for the series; both will consult on the show, which is slated to begin filming in Toronto later this year.
The limited series marks a return to Netflix for Aduba, who won two Emmys during her time on the streamer’s Orange Is the New Black. She’ll play Edie, an investigator leading the case against Purdue.
Broderick will play Richard Sackler, a scion of the billionaire family that controls Purdue Pharma and a senior executive at the company. Broderick is also returning to Netflix after starring in the outlet’s 2019 series Daybreak.
Duchovny (The Magicians) plays Shannon, a new member of the Purdue sales team. Shihabi (Jack Ryan, Altered Carbon) plays a veteran Purdue sales rep named Britt. Rothman (One Mississippi) plays Purdue Pharma co-owner Mortimer Sackler.
Painkiller is one of two opioid crisis series in the works at streaming outlets. Hulu’s Dopesick, starring Rosario Dawson, Michael Keaton and Peter Sarsgaard, is slated to premiere later this year.
Eric Newman (Narcos: Mexico, True Story) is executive producing Painkiller via his overall deal at Netflix. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Netflix’s Spenser Confidential) will direct all six episodes and exec produce along with writers and showrunners Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Alex Gibney (The Crime of the Century, Going Clear).
Berg is repped by WME.
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