Dopesick
Dopesick (miniseries) Title Card.png
Genre
Created byDanny Strong
Based onDopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America
by Beth Macy
Starring
ComposerLorne Balfe
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
CinematographyChecco Varese
Editors
Running time57–65 minutes
Production companies
  • Danny Strong Productions
  • John Goldwyn Productions
  • The Littlefield Company
  • 20th Television
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkHulu
Original releaseOctober 13 (2021-10-13) –
November 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)

Dopesick is an American drama miniseries, created by Danny Strong for Hulu. Based on the non-fiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy, it premiered on October 13, 2021, and concluded on November 17, 2021, after eight episodes.[1][2]

The series received mostly positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for the performances of the cast, most notably those of Kaitlyn Dever and Michael Keaton. At the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series received fourteen nominations, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series and acting nominations for Keaton, Dever, Will Poulter, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Mare Winningham.[3] In addition, Keaton also won as Lead Actor at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards and 12th Critics' Choice Television Awards.

Premise

Dopesick focuses on "the epicenter of America's struggle with opioid addiction" across the U.S.,[4] on how individuals and families are affected by it, on the alleged conflicts of interest involving Purdue Pharma and various government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Justice, and finally, on the legal case against Purdue Pharma and their development, testing and marketing of the drug OxyContin.

Cast and characters

Most of the characters in the series are fictional and composite characters; Mountcastle, Ramseyer, and the members of the Sackler family are the only main characters based directly on real people.

Main

Recurring

Episodes

No.Title [5]Directed byWritten byOriginal release date [5]Prod.
code
1"First Bottle"Barry LevinsonDanny StrongOctober 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)1DJE01
2"Breakthrough Pain"Barry LevinsonDanny StrongOctober 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)1DJE02
3"The 5th Vital Sign"Michael CuestaDanny Strong & Beth MacyOctober 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)1DJE03
4"Pseudo-Addiction"Michael CuestaJessica MecklenburgOctober 20, 2021 (2021-10-20)1DJE04
5"The Whistleblower"Patricia RiggenDanny Strong & Benjamin RubinOctober 27, 2021 (2021-10-27)1DJE05
6"Hammer the Abusers"Patricia RiggenDanny Strong & Eoghan O'DonnellNovember 3, 2021 (2021-11-03)1DJE06
7"Black Box Warning"Danny StrongDanny Strong & Beth MacyNovember 10, 2021 (2021-11-10)1DJE07
8"The People vs. Purdue Pharma"Danny StrongDanny StrongNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)1DJE08

Production

Development

On June 17, 2020, it was announced that Hulu had given the production a limited series order consisting of eight episodes based on the book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy. The series was created by Danny Strong who also serves as executive producer alongside Michael Keaton, Warren Littlefield, John Goldwyn, Beth Macy, Karen Rosenfelt, and Barry Levinson who directed the limited series. Production companies involved with the series are 20th Television (replacing the initially announced Fox 21 Television Studios), John Goldwyn Productions and The Littlefield Company.[1][6][7]

Casting

Alongside the miniseries announcement, Michael Keaton was also cast in a starring role.[8] In September 2020, Peter Sarsgaard, Kaitlyn Dever, Will Poulter, and John Hoogenakker joined the main cast, with Phillipa Soo and Jake McDorman joining in recurring roles.[9][10][11][12][13] In October 2020, Rosario Dawson was cast as a series regular, while Ray McKinnon was cast in a recurring role.[14][15] In November 2020, Cleopatra Coleman joined the cast in a recurring role.[16] In December 2020, Michael Stuhlbarg was cast as a series regular.[17] In January 2021, Jaime Ray Newman, Andrea Frankle and Will Chase joined the cast in recurring roles.[18] In March 2021, Rebecca Wisocky and Meagen Fay were cast in recurring capacities.[19] In April 2021, Trevor Long joined the cast of the series in a recurring capacity.[20]

Filming

Principal photography began in December 2020 in Richmond, Virginia and Clifton Forge, Virginia and continued through May 2021.[21] North Carolina and Georgia were in contention, but Virginia was selected for its tax incentives and locations.[22]

Release

Dopesick was released on Hulu on October 13, 2021.[2] The first episode screened at the Virginia Film Festival on October 30, 2021, followed by a discussion with Danny Strong and Beth Macy.[23] Internationally, the series premiered on the Star content hub of Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar and Star+ on November 12, 2021,[24] The first two episodes airing that day with subsequent episodes released on Wednesdays.

Reception

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 88% approval rating with an average rating of 7.6/10, based on 69 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Dopesick at times sinks under the weight of its subject matter, but strong performances from Michael Keaton and Kaitlyn Dever and an empathetic approach to the very real people impacted by the opioid crisis make for harrowing drama."[25] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]

Joel Keller of Decider called the series ambitious and sprawling, stating Danny Strong succeeds to provide different stories in a non-linear fashion, and praised the performances of the cast, writing, "The series is definitely buoyed by its strong performances, from Keaton’s reserved and reticent Dr. Fennix, to Dever's confident portrayal of Betsy, who just wants to be herself but knows it can’t be in her hometown. Sarsgaard and Dawson do their usual excellent work."[27] Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily applauded the performances of the actors, calling the cast "stellar," and praised Strong's writing for not sugarcoating the exploration of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma's role in America's opioid crisis, stating, "The result is a solid, increasingly effective and satisfyingly well-made drama."[28]

Ed Cumming of The Independent rated the miniseries 5 out of 5 stars, found Dopesick to be an ambitious drama series, saying, "It aims to explore the scandal from the Sacklers down, opening with the development of the drug in the 1980s, to show how greedy bosses and avaricious sales reps were able to hijack the good intentions of doctors all over the country," praised the performances of the cast members and called the script "admirably tight," while complimenting the direction.[29] Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave the series an A-, praised the performances of the cast and their chemistry, writing, "Dopesick deftly corrals the vast addiction epidemic through intimate, deeply engrossing stories of human devastation."[30] Reviewing the series for USA Today, Kelly Lawler gave a rating of 3 out of 4 stars and described the cast as "excellent and empathetic, helping ground the series. Keaton is at his best, mastering a character who's a mess of contradictions and transformation."[31] Matt Cabral of Common Sense Media rated the series 4 out of 5 stars, praised the depiction of positive messages and role models, citing teamwork and benevolence, and complimented the diverse representations of the actors.[32]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2021
USC Scripter Awards Best Adapted TV Screenplay Danny Strong Won [33]
2022
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards Best Actor – Television Michael Keaton Won [34]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Limited Series Dopesick Nominated [35]
Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Michael Keaton Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Kaitlyn Dever Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or TV Film Barry Levinson (for "First Bottle") Nominated [36]
Danny Strong (for "The People vs. Purdue Pharma") Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Dopesick Nominated [37]
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film Dopesick Nominated [38]
[39]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film Michael Keaton Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film Kaitlyn Dever Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Limited or Anthology Series Dopesick Won [40]
Best Actor in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Michael Keaton Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Michael Stuhlbarg Nominated
Peter Sarsgaard Nominated
Will Poulter Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Rosario Dawson Nominated
Kaitlyn Dever Won
Best Directing in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Danny Strong (for "The People vs. Purdue Pharma") Nominated
Best Writing in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Won
Peabody Awards Entertainment Dopesick Won [41]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Danny Strong, John Goldwyn, Warren Littlefield, Karen Rosenfelt,
Barry Levinson, Beth Macy, Michael Keaton, Jane Bartelme,
Mandy Safavi, Eoghan O'Donnell, Jessica Mecklenburg,
Ann Johnson, and Graham Littlefield
Nominated [42]
[43]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Michael Keaton Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Will Poulter Nominated
Peter Sarsgaard Nominated
Michael Stuhlbarg Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Kaitlyn Dever Nominated
Mare Winningham Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Danny Strong (for "The People vs. Purdue Pharma") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Avy Kaufman and Erica Arvold Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Checco Varese (for "Breakthrough Pain") Won
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie C. Chi-yoon Chung (for "Black Box Warning") Nominated
Douglas Crise (for "First Bottle") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Nick Offord, Ryan Collins, and Jay Meagher (for "Pseudo-Addiction") Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Michael Keaton Won [44]
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Dopesick Won [45][46]
Individual Achievement in Drama Michael Keaton Nominated

References

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