'Friday Night Lights' Creator Peter Berg Is Making a Netflix Show About the Opioid Crisis

'Painkiller' will be made alongside 'Narcos' showrunner Eric Newman

Photo by Gage Skidmore

BY Josiah HughesPublished Feb 18, 2020

Since unleashing Friday Night Lights upon the world, filmmaker Peter Berg has kept busy exploring all facets of America in film, covering everything from war to board games about war to the BP oil spill. Up next, he'll take a look at a serious epidemic facing modern families with a new Netflix show about the opioid crisis.

According to Variety, Berg is set to direct an eight-episode series called Painkiller, and he's not the only big name attached. The show is being written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, who wrote A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and also worked together on Transparent.

The show is being executive produced by Narcos: Mexico showrunner Eric Newman, with Berg set to direct the entire series. Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney is also executive producing. 

Newman said in a statement:

A tragedy decades in the making, the opioid crisis has become one of the most devastating public health crises of our time. Unlike other drug epidemics, born from underground manufacturing and covert smuggling, this epidemic began by prescription-dispensed by doctors, approved by government regulators, and promoted by a family-owned pharmaceutical giant that made billions while betraying the trust of patients and the public. I'm grateful to Micah & Noah, and Alex for bringing this story to me. Noah and Micah's narrative of how it happened, based on the spectacular reporting of Patrick Radden Keefe and Barry Meier, is heartbreaking and terrifying. I'm honoured to be working with the great Alex Gibney and I'm thrilled that Peter Berg is coming on to direct it.

Berg added, "I am really charged to be a part of such an in depth exploration of the genesis of the opioid travesty. Companies that profit off of death and addiction are fair game to me when it comes to illuminating the realities of how they go about their business."

Stay tuned for more information on Painkiller as it becomes available.


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