The Netflix Serial Killer Thriller Isn’t The Murderer You Expect

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The 2022 drama The Good Nurse is streaming on Netflix. The movie tells the frightening true story of serial killer Charles Cullen, whose actions are exposed by his close friend and co-worker Amy Loughren. Adapted from Charles Graeber’s 2013 true-crime book of the same title, the film is directed by Tobias Lindholm from a script by Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

Jessica Chastain Stars In The Good Nurse

the good nurse

The Good Nurse begins in 2003 with Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain), a single mother and nurse, working at New Jersey’s Parkfield Memorial Hospital. She suffers from cardiomyopathy but keeps it a secret from her colleagues for fear of being fired. To manage night shifts, the hospital hires experienced nurse Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), who quickly becomes Amy’s friend.

Charlie learns about Amy’s condition and promises to keep it between them. When an elderly patient dies under Amy and Charlie’s care, the hospital downplays it. As detectives Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) investigate, Amy notices that insulin was administered to the non-diabetic patient, leading her to become suspicious.

A Co-Worker’s Dark Secret Revealed

As The Good Nurse continues, Baldwin discovers Charlie’s past convictions and attempts to contact his previous workplaces. However, none of the hospitals are willing to disclose any information regarding foul play as it may damage their reputations. Meanwhile, at Parkfield Memorial, Amy notices insulin in another patient’s case.

She then contacts Lori (Maria Dizzia), a friend and former co-worker, who reveals a pattern of sudden deaths linked to Charlie’s previous job. After going through the hospital store rooms, Amy finds contaminated IV bags. Convinced of Charlie’s guilt, Amy alerts the detectives, leading to an autopsy on another patient, which reveals a lethal mix of insulin and digoxin.

When the detectives are unable to secure a confession from Charlie, Amy offers to help. After the friends have a normal conversation, Amy convinces Charlie to tell the truth. Charlie, who eventually confesses, simply says, “I did it,” and “They didn’t stop me.” The epilogue of The Good Nurse reveals that Charlie was convicted of 29 murders while Amy underwent successful heart surgery.

Eddie Redmayne’s Performance Praised

The Good Nurse premiered at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022. After a limited theatrical release in select locations, the film became available on Netflix in October 2022. Critics loved the movie and praised Eddie Redmayne’s performance, which earned him nominations for a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

The Real Killer Could Be Responsible For Nearly 400 Deaths

the good nurse

The real Charles Edmund Cullen has since confessed to murdering approximately 40 patients during his 16-year career at several New Jersey medical centers. While only 29 have been confirmed, he is suspected of being responsible for almost 400 deaths. However, despite extensive research, most of the murders cannot be confirmed due to a lack of medical records.

Stream The Good Nurse On Netflix

jessica chastain

Cullen was sentenced to 18 consecutive life sentences by a New Jersey Judge on March 2, 2006. He will not be eligible for parole until June 10, 2403, at which point he would be 443 years old. Cullen is currently being held at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. While The Good Nurse doesn’t focus on the sentencing, it gives viewers insight into how a regular person can become a monster.