Harrowing true story behind sickening new Eddie Redmayne series on Netflix
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The true story behind The Good Nurse, a new Netflix film starring Eddie Redmayne as a serial killer, is seriously harrowing, it turns out. Check out the trailer for it below.
Who would have thought that?
A show about a serial killer who murdered 29 people over a 16-year spree turns out to be a sickening true crime tale, eh?
Honestly, what happened to shows about mythical kingdoms and fluffy creatures, eh?
OK, that aside, the story behind Eddie Redmayne’s new vehicle tells the shocking story of Charles Cullen, a nurse who worked in hospitals around New Jersey and Pennsylvania over a 16-year career.
Well, a career that lasted until he was arrested in 2003 and admitted to killing 29 people, oftentimes by administering fatal drug overdoses.
Remind you of anyone?
When it broke, the story shocked the system that had allowed Cullen to continue his macabre work, as well as shocking a public who would have assumed that they and their relatives were safe in the care of health professionals.
Questions were asked after the fact, given that Cullen was allowed to continue working despite the mysterious circumstances in which some of his patients died.
Now, there’s a Netflix film about it, because of course there is.
Eddie Redmayne plays the titular ‘good nurse’ Cullen whilst Jessica Chastain plays Amy Loughren, a former co-worker who was ultimately instrumental in helping the authorities bring Cullen to justice.
The whole story – as well as being based on the truth – is also based on the 2013 book about Cullen’s crimes by journalist Charles Graeber, entitled The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder.
That book was so popular that even horror writing legend Stephen King paid it some enthusiastic praise.
Drawing on his own character – also a nurse – from Misery, King wrote: “You think Annie Wilkes was bad? Check out this chilling nonfiction account of Charlie Cullen.”
Cullen was known to have had a ‘miserable’ childhood, with both his parents dying before he left high school.
Then, after joining the US Navy his behaviour became troublesome and he became known as a loner.
He was medically discharged after a suicide attempt in 1984, after which he trained to become a nurse.
For years, Cullen flitted around different hospitals, often working on cardiac and intensive care units where people can sometimes die suddenly and unexpectedly.
It’s believed he started killing in 1988, when John W Yengo Sr. died of what was at the time described as a ‘rare allergic reaction’.
However, after his arrest Cullen admitted to giving him a dose of a drug that stopped his heart.
Over the years, more deaths occurred, but the tests for the autopsy didn’t include digoxin, a drug that Cullen was later found to have frequently used.
Despite being fired several times, Cullen continued to find work and continued to kill patients.
Reports put this down to ‘weak’ reporting systems because ‘employers frequently [refused] to pass on negative information, even about people they have fired, for fear of being sued for slander by the former employee.’
In the end, he ended up working with Loughren, who was contacted by detectives investigating a string of mysterious hospital deaths.
Loughren, described in the book as ‘outspoken and honest’, tracked down Cullen’s records and eventually handed her findings to investigators.
That evidence wouldn’t stick, though.
So, Loughren went into a conversation with Cullen wearing a wire, hoping that he’d admit his crimes to her.
She said Cullen told her: “I want to go down fighting.”
However, they were still struggling to get Cullen to talk.
They called on Loughren again, and she went for another chat.
Speaking to 60 Minutes, she explained: “I wasn’t very honest with him, and there’s a part of me – I still feel guilty about that. I was manipulating him a bit.
“...I told him the investigators were also looking at me, and how could he think that I wasn’t somehow going to be implicated?
“I remember saying to him, ‘So, who was your first victim? And was it a long time ago? Was it recent?’ And he started to talk.”
In the end, he confessed over seven hours and received 11 life sentences in 2006.
He’s still in prison in Trenton, New Jersey.
The Good Nurse is streaming on Netflix now.