'Dr. Death': Recap of Episode 1 — Joshua Jackson in Peacock Series

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TVLine 15 July, 2021 - 04:30pm 12 views

Is Dr Death Free on peacock?

Where can I watch 'Dr. Death'? You can watch “Dr. Death” on Peacock, the streaming service that offers hundreds of movies, binge-worthy TV shows, sports, news and culture for free. pennlive.comHow to watch ‘Dr. Death’ on Peacock: Premiere date, cast, trailer

Was Dr Death a real doctor?

The series was adapted by Patrick Macmanus and a team of writers from the Wondery podcast network. “Dr. Death” is inspired by the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a young and charismatic physician in the Texas medical community. NBC10 Boston‘Dr. Death': The True Crime Story Transitions From Podcast to the Small Screen

Where can I watch Dr Death series?

Watch the first three episodes of this riveting series for free, on Peacock. For only $4.99/month, get Peacock Premium, and get sucked into this complex exploration of a manipulated system. mlive.comHow to Watch Dr. Death, first 3 episodes free

Where is Christopher Duntsch now?

Today, he's serving a life sentence in prison. Duntsch, who is now 50, is serving time in a Texas prison. According to The Dallas Morning News, he will be up for parole in 2045, when he is 74. Duntsch appealed his sentence and lost the appeal in 2018. oprahdaily.comDr. Death's Christopher Duntsch Is Now Serving a Life Sentence

Stream It Or Skip It: 'Dr. Death' On Peacock, Where Joshua Jackson Is A Sadistic Neurosurgeon, With Alec Baldwin And Christian Slater Trying To Stop Him

Decider 16 July, 2021 - 06:01am

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Opening Shot: We hear a group of people testifying about how Dr. Christopher Duntsch (Joshua Jackson) ruined their lives or the lives of loved ones. We see a closeup of Duntsch, and as we pull back, we see he’s not in doctor’s scrubs but scrubs that say “Inmate” on them.

The Gist: We go back to July, 2012. Madeline Bayer (Maryann Plunkett) is in the Dallas Medical Center filling out forms in preparation for a back operation Dr. Duntsch will perform. He’s a well-known neurosurgeon whose practice has been thriving of late, but he recently moved to Dallas Medical from Baylor Plano, for reasons unknown.

A few days later, Bayer is back on the table, this time Dr. Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) is doing corrective surgery to fix what Duntsch messed up; when Henderson looks at the damage Duntsch has done, he’s shocked. After the surgery, Bayer still can’t move her left foot, and she tells Henderson that she never wants Duntsch to come near her again.

Henderson goes to Josh Baker (Hubert Point-Du Jour), the circulating nurse during Bayer’s operation; Baker is feeling guilty for not stopping Duntsch as he got in deeper with the mistakes he was making, but Henderson assures him it wasn’t his job. At the same time, the hospital administrator goes to vascular surgeon, Dr. Randall Kirby (Christian Slater), to find out if he had any experience with Duntsch. The first words out of Kirby’s mouth, while he’s working on a patient, “Doctor is a strong word.”

Kirby goes to Henderson’s office to see if Duntsch can be barred from other surgeries. Of the three he did that week, one is in a coma after he nicked a critical artery and we know about Bayer.

As they compare notes, we flash back to the previous Monday, to see the Kellers enter Duntsch’s practice to get a consult before the wife’s surgery. This is where we see Duntsch’s narcissism in action; he believes he’s the best at what he does, and that he left Baylor because he was being held back. But we also see his dark side. He treats nurses like Baker like lower-level humans, he has a hole in his scrub pants that Baker can’t stop looking at, and when the administrator comes to him after Mrs. Keller’s surgery takes too long, he immediately wants to know who ratted him out. Also, he never takes the blame for mistakes.

After one rough surgery, he calls his dad Don (Fredric Lehne), who drives up from Colorado out of concern. Don is a religious sort, and when he tells Christopher that his pride is a sin, Christopher gets pissed and leaves. We see him across the street from someone’s house, and he keeps wanting to call his former business partner, Dr. Kim Morgan (Grace Gummer).

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Because of its podcast origins, Dr. Death has the feel of another podcast-based series, Dirty John. It even has the same tonal shifts from serious to glib.

Our Take: Despite the subject matter, and despite the stellar cast, something about Dr. Death felt off. The series, adapted from the hit podcast by Wondery by Patrick Macmanus, doesn’t seem to know where to take the real story of Dr. Duntsch, who was sent to prison for life for permanently maiming a patient.

The real-life story of Duntsch involves his prodigious drinking and drug habit, performing surgeries while severely impaired, his arrogance despite his lack of experience, and a medical system that’s broken, especially when it comes to hiring. We suspect all of those issues will be dealt with during the series’ 8 episodes, but the first episode is more content with giving hints and clues than it is about actually telling the story.

It might be because the main cast members feel like they’re playing caricatures of roles they’ve already played. We’ve see Jackson play the arrogant psychopath before, and as Duntsch, he’s playing an amped-up version of that, a guy who’s convinced himself that curing glioblastoma, for instance, isn’t as complicated as other doctors are making it out to be. He is assuredly a sociopath and narcissist with a massive drinking and drug problem. But Jackson at times turns Duntsch’s arrogance into villainy, as if he needed a handlebar mustache to twirl between his fingers while he cackles.

Slater, who plays the outspoken Dr. Kirby, is all quips and stories about getting caught speeding in his Jag on the way to an operation, more of a classic snide Slater character than what he played on, say, Mr. Robot. In the case of Baldwin, it’s like he’s playing the thoracic surgeon in Malice, but just mellowed into fatherly arrogance after 30 years. (AnnaSophia Robb, who plays prosecutor Michelle Shughart, doesn’t appear in the first episode.)

However, what Dr. Death gets right on the nose is the uneasy feeling that anyone has when they put their health and life in the hands of a doctor they know little to nothing about. In a speech Duntsch makes to a patient’s husband, he rattles off credentials (an MD and PhD.) and says that he shouldn’t worry about her.

But many of us have fallen victim to surgeons overpromising, whether we were the patient or a loved one of that patient. As much as we like to think that this doctor will do right by us or our loved one, they’re just humans with frailties like we all are. Mistakes can be made, sometimes catastrophic ones. Back surgeries are a crapshoot to begin with, and watching Duntsch butcher his patients doesn’t make us confident about that option if we are faced with it. Let’s hope that uneasiness continues as Kirby and Henderson, with the help of Shughart, try to stop Duntsch from maiming anyone else.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: As Henderson and Kirby find out from an administrator from a hospital in Milwaukee that the Duntsch he employed and had no problem with was the same guy who is in Dallas, Duntsch gets ready to start another spinal fusion surgery.

Sleeper Star: The administrator Henderson and Kirby call to confirm Duntsch’s conduct at other hospitals has a very familiar voice. Want a hint? On his most famous show, most people called him.

Most Pilot-y Line: We’re trying to get the significance of Baker obsessing over the hole in Duntsch’s scrubs. Yes, we see that Duntsch doesn’t exactly treat his scrubs with care, but what does the hole tell Baker that we’re not thinking about?

Our Call: STREAM IT. We have a lot of reservations about Dr. Death, but considering the show will examine just how a butcher like Duntsch can keep getting hired by major hospitals who should be vetting their hires better. The cast helps things along, despite their sometimes over-the-top performances.

Will you stream or skip the podcast-based series #DrDeath on @peacockTV? #SIOSI

— Decider (@decider) July 15, 2021

The shocking true story behind Dr Death

The Independent 15 July, 2021 - 03:20pm

Dr Death, a new show coming to Peacock on Thursday (15 July), is based on the real-life story of Christopher Duntsch, a former neurosurgeon who was – as one ProPublica headline famously put it – “so bad it was criminal”.

Joshua Jackson stars as Duntsch, now 50 and serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2017 of maiming one of his patients. Duntsch has been accused of injuring 33 patients during surgeries. Two of his patients died; at least two others now need wheelchairs after losing mobility.

Duntsch’s story was first told in a podcast – also titled Dr Death – released in September 2018 by Wondery, a studio now owned by Amazon. GQ called it “the scariest podcast of the year”, deeming it “almost too difficult to listen to”. The first season consists of 10 episodes that explore Duntsch’s background as well as his medical career. It investigates his personal life and questions the system that let him go seemingly undetected for years.

“He sewed up one man’s throat with a bloody sponge inside. He operated on his own friend and surgically detached his spinal column from the base of his skull, effectively decapitating him and leaving him paralysed from the neck down,” GQ listed.

“A former colleague found a horror show when he performed follow-up surgery on one of Duntsch’s patients: Screws meant for her spine driven instead into muscle tissue, three holes in bone where Duntsch had repeatedly tried to set a screw, and a completely missing nerve root that Duntsch apparently amputated, leaving the woman unable to move her leg.”

Born in Montana and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Duntsch initially pursued an athletic career in US football – doggedly so, according to former classmates. “He had his goal, his sight on a goal and whatever it took to get there,” one unnamed classmate told ProPublica. “He wanted to go to college and play, and I can recall he was like 180 pounds and said, ‘I need to get to 220’ in order to be a linebacker at Colorado or Colorado State.”

Christopher Duntsch in a photo provided by the Dallas County Jail

Duntsch made some progress but lost his eligibility to play football after enrolling at University of Memphis, having transferred through multiple universities. It was then, according to ProPublica, that he started focusing on the medical field.

He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Memphis College of Medicine with an MD as well as a PhD. For a few years, he worked at a company focused on cell-based therapy. He first found employment as a practicing physician in Texas in 2011. Quickly, the pattern that would go on to define his career emerged. Duntsch operated on patients who came to him often with chronic pain issues, eyebrows were raised along the way, including from fellow surgeons who were surprised or shocked during his procedures, but the system didn’t provide any efficient way to hold Duntsch accountable.

Also in 2011, court testimony would later reveal, Duntsch wrote to his assistant and ex-girlfriend in an email: “Unfortunately, you cannot understand that I am building an empire and I am so far outside the box that the Earth is small and the sun is bright. I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold-blooded killer.”

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Jerry Summers, a friend of Duntsch’s, was left unable to move from the neck down after Duntsch operated on him. Another, Kellie Martin, bled to death after a botched procedure. In July 2012, Duntsch performed surgery on Mary Efurd, a woman in her seventies who lost mobility and was left needing a wheelchair after the procedure. “It was as if he knew everything to do,” Henderson told ProPublica of Duntsch, “and then he’d done virtually everything wrong.”

Two physicians, Dr Randall Kirby and Dr Robert Henderson (portrayed respectively in Peacock’s adaptation by Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin), worked to keep Duntsch from performing surgeries, alerting the state medical board. After a months-long investigation, Duntsch’s licence to practise medicine was permanently revoked.

Prosecutors began looking into the allegations against Duntsch, and in July 2015 charged him with five counts of aggravated assault and one count of injury to an elderly person related to Efurd’s surgery.

Duntsch’s trial revolved around the latter charge. His defence team argued that he was merely a bad surgeon, not a criminal. Of the “cold-blooded killer” email, defence attorney Robbie McClung said the tone was unclear and Duntsch could have been sarcastic in the message to Morgan. “I think everyone is reading an awful lot into an email,” she told the court.

Nonetheless, a jury found Duntsch guilty of the injury to an elderly person charge after about four hours of deliberating on 14 February 2017, TheDallas Morning News reported at the time. Duntsch faced anywhere from five years to life in prison, or he could also have been put on probation. Just a few days later, a jury sentenced him to life in prison. He has been serving his sentence at Ellis Unit in Huntsville, Texas, and will become eligible for parole on 20 July 2045.

Christopher Duntsch in a photo provided by the Dallas County Jail

How the ‘Dr. Death’ TV show takes 'a deeper dive’ than the popular podcast

Los Angeles Times 15 July, 2021 - 03:14pm

“In doing a television version of [‘Dr. Death’], we actually had the time and the opportunity to do a bit of a deeper dive into the story than the podcast was able to,” says showrunner Patrick Macmanus.

When asked to describe how she felt when she learned that Bravo was interested in adapting “Dirty John” into a scripted series, Debra Newell delicately offers just one word: “Nervous.”

Some of the changes for the Peacock series — such as the names of the patients in the podcast who were harmed by Duntsch — were relatively minor. Others were more substantive:

The series’ final episode puts Duntsch on trial for gross malpractice — specifically the mangled spine surgery of Madeline Beyer (Maryann Plunkett) — and features a montage of victim statements about the effects of Duntsch’s “work.”

Macmanus and the writers team created several other composites in the series, including Kayla, a former paramour of Duntsch, and Chris, a fellow college football player and onetime friend.

And while the ex-girlfriend of Jerry Summers (Dominic Burgess) — Duntsch’s former classmate, friend and co-worker — played a significant role in the podcast, Macmanus omitted their relationship from the TV show. “What we landed on was we would rather spend the acreage on building up Jerry and Chris’ love story,” says Macmanus. “Totally platonic, but there was a love story there.”

The biggest change Macmanus made in his adaptation comes in the fourth episode, “An Occurrence at Randall Kirby’s Sink.” In reality, Kirby and Duntsch crossed paths, but Henderson and the doctor never did. Macmanus knew it “would be problematic that Alec and Josh were never going to be able to be on-screen together,” so he invented a dream-like sequence where Henderson and Duntsch have a heated encounter.

“We take a dive into Henderson’s subconscious and his conscience during that episode, which allows us to bring Henderson and Duntsch together in a way that never happened,” says Macmanus. “So while it is a diversion from the rest of the feel of the series, it was a very purposeful diversion. And I think it’s an interesting turn that enables Henderson and Duntsch to go toe-to-toe for a little bit.”

In creating the scene, Macmanus was inspired by “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan’s work. “What I love about ‘Breaking Bad,’ what I love about ‘Better Call Saul,’ is the fact that he takes big creative swings all the time,” the showrunner adds. “You come to expect the unexpected.”

Spearheaded by Shughart, Duntsch is forced to hear testimonies from his victims, including Summers, who is left paralyzed after being operated on by the doctor. Additionally, Duntsch is confronted on the stand by Henderson and Kirby, who worked for years to stop “Dr. Death” from performing surgery.

At the same time, impassioned defense attorney Robbie McClung (Carrie Preston) attempts to place the blame on the healthcare system as a whole to prevent Duntsch from being convicted. Henderson, in particular, delivers affecting testimony that implicates not only Duntsch but also the healthcare system’s systemic failure to protect the people it serves.

By the end of the episode, the jury is out and the series shows Duntsch hauled off to prison. It’s then revealed to viewers that in 2017, Duntsch was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of injury to an elderly person. He’ll be eligible for parole in 2045.

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In the podcast version of “Dr. Death,” Beil says there’s no clear answer as to why Duntsch continued to operate. There are a few theories. One is that his God complex took over his ability to be rational. The other that it was nature versus nurture: that while it was ingrained in him to act as he did, his environment also fueled his behavior. Then, there’s the suspicion that he was a narcissistic sociopath — or a psychopath. Perhaps it was a combination of all three, as the podcast suggests.

In the series, Macmanus has Jackson lean into Duntsch’s God complex and charming, sociopathic ways. The showrunner believes that the ex-neurosurgeon is the only one who could explain his actions, but after spending three years entrenched in the world of Duntsch, he has his own theories. “I firmly, fundamentally believe that he was a product of nature, nurture and the system that enabled him in terms of nature,” says Macmanus. “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was a narcissistic sociopath who had a great deal of natural talents.”

Macmanus believes that if Duntsch would have stayed on the path of research, instead of performing surgery, the public would be speaking about him differently today. “Instead, that nature, the narcissistic sociopath, was nurtured, I believe, by his upbringing, which sort of fanned the flames of that need to be the best at whatever he does via football or wrestling or research and surgery,” he adds. Ultimately, Macmanus believes Duntsch felt he was “infallible.” “If you ask me, ‘Do I believe that he was purposely maiming and murdering people?’ No, I do not,” Macmanus says. “Now, the caveat is that the man deserves to be in jail for the rest of his life.”

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