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Hulu Review: 'Dopesick' Miniseries About Purdue Pharma and the Rise of Oxycontin

"Dopesick" cast, from left: Peter Sarsgaard, John Hoogenakker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Keaton, Will Pouter, Kaitlyn Dever and Rosario Dawson.

The opioid epidemic is Hollywood's new favorite story to tell. Several current movies - Crisis, Four Good Days, The Evening Hour - focus on this issue as does Dopesick, an eight-episode miniseries on Hulu. Where Crisis takes a fictional approach to Big Pharma's complicity, Dopesick names names - specifically Purdue Pharma, the infamous manufacturer of Oxycontin.

In the first three episodes streaming on Hulu so far (the first two are directed by Barry Levinson), we watch as Purdue aspires to be at the top of the Pharma food chain. It's all about their supposed wonder drug, Oxy, that's sold as non-addictive. When it fails to work effectively for pain sufferers, Purdue instructs doctors to up the recommended dosages, hooking people like Betsy Mallum (Kaitlyn Dever), a coal miner in Virginia with a bad back. 

The main character, Dr. Samuel Finnix (Michael Keaton), is wined and dined by Purdue sales rep Billy Cutler (Will Pouter). Finnix follows Cutler's directions even when he questions them. Episode 3 ends with an accident in the mine that's caused by Betsy's drowsiness.

The other key characters are shrewd Sackler family head Richard (Michael Stulberg), Justice Department investigators Rick Mountcastle and Randy Ramseyer (Peter Sarsgaard and John Hoogenakker) and DEA agent Bridget Meyer (Rosario Dawson).

Dopesick is not artful and brutal like Narcos. It's direct and to the point. Watch on Hulu


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.