Dr. Death: Is the TV show based on a true story?

joshua jackson as dr christopher duntsch in dr death
Joshua Jackson as Dr. Christopher Duntsch in the Peacock original miniseries Dr. Death. Pic credit: Peacock

The Dr. Death trailer has arrived showing a chilling first look at the upcoming American crime drama miniseries starring Joshua Jackson.

Jackson plays Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon in the Dallas community, who starts as a rising star but evolves into a monster in the medical field.

With the recent trailer released ahead of the show’s premiere on the streaming platform Peacock, many viewers are wondering if the Dr. Death TV show is based on a true story, or simply a fictional tale.

Dr. Death trailer and cast details

Peacock debuted the official Dr. Death trailer on May 17, which spotlights a neurosurgeon who seems to be maiming and taking patients’ lives rather than saving them or making them better.

“He’s either the most incompetent surgeon I’ve ever crossed paths with, or he’s…a sociopath,” Alec Baldwin’s Robert Henderson says in the trailer.

The miniseries, which also stars Christian Slater as Randall Kirby, focuses on Jackson’s Dr. Christopher Duntsch, who was once a “charismatic rising star” but is now considered a sinister doctor that needs to be stopped. Two of his fellow neurosurgeons and a young district attorney aim to put his activities a halt so he won’t destroy any more lives.

Jamie Dornan from TV’s The Fall and Once Upon a Time and the Fifty Shades franchise was initially set to play Dr. Duntsch. However, production delays related to COVID-19 caused him to leave the project, per TVLine’s report. That brought in Jackson, best known for his work in Dawson’s Creek and The Affair.

AnnaSophia Robb plays Dallas prosecutor Michelle Shughart, with Dominic Burgess as Jerry Summers, Grace Gummer as Kim Morgan, and Molly Griggs as Wendy Young.

As seen in the trailer below, Dr. Death will focus on the mayhem within the operating room, and the tense battle outside of it as attempts are made to take down this doctor who is causing chaos in the lives of others.

Is Dr. Death based on a true story or fictional?

“‘Dr. Death’ explores the twisted mind of Dr. Duntsch and the failures of the system designed to protect the most defenseless among us,” according to Peacock’s trailer details on YouTube.

It isn’t just a made-for-TV crime drama either, as the series adapts Wondery’s true-crime podcast “Dr. Death” to present a real-life story.

It details the horrific story of a real doctor named Christopher Dunsch, according to SlashFilm. While the SlashFilm website generally covers horror movies and shows, they mention the real-life considerations of this story are certainly terrifying in their own right. There were will likely be some gore in the operating room, but the more chilling nature of the doctor’s actions will be the true horror.

Within just two years, Duntsch’s gross negligence and malpractice within the medical field led to the deaths of two patients. He left over 30 other patients maimed due to his medical malpractice.

In a spoiler alert, the nickname “Dr. Death” was given to Duntsch as he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his willful malpractice. According to the Washington Post in February 2017, prosecutors focused on Duntsch’s victim Mary Efurd, due to her injuries being considered “felonious” so they carried the harshest legal penalties. 

His motives for the crimes were unknown, and he was said to have “behaved erratically” at times. Per Washington Post, he once compared himself to God and Satan in an email and even announced plans to become a murderer in emails to his employees.

Learn more about the real Dr. Death via CNBC’s insight into Dr. Christopher Dunstch in the video below.

Soon viewers will get to see this chilling story told in the Peacock miniseries, and learn how others attempted to stop the sinister doctor’s misdeeds.

Dr. Death premieres in Summer 2021 on Peacock.

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Andrew Li
Andrew Li
1 year ago

Isn’t accidentally killing someone already illegal? Why didn’t they arrest him the first time he “accidentally” killed someone?