The Good Nurse' Charles Cullen's true Story 2013
the-Good-Nursethe Good Nurse

Learn the real story of Charles Cullen, aka “the Angel of Death”


Rating: 6.8/10 · ‎74,802 votes, IS the good nurse a true story? The Good Nurse’ is adapted from the 2013 True-Crime Novel ‘The Good Nurse: A Real Tale of Medicine, Madness, and Homicide’ written by Charles Graeber. This gripping story delves into the crimes of Charles Cullen, an actual serial killer suspected of taking the lives of almost 400 individuals throughout his 16-year career as a nurse.

While Charles Cullen has always been a mysterious figure, the primary focus of director Tobias Lindholm’s film is on the journey of Amy Loughren, portrayed by Jessica Chastain. She forms a close bond with Charles, played by Eddie Redmayne.

Initially, Amy is drawn to the facade of a caring and compassionate nurse that Charles Cullen presents. However, over time, she realizes the chilling truth concealed behind her seemingly friendly colleague’s exterior.

Is ‘The Good Nurse’ Based on a True Story?

The Good Nurse‘ turns its emphasis on Charles Cullen’s beginning of the end rather than focusing on his initial crimes. Charles Cullen had a troubled history of termination from multiple hospitals where he had been employed. However, his true downfall commenced when Amy Loughren, a colleague and close friend, began to harbor suspicions about Charles’s involvement in the sudden increase in unexplained deaths.

‘The Good Nurse‘ unfolds the chilling events following Charles Cullen’s arrival at Somerset Hospital in New Jersey, where he first crossed paths with Amy. This gripping true story takes us through the unraveling of a sinister tale of medicine, madness, and murder, as Amy Loughren delves deeper into her colleague’s dark secrets.

Amy Loughren of The Good Nurse: Was She a Real Person?

The Good Nurse

“The real Amy Loughren was a colleague of Charles Cullen at Somerset Hospital, although in the movie, the hospital’s name was changed to Parkfield Memorial Hospital. In reality, Amy Loughren was a single mother of two daughters who battled cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. The film accurately portrays the challenges Amy faced, managing demanding shifts at work while coping with her health condition.

The bond between Amy and Charles began when, one day, Charles discovered Amy struggling to breathe and offered his support until she could secure health insurance. These events unfolded much as they were depicted in the movie. To uphold his promise from that fateful night, Charles resorted to a cunning strategy, using his knowledge to hack the PYXIS MedStation to obtain the necessary medications.

Charles’s ability to manipulate the MedStation became a crucial element in Amy’s investigation, as it allowed her to recognize the possibility of discreetly acquiring medications without leaving a significant trail.

This captivating story of Amy Loughren’s journey and the complex friendship with Charles Cullen brings to light the incredible twists and turns in a real-life tale of medicine, madness, and murder.

In ‘The Good Nurse,’ the film portrays the development of a strong bond between Amy and Charles during their time as colleagues. While a romantic relationship is not explicitly established, Charles succeeded in forging a friendship that made Amy comfortable enough to introduce him to her daughters. In real life, too, Charles Cullen had become a close friend of Amy’s before she unveiled the unsettling truth about the seemingly dedicated medical professional.

On her official website, Amy Loughren openly acknowledges her close friendship with Charles Cullen, who served as a confidant for her. She admits to confiding in him and holding an affectionate regard for him before the startling revelation of his true nature.

This narrative underscores the complex dynamics of trust and betrayal in a real-life story that ‘The Good Nurse’ artfully explores.

How did Amy learn about the crimes committed by Charles Cullen?

In Lindholm’s film, while the primary focus remains on Amy’s perspective, the narrative takes a slight deviation from how Amy actually uncovered Charles Cullen’s crimes in real life. In ‘The Good Nurse,’ Amy remained unsuspecting of her colleague’s actions for an extended period before she became convinced that Charles was the culprit behind the perplexing deaths.

The film vividly depicts Amy’s initial unwavering belief in Charles’ innocence when Detectives Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) and Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) questioned her during their investigation into the death of Mrs. Martinez, a 77-year-old woman who was believed to be the first victim at Parkfield. It was only after some time that Amy began to piece together the small fragments of evidence that finally confirmed Charles’ guilt, as portrayed in the film.

According to The Good Nurse book, the real-life Amy grew suspicious of her colleague when she meticulously examined Charles’ patient charts. These charts were riddled with errors, including misspelled and misreported observations. However, what truly raised her concerns was the unusual browsing behavior she observed when accessing Charles’ records. He spent an extraordinary amount of time reviewing the records of patients cared for by other nurses, thus posing to be the good nurse.

One glaring piece of evidence was the unusual combination of medications that Charles occasionally ordered. According to The Good Nurse book, Amy’s discovery included drugs typically prescribed for cardiac unit patients, a peculiar choice, given Charles Cullen’s position in the intensive care unit.

How Was Charles Cullen Taken into Police Custody?

Charles Cullen Taken into Police Custody,

Amy plays a pivotal role in the good nurse by assisting the detectives as she agrees to wear a concealed recording device to capture Charles Cullen’s confession, should she succeed in breaking through to him. The detectives aim to fortify their case against Charles Cullen with Amy’s cooperation.

In a subsequent scene, Amy and Charles meet at a local diner, and the atmosphere takes on an emotionally charged, confrontational tone. Amy persistently confronts the seasoned killer, desperately attempting to extract a confession for his heinous crimes.

In this intense moment, Lindholm’s direction emphasizes the emotional struggle as Amy pushes Charles to admit his guilt. In the film, Charles is depicted as initially resisting Amy’s efforts, but it’s evident that he battles inner turmoil. He appears to be on the verge of giving in but ultimately chooses not to confess his crimes.

“Reality unfolds a different perspective as the genuine Amy Loughren, in an interview with Newsweek, disclosed that the real Charles Cullen appeared much calmer and collected during the events depicted in the diner scene. While Charles didn’t confess to his crimes in both the film and reality, it was relatively easier for him to do so in real life, in stark contrast to the tough battle he is portrayed to face in the cinematic rendition.



Subsequently, the events align closely with the film’s portrayal. Charles Cullen is swiftly apprehended by the police shortly after the diner meeting. Amy pays a visit to her former colleague in the police cell, where he candidly confesses his crimes to her. ‘The Good Nurse’ provides closure to Amy’s story by revealing that she successfully underwent her heart surgery and now resides in Florida.

However, Amy and Charles’ narrative doesn’t conclude with his arrest. She made multiple visits to Charles during the trial and even exchanged letters with him, demonstrating the complexity of their relationship and the aftermath of the chilling events.

“Charles Cullen, famously known as the ‘Angel of Death,’ is presently serving 18 consecutive life sentences at New Jersey State Prison. The film’s closing notes inform us that he won’t be eligible for parole until 2403. Amy resides in Florida, leading a life with her children and grandchildren, and has embarked on a new career path as a Reiki master and meditation instructor.

While Lindholm’s film remains remarkably faithful to real events, it does take some creative liberties to ensure that the intended elements of the story are presented effectively. ‘The Good Nurse’ delivers a predominantly true depiction of the events that culminated in the arrest of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, even as the full extent of his crimes continues to be a subject of debate among experts.

Friendship Provokes a Deadly Confession in The Good Nurse’s Ending

Let’s talk about Parkfield, please. I wish to discuss what you did.

The Netflix original film ‘The Good Nurse’ is a haunting and strangely captivating portrayal of friendship within the high-pressure profession of nursing. Directed by Tobias Lindholm, this biographical crime drama delves into the heartfelt bond between ICU nurse Amy Loughren (played by Jessica Chastain) and Charles Cullen (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne), a new addition to Amy’s unit.

Amy welcomes the extra help and companionship during her demanding shifts, but as a series of her patients succumb to mysterious overdoses, she takes it upon herself to uncover the mastermind behind these sinister crimes. Who is tampering with the IV bags and administering the wrong medication? To her shock and horror, all signs seem to point to her newfound friend and co-worker, Charles.

What adds an extra layer of chilling intrigue to this thriller is the fact that it’s rooted in a true story. The screenplay, adapted by Oscar-nominated writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, known for her work on ‘1917’ and ‘Last Night in Soho,’ is based on the award-winning journalist Charles Graeber’s book, ‘The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder.’

The film begins with a gripping opening scene that immerses the audience in the unpredictable reality of a hospital setting. In St. Aloysius Hospital in 1996, a patient experiences a severe medical complication, seizing and ultimately passing away in his bed. Charles responds, doing his best to assist the struggling patient and alerting doctors, but the outcome is tragic. Although Charles appears less flustered than his colleagues, his demeanor doesn’t immediately suggest intentional wrongdoing.

His gripping tale invites viewers into a world of suspense and intrigue, showcasing the complexities of trust, suspicion, and betrayal within the realm of healthcare.

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

The movie then takes us to the year 2003, where we find ourselves at Parkfield Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. The night shift is notably understaffed, and much of the burden falls on Amy. Besides the overwhelming workload at the hospital, Amy is grappling with cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening heart condition, and the financial strain of providing for her two daughters as a single mother on her sole income.

Amy’s doctors strongly recommend that she take a medical leave and prioritize rest to increase her chances of surviving long enough to receive a heart transplant. However, Amy finds herself in a tough predicament.

She insists on continuing to work because she desperately needs health insurance and won’t receive paid leave until she completes one year of service at the hospital. It’s during this challenging period that Amy receives a glimmer of hope as the hospital hires a new staff member with ‘extensive experience’ and ‘outstanding recommendations.’ This new addition is none other than Charles Cullen.

Amy extends a warm welcome to Charles, and the two quickly form a connection, bonding over the shared experience of raising two young daughters. Despite Charles’s meek and unassuming demeanor, he begins to lower his guard around Amy, often making self-deprecating jokes.

However, the story takes a darker turn when one of Amy’s patients, Ana Martinez, tragically passes away due to an excessive dose of insulin. This suspicious death triggers an initial, poorly conducted 7-week internal investigation, initiated only because the Department of Health demanded it. Subsequently, a more serious police investigation is launched.

During this intensified scrutiny, the detectives uncover Charles’s troubled past. In 1995, during his tenure at a hospital in Pennsylvania, he faced charges of criminal trespassing and harassment for an incident involving the vandalism of a co-worker’s vehicle following a breakup. Although the charges were ultimately dropped, lingering doubts about his character remained.

Murder in the Hospital

The hospital administration initially tried to downplay the death as an ‘adverse reaction to medication,’ insisting that it was unintentional. In the numerous hospitals where Charles had worked, information about him was often closely guarded, and his name raised alarm bells. Amy, however, is convinced that Charlie is not involved for several compelling reasons. She points out that a double medication error is extremely rare, and she can’t fathom Charlie’s involvement.

Not only does it go against his character, but the timing also makes it almost impossible. The patient, Ana, passed away during the day shift, and they both worked the night shift. It’s challenging for her to accept that someone as loyal and genuinely caring as Charlie could commit such a crime.

As a second patient dies from a double medication error, Amy starts considering potential suspects. She reaches out to a former colleague who had also worked with Charlie and learns about a past rumor regarding Charlie overdosing patients, although no action had been taken at the time. This revelation prompts Amy to investigate further. She inspects the IV bags stored in the closet and discovers tiny pin-pricks, indicating tampering before the bags were administered to patients.

Amy shares her findings with the detectives and implores them not to disclose her identity as the source of this new information, fearing that she might lose her job. She reveals, ‘He injects insulin into the bags in the storage room before they’re administered. Because it enters the bloodstream slowly, it could take hours or even a day to cause harm.’ This explains why Ana passed away during the day rather than at night.

Since Ana was cremated, the investigation team takes the step of exhuming the body of the second victim to conduct an autopsy. Amy discreetly obtains documents that indicate Charles withdrew the fatal dosages, but this isn’t sufficient evidence. Simultaneously, Charles faces questioning by the hospital regarding discrepancies in the dates he provided on his application, particularly regarding his time at St. Elizabeth’s.

A minor date error serves as a breach of contract, leading to Charles’s termination. This slight breach of contract conveniently allows the hospital, which was withholding information that would further incriminate Charles, to distance themselves from him. Yet, as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Charles, with his history of nursing positions, could easily secure another job in the field.

Amy takes the risk of having lunch with Charles while wearing a wire, but her efforts don’t result in a confession. However, she does manage to learn the name of the new hospital where he’ll be working. The recorded conversation is laden with tension and emotion, as both Amy and Charles carry the weight of the truth, even if they’re reluctant to admit it. The two friends part ways from this meeting with tears in their eyes and the police successfully apprehend Charles while he’s en route to his next shift.

Justice Is Served in ‘The Good Nurse’ 

The gripping story of ‘The Good Nurse’ reaches its heart-wrenching conclusion as the detectives calmly interrogate a handcuffed and subdued Charlie. They suggest the chilling possibility that he may have targeted these patients because they somehow reminded him of his mother or ex-wife. This typically mild-mannered nurse or we may say the good nurse suddenly lashes out with intensity, repeatedly exclaiming, ‘I can’t confess.’

Amidst the tense atmosphere, Amy bravely agrees to meet with Charlie and requests that his handcuffs be removed. She gently wraps him in a sweater and holds his hands, attempting to create a sense of normalcy.

She tells him, ‘I forgot about your goodness,’ and goes on to express remorse for going behind his back and making him feel isolated. However, she emphasizes her need for him to reveal the truth. After some encouragement from Amy, he eventually confesses, saying, ‘I just did it,’ without a clear motive. With Amy’s gentle prodding, he shares the names of some of the patients, including Ana Martinez.

When a tearful Amy asks him why he committed these heinous acts, he replies helplessly, ‘They didn’t stop me.’ Even in that moment, Amy continues to tenderly hold his hands. Before the credits roll, the audience is provided with updates on the real-life Amy Loughren and Charles Cullen. In an effort to evade a death sentence, Charles pleaded guilty to the murder of 29 people, even though experts believe the true number may be closer to 400.

He’s currently serving 18 consecutive life sentences, with parole eligibility not until the distant year of 2403. Throughout his 16 years as a nurse, numerous hospitals harbored suspicions about his actions, yet no decisive action was taken. Surprisingly, to this day, there have been no criminal proceedings against the hospitals where he was employed.

On the other hand, Amy’s life has taken a different course. She resides in Florida with her daughters and grandchildren, experiencing the positive outcomes of a successful heart surgery. She continues to embody the qualities of a compassionate and dedicated nurse, living up to her reputation as a ‘good nurse.

“The Good Nurse” with Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne appears quite suspicious in the initial set of stills released from Netflix’s upcoming hospital-based crime thriller, ‘The Good Nurse.’ The film, slated to debut on the streaming platform in the upcoming fall, boasts a star-studded cast, with Jessica Chastain in a leading role and an ensemble that includes Nnamdi Asomugha, Noah Emmerich, and Kim Dickens.

Directed by Tobias Lindholm, known for ‘A War,’ the movie offers a dramatized retelling of a true-crime narrative that shook the medical world, prompting everyone to question who was caring for them within the walls of the hospital.

Adapted from Charles Graeber’s 2013 book of the same name, the on-screen adaptation, penned by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, delves into the gruesome crimes committed by serial killer Charles Cullen. Over his 16-year career as a medical professional, Cullen claimed the lives of approximately 300 patients by administering lethal doses of drugs.

In some instances, he rationalized his actions as a form of mercy, claiming he was ending their suffering, even when many had the potential to recover. In other cases, he alleged that the hospital’s practices were ‘dehumanizing’ patients, compelling him to commit murder. Jessica Chastain portrays the co-worker who first grew suspicious of Cullen and then worked tirelessly to end his reign of terror.

Considering what we now know about Redmayne’s character, the initial images send chills down the spine. One still captures Chastain and Redmayne’s characters sitting side by side on the hospital floor in front of a shelf stocked with medicines, both appearing utterly exhausted as they discuss their day. In another, Redmayne is seen peering into a patient’s room. He hovers just outside the door, his gaze filled with darkness and a pen poised over his clipboard – perhaps contemplating his next victim.”

 How They Prepare For An Emotional Scene

In a poignant photo, Jessica Chastain’s character conveys an intense depth of emotion through her eyes as she sits in the hospital, gazing into the distance. Her eyes tell a compelling story, revealing her profound exhaustion and her struggle to cope with the surge in patient deaths.

In another image, Chastain’s character is seen seated at a table, passionately presenting her concerns and suspicions to Nnamdi Asomugha and Noah Emmerich’s characters. The two men exude an air of authority, whether within the hospital or as members of the police unit tasked with investigating the perplexing series of deaths.

This initial release of images offers a glimpse of what’s in store, with Eddie Redmayne delving into his darker side while Jessica Chastain passionately seeks an end to the senseless tragedies. At this time, an official release date has yet to be announced. Be sure to explore the captivating photos below and delve into an insightful interview with Chastain.

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