Another podcast is getting a possible television treatment, and it might just make for one of the most unsettling shows you'll ever see.
In September, Wondery released Dr. Death, a multi-part podcast about Dallas-based neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch, whose procedures left many of his patients maimed, paralyzed, or seriously injured — and they were the luckier ones. As reporter and host Laura Beil details, Duntsch's botched operations allegedly led to the deaths of two people.
The most interesting part of the podcast (as someone who listened through heart palpitations to all six original episodes) is the analysis of Duntsch's psyche. Here is a man who was, obviously, an unskilled surgeon, but whose ego convinced himself (and others) that he was, in fact, capable of serving the Dallas medical community. Though not a serial killer á la the murderers explored in Mindhunter, he's a man who, per the podcast, felt little remorse when he did cause irreparable damage or death.
While Duntsch — who is currently serving a life sentence in prison — can be considered the villain of this story, Dr. Death is not just about his crimes. Instead, it's an exploration of a medical system that allowed a clearly inept surgeon to continue operating.
Now, the podcast could hop over to television. According to Deadline, Happy! showrunner Patrick Macmanus has been hired to write an adaptation of the material for Universal Cable Productions, with hopes that the show will find a home on a network or streaming platform.
It's the second series from Wondery that UCP has in the works: Dirty John, the predecessor to Dr. Death about a con man whose scam ends in bloodshed, received a two-season order at Bravo with Connie Britton in a lead role. Eric Bana will portray the titular character in the anthology series, based on the life of the real-life John Meehan. While John pretended to be a doctor, Dr. Duntsch is, amazingly, the real deal — just, it seems, a very bad one.
So, who could play the bad doc in the potential series? It's a dark role for any actor to take on, but right now I'm thinking Chris Pine should listen up — he bares a mild resemblance to a young Duntsch, and already tried on twisted television with TNT's I Am The Night.
Let's hope that a network wants to slice open Dr. Duntsch's story.
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