Hulu, Danny Strong Productions, John Goldwyn Productions, The Littlefield Company, 20th Television
According to the CDC, in the twelve-month period ending in April 2021, opioids accounted for more than 75,000 deaths in the United States (up 30 percent from the 12-month period before). It’s against that backdrop that Dopesick (adapted by Danny Strong from Beth Macy’s nonfiction book) plays out, chronicling the origins of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States—courtesy of the now-infamous Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for the drug OxyContin. This narrative would be impactful no matter its packaging. But the way Strong has structured this Michael Keaton-starring limited series is what truly makes it feel like an unavoidable gut punch. Refusing a linear chronology, one that would all too neatly narrativize the story of how the Sackler family put profits over the nation’s health in aggressively marketing OxyContin as a “non-addictive” opioid, Dopesick opts instead for constant juxtaposition: a doctor’s visit in 1996 is followed by a federal inquiry in 2003; a tragic overdose runs up against the craven marketing tricks of ambitious drug sellers. The limited series forces us to see, constantly and unwaveringly, the way the choices the Sackler family and its company made for decades directly led to what’s now a national epidemic. For its unflinching and humane portrayal of the United States’ struggle with opioid addiction, tracing its roots and its effects in tandem, Dopesick wins a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Network/Station/Platform: Hulu. Creator: Danny Strong. Executive Producers: Danny Strong, John Goldwyn, Warren Littlefield, Karen Rosenfelt, Barry Levinson, Beth Macy, Michael Keaton. Co-Executive Producers: Jane Bartelme, Mandy Safavi, Eoghan O’Donnell, Jessica Mecklenburg, Ann Johnson, Graham Littlefield. Directors: Barry Levinson, Michael Cuesta, Patricia Riggen, Danny Strong. Writers: Danny Strong, Beth Macy, Jessica Mecklenburg, Benjamin Rubin, Eoghan O’Donnell. Editors: Douglas Crise, ACE, C. Chi-Yoon Chung, Matthew Barber. Talent: Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosario Dawson, Jake McDorman, Ray McKinnon, Cleopatra Coleman, Raul Esparza, Will Chase, Phillipa Soo, Mare Winningham. Production Designer: Neil Spisak. Costume Designer: Michele Michel. Director of Photography: Checco Varese, ASC. Composer: Lorne Balfe. Re-Recording Mixers: Nick Offord, Ryan Collins. Supervising Sound Editors: Mark Lanza MPSE, Rob Getty MPSE.