The Narcos franchise has been a major success for Netflix over the past several years, and the service is now hoping to strike gold yet again with another take on the dangerous world of drugs. Netflix has tapped Narcos showrunner Eric Newman to deliver a limited serires based on the opioid epidemic. The streaming service announced the new series on Tuesday, with Friday Night Lights and The Leftovers helmer Peter Berg attached to direct.
The eight-episode series is titled Painkiller, and the trio of Newman, Berg, and Alex Gibney will serve as executive producers. Painkiller will dramatize the origins of the opioid crisis, based on 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 Origins of America's Opioid Epidemic. Both Keefe and Meier will serve as consultants. Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster will write and serve as showrunners for the series and Berg will direct all eight episodes.
"A tragedy decades in the making, the opioid crisis has become one of the most devastating public health crises of our time," said Newman, showrunner of Narcos and Narcos: Mexico. "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. 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."
"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 Netflix vp content Cindy Holland. "Combined with the directing of Peter Berg, Painkiller promises to be a powerful look behind the headlines of a tragedy happening in real time."
The series is still in the early stages of development and Netflix has yet to reveal any casting information or release dates.