Is The Good Nurse Based on a True Story? Here Are the Facts

True crime has become really popular in the last few years, especially with the popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix. Documentaries, dramas, and TV series about serial killers are among the most popular content to watch today, and people expressed interest in why some people committed horrible acts. The new Netflix movie, The Good Nurse, is coming out on October 26th, and the fans of true crime stories cannot wait for it to finally “drop.” In this article, we will discuss if The Good Nurse is based on a true story and provide you with some facts and information about the upcoming movie.

The upcoming Netflix movie, The Good Nurse, is based on a true story. More specifically, the TV series revolves around the chilling true story of the nurse, Amy Loughren, who helped the police discover numerous murders of innocent patients and imprison a prolific serial killer and her coworker Charles Cullen. Most of the information and murders were “borrowed” from journalist Charles Graeber’s book, The Good Nurse. Charles Cullen was arrested in 2003 after Amy Loughren talked with Cullen wearing the wire and ultimately helped the justice authorities to imprison him.

We will discuss this topic more by mentioning the movie’s premise, its characters, the main theme of the movie, and the book on which The Good Nurse movie is based. Moreover, we will talk if the movie is based on a true story. If you are interested in this true crime topic, stay with us until the end of the article.

Is The Good Nurse based on a true story? 

True crime and its content were always popular amongst people. The streaming platforms like HBO Max, Hulu, and others made an enormous profit just by developing TV series and movies about sensitive topics. From the beginning, Netflix always banked on true crime documentaries and drama movies that attracted many viewers. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and other serial killers became part of popular culture.

Movies and TV series immortalized the killers and their “skills” and strategies for murdering innocent people.

Even though one would think that some things would get old sooner than later, true crime is still huge on streaming platforms, and Netflix will present us with the new true crime movie on October 26th, The Good Nurse. But first, let’s talk about the main topic of this section – is The Good Nurse based on a true story? Absolutely yes.

The movie’s premise suggests that it will revolve around the real-life event that occurred in 2003 when a nurse Amy Loughren discovered that her friend and colleague, Charles Cullen, intentionally murdered dozens of patients over 16 years of working in the New Jersey hospital. The Good Nurse movie source material is the non-fiction book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, written by journalist Charles Graeber.

The book by Charles Graeber is terrifying.

The book came out in 2013, and the writer did not pull any punches and retold the story in a disturbing, terrifying, fascinating way. Moreover, the book clearly showcases the madness of the murderer but also makes you wonder about the state of the American medical system, which many people questioned after reading The Good Nurse.

The movie’s trailer already looks terrifying, and if the creative staff of The Good Nurse managed to transfer the chilly atmosphere of the book even a little, the movie will definitely hit the mark with the viewers.

But enough about that. Now that we know that The Good Nurse is based on a true story, let’s look into two main protagonists of the story – a murderer and a good nurse.

Who are Charles Cullen and Amy Loughren?

Let’s start this section by explaining who Charles Cullen is. He is an American serial killer who confessed to murdering multiple patients during his career as a nurse in New Jersey. In sixteen years, Cullen confessed to murdering forty patients. However, during conversations with psychiatrists, journalists, and justice authorities, Cullen managed to recall the murders and the way he killed his patients but could not remember their names.

After multiple interviews and investigations, it is speculated that Charles Cullen was involved in 400 deaths in 16 years, which makes him the most prolific serial killer in history. Regardless of the number of 400 murders, there are only 29 confirmed deaths. 

Cullen worked as a nurse all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but the murderer conducted the most killings in his home state of New Jersey. According to the killer, Cullen had a miserable childhood and attempted many suicides during his young and teenage years. His first murder occurred in 1988 when he injected a fatal dose of intravenous medication in a patient’s arm. 

The authorities discovered Charles Cullen’s deeds with the help of his colleague Amy Loughren.

During his stay at Somerset Medical Center in Somersville, Cullen murdered over twenty patients, even though the killer started to get sloppy and his colleagues started being wary of increased deaths. According to the police investigation and The Good Nurse book by Charles Graeber, the hospital’s system failed miserably, and the deaths of the patients could’ve easily been stopped if the information about the suspicious deaths in the New Jersey hospital.

His final murder happened in the Somerset Medical Center in Somersville, New Jersey when a patient with low blood sugar died under suspicious circumstances. However, one day in 2003, after Cullen was finally fired from the hospital on October 31st, the nurse Amy Loughren, Cullen’s close coworker and friend, realized that her colleague’s medical record included accessing the drugs of the hospital, which were connected the deaths of the patients. Loughren cooperated with the police and managed to record the evidence for Cullen’s arrest. 

RELATED: 100 Best True Crime Podcasts of All Time

After he was arrested, Cullen confessed that he had killed at least forty patients, pleaded guilty multiple times in front of the judge, and took a plea deal that included cooperation with authorities – they will not seek the death penalty for his murders.

In 2006, Charles Cullen was charged with eleven consecutive life sentences in New Jersey, with the right of parole in 2388. While Cullen is still serving his sentences in New Jersey, Amy Loughren retired from being the nurse after Cullen’s arrest and started working in the alternative medicine world. In one of her interviews, Loughren talked about how she met Cullen, the Murder persona, only briefly, but she mostly knows him as a helpful colleague and a friend who helped her a lot during their work in Sommerset hospital.

Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain got praise for their performances in The Good Nurse, after early screenings.

Amy Loughren was also part of The Good Nurse movie and helped the actors portray the characters of Cullen and Loughren in 2003.

Now that we know who is at the story’s center, we can move fully to the Netflix movie.

The Good Nurse Netflix movie and its premise

The new Netflix movie trailer was released a month ago, and this is when Netflix announced the movie’s official release on October 26th, 2022. Besides the release on Netflix, The Good Nurse is already screening in select theaters in the United States. 

The official synopsis for The Good Nurse reveals the story of Amy, a hardworking mother of two little girls, fighting physically and emotionally to hold up her family through the hard night shifts at the ICU in the New Jersey hospital. Amy meets her colleague Charlie Cullen, another nurse if the night shift, and the two bond over the struggles of life and develop a mutual understanding.

Amy feels good for the first time in a very long time, but when the serial deaths of the patients occur during her shift, police start suspecting Cullen. She now needs to risk her and her family’s safety to stop the murders of innocent people.

The trailer looks really good, and according to the early reports, the critics give the movie positive reviews. Still, the talented actors and Academy Award winners Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne are praised for their performance in the movie. 

Some reviews from the audience are also encouraging, and we cannot wait for the movie to be available worldwide. True crime lovers have something to look forward to, and there is no doubt in my mind that Chastain and Redmayne brought their “A game” to The Good Nurse. Check out the trailer below.

  • Dora is an avid sports fan who started taking interest in TV and movies while attending University of Osijek. Characters, storylines and cinematography is something she started analysing very intensely, which made her respect the art of TV and movies more.