‘Dopesick’ Showrunner Previews Unbelievable True Story Behind the Hulu Drama

'Dopesick' Star Michael Keaton
Fall Preview
Gene Page/Hulu

The birth of the opioid epidemic drives the fact-based eight-part series, Dopesick, that’s as fascinating as it is infuriating.

Chronicling what showrunner Danny Strong calls “the big lie” of OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, the tale explores how marketing head Richard Sackler (Michael Stuhlbarg) led a campaign of misinformation in 1996 to dupe doctors about the painkiller’s addictive nature.

Dopesick Hulu Rosario Dawson

(Credit: Gene Page/Hulu)

In Virginia, a doctor (Oscar nominee Michael Keaton) and a young coal miner (Unbelievable’s Kaitlyn Dever) in his care are early adopters of the medication.

And as Purdue pushes sales reps to keep physicians prescribing Oxy (despite reports of patient abuse and deaths), a U.S. assistant attorney (Peter Sarsgaard) and a dogged DEA agent (Rosario Dawson) begin to investigate the Sackler family.

With these intertwining threads, Dopesick is a look at addiction, a legal thriller, and an all-too-true account of “a pharma company out of control,” Strong says. “You just can’t believe what they did.”

Dopesick, Series Premiere, Wednesday, October 13, Hulu

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fall Preview issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, August 26.