Opioid Crisis Limited Series Set at Netflix From Peter Berg and ‘Narcos’ Showrunner Eric Newman

Alex Gibney will also executive produce “Painkiller” about origins of drug epidemic

Last Updated: February 18, 2020 @ 1:03 PM

Netflix is tackling the opioid crisis in a new limited series, “Painkiller,” from Peter Berg and “Narcos” showrunner Eric Newman.

Newman will executive produce with Alex Gibney, with Berg set as the director for all eight episodes. Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster will write and serve as showrunners. Newman, who served as showrunner for both “Narcos” and “Nacros: Mexico,” has an overall deal with Netflix. 

The series will focus on the origins of the drug epidemic.

“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,” Newman said. “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.” 

Patrick Radden Keefe, who wrote the New Yorker article “The Family That Built An Empire of Pain,” and Barry Meier, journalist and author of the book “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic,” will both consult on the series. Their respective works serve as underlying material for “Painkiller.”

“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,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of content for 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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