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Netflix's new true crime movie is about 'serial killer nurse' who murdered 40 patients through overdose

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Oct 29, 2022 4:46 pm

Following the release of the controversial Dahmer and another true crime series titled The Watcher, Netflix has added yet another title to its true crime collection.

This time, it's about a hospital nurse who committed countless heinous crimes that went under the radar for many years.

Released on Oct. 26, The Good Nurse is a film based on the facts gathered by journalist Charles Graeber for his true crime book of the same name about Charlie Cullen—a registered nurse who became one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

The film centers on the fictionalized version of Amy Loughren (played by Jessica Chastain), an ICU nurse who is dealing with a severe heart condition. Despite warnings from her doctor, Amy still chooses to work long hours as she needed the money to treat her sickness after not qualifying for health insurance. 

She receives an unlikely support system in the form of Cullen (played by Eddie Redmayne), a newly-hired nurse at her hospital who helps take some stress off of her by offering to take her shifts and taking care of her two young daughters.

However, there's something far more sinister to Cullen than meets the eye, and when Amy slowly realizes that, she risks everything to stop him. 

According to Graeber, Cullen was dubbed the "The Angel of Death" by the media and was implicated in as many as 300 deaths of patients. Cullen committed his crimes in a span of 16 years in a total of nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania before finally facing arrest in 2003.

An article by Vanity Fair recounted that the real-life Loughren and Cullen worked as nurses at a hospital in New Jersey and there was actually a time when Loughren confided to Cullen about her heart condition.

According to Cosmopolitan, when Cullen was arrested for his murder spree in 2003, he confessed to ending the life of around 40 people by overdosing them with either insulin or digoxin via their IV drip, but only 29 of which were confirmed. Some experts believed, however, that the numbers were far larger.

Cullen's wrongdoings were eventually discovered and reported by Loughren and he was brought to the courtroom in March of 2006.

The Good Nurse is helmed by Danish filmmaker and screenwriter Tobias Lindholm. In an interview with, Lindholm emphasized that the film highlights the heroism of Loughren rather than the crimes of Cullen because he didn't want viewers to be fascinated with the serial killer.

"I think the biggest challenge was for me to not fall into the trap of just referencing other serial killer films," Lindholm said.

"Right now, there’s a wave of true crime stories. I think that for us, as storytellers, to enter the darkness of these true crime stories, we have a responsibility to find a human reason to enter — a light in there. Amy was that light for me, the hope and the humanity that she brought to the table," he added.

Watch the trailer for The Good Nurse here: