Whether through scripted or documentary form, Netflix has never been a platform to shy away from telling hard-hitting stories. Such is certainly the case for the streamer’s recently released drama series, Painkiller. According to FlixPatrol, the Matthew Broderick-led based-on-a-true-story tale is one of the streamer’s top-performing titles – meaning that it deserves a spot in your queue.
Matthew Broderick is pharma executive Richard Sackler in Netflix’s hottest new series, Painkiller.
Painkiller unveils the shocking and heartbreaking beginnings of the opioid crisis. Unmasking the man at the top, the production sees Matthew Broderick starring as Richard Sackler, the big wig owner of the company Purdue Pharma. Throughout the series, audiences learn about the Sackler family, its early ties, reasons for diving into painkillers, an attorney looking to bring the pharmaceutical company down, and a blue-collar man hooked on OxyContin following a debilitating fall at work.
Along with Matthew Broderick, Painkiller also stars Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) as Edie Flowers, the lawyer who’s set her scopes on Purdue Pharma, and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) as Glen Kryger, the working-class man who gets addicted to the opioid after a work accident. Included in the ensemble cast is Sam Anderson (Growing Pains), Carolina Bartczak (X-Men: Apocalypse), Ron Lea (Doc), Clark Gregg (Iron Man), Tyler Ritter (The McCarthys), Ana Cruz Kayne (Jerry & Marge Go Large), Dina Shihabi (Ghosts of Beirut), John Ales (The Nutty Professor), West Duchovny (Saint X), Noah Harpster (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Jack Mulhern (Mare of Easttown), and John Rothman (The Blacklist).
Based on the New Yorker article, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe and Barry Meier’s Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic, the six-episode limited series builds a terrific story rooted in truth. A difficult look into a life-altering and destructive epidemic that is still ruining lives, the series does a wonderful job of revealing just how much power the pharmaceutical companies hold. At the center of it all, Matthew Broderick’s performance as the aloof and uncaring Richard Sackler shines a light on a man who wanted to make money and return his family to glory – no matter the cost.
It’s easy to see why Painkiller is thriving on Netflix. The streamer typically does well with productions of the same kind – specifically set around true stories. Add in a performer as famous as Matthew Broderick, who has previously been seen in titles including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, No Hard Feelings, Inspector Gadget, Glory, and so many more, and there’s no doubt fans will flock to check out the series.
Based on the true story of the American opioid crisis, Matthew Broderick brings the right amount of sleaze to the depressing reality of Painkiller.
Marking a first for Matthew Broderick, Painkiller is the first series that he’s led throughout his decades-spanning career in the entertainment industry. Although he holds credits in shows including Better Things, The Conners, BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time, and Frasier, this is the star’s first foray into TV leading man territory. Interestingly enough, this year also marked the same occasion for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his hit spy action series, FUBAR, which was another Netflix production.
As for Matthew Broderick’s next move, the triple threat (television, film, theater) was recently seen in the raunchy Jennifer Lawrence-led film, No Hard Feelings. After appearing on stage during 2020 and 2022 in the play Plaza Suite, it would seem as though Broderick is sticking to TV and movies for now. Up next, the actor’s voice will be heard as the narrator in the documentary The Gettysburg Address.
Painkiller is the first time Matthew Broderick is the leading man in a series.
While Netflix’s Matthew Broderick-starring series may be the latest show to tackle the truth surrounding the opioid epidemic and the sheer volume of lives it destroyed, it certainly isn’t the first. Most recently, Danny Strong (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) penned a Hulu series backed by mega names, including Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson, and Kaitlyn Dever. Titled Dopesick, the Hulu production told a similar story surrounding Purdue Pharma and their hand in the takeover of OxyContin.
Along with the Matthew Broderick-led Painkiller, Netflix is also raking in viewers with such productions as Depp v. Heard, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Riverdale, Suits, and The Mick. With all six episodes of Painkiller out now, audiences can binge-watch a well-acted series while learning a little bit about how the opioid crisis began. Likewise, all episodes of Dopesick are available on Hulu.