'Capturing the Killer Nurse': Netflix documentary to lift the veil on unseen parts of Charles Cullen's life

'Capturing the Killer Nurse': Netflix documentary to lift the veil on unseen parts of Charles Cullen's life
Netflix's new documentary 'Capturing the Killer Nurse' will chronicle the life of serial killer Charles Cullen (Netflix; John Wheeler/Getty Images)

Netflix has been dropping one true crime show after another. 'Dahmer', despite controversies, renewed interest in the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Soon after, 'Conversation with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes,' featuring original clips and interviews of people involved in the Dahmer case, came out. Similarly, Netflix dropped 'The Good Nurse' on October 26 and is now bringing up 'Capturing the Killer Nurse,' a true crime documentary based on the "Angel of Death".

Netflix's true crime documentary will be all about serial killer nurse Charles Cullen. One of the most prolific serial killers in American history, the documentary will focus on a harrowing tale of friendship, murder, and betrayal. Moreover, the documentary will give us an in-depth look at America's healthcare system and how a killer utilized loopholes in it to his benefit. Besides the horrific incident, Netflix's documentary is also set to cast light on the heroic activities of nurses who teamed up and went undercover to capture Cullen. Keep reading to know more about Cullen and the upcoming documentary.


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The true story behind 'Capturing the Killer Nurse'

Netflix's upcoming crime documentary 'Capturing the Killer Nurse' is based on Charles Graeber's book, 'The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder.' According to the book, Charles Edmund Cullen was born on February 22, 1960, in West Orange, New Jersey. Cullen was the youngest among eight children. He often described his childhood as "miserable." He was constantly bullied by his schoolmates and sister's boyfriends. He tried to kill himself when he was nine. Cullen was also bullied by his fellow mates when he was in the Navy psychiatric ward. That was the time when he once again tried to end his life. 

Cullen enrolled himself at Mountainside Hospital in New Jersey and graduated from the same in 1986. He was married to Adrianna Baum in 1987. However, they filed for divorce after Baum accused him of being mentally ill. She gave away all their pets after she discovered he was cruel to them and would have killed them. She felt Cullen was dangerous because of the unfettered access to drugs he had at Saint Barnabas, the hospital he was working at at that time.

Cullen confessed he murdered his first victim in 1988 by giving a lethal overdose of intravenous medication. He killed several other patients at Saint Barnabas. He killed an AIDS patient with an insulin overdose. He left Saint Barnabas when the hospital administration began investigating contaminated IV bags. 

A month after leaving Saint Barnabas, Cullen joined Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg. He later killed three elderly women there with an overdose of digoxin, a heart medicine. Cullen confessed that he wanted to quit nursing in 1993, but during the divorce process, the court-ordered child-support payments to Baum who had left with their children. After that, his killing spree continued across several hospitals.

Cullen kept changing hospitals and places as he feared getting caught by the administration. He faced no difficulty in finding work as there was a shortage of nurses in the nation and but there was no shortage of patients who needed care. His abnormal attitude was noticed by his co-workers when he began working at St Luke's. A co-worker found medication vials in the dustbin and suspected Cullen. He was then given the option to either resign from the post or to be fired. He chose to resign. Even though the hospital reported Cullen allegedly being involved in patients' death in the hospital to the Lehigh County district attorney, there was no action taken against him.

Cullen's stint was at a hospital in Somerville, New Jersey. He befriended a nurse, Amy Loughren, there. She is described in Netflix's documentary as the "courageous" person who helped the detectives bring Cullen to book. She helped detectives by wearing wires and manipulating him to try to get the information about the murders he committed. After the release of the Netflix film, Loughren told Sky News that she was "proud" to see the film come together. Even though it triggered her but made her proud of herself too. Her only guilt was "missing my friendship because he's a monster." 

Cullen was arrested in 2003 and was sentenced to non-eligible parole till 2388. He later got additional six life sentences. Cullen is charged with 29 murderers and suspected of hundreds of murders. Netflix's 'Capturing the Killer Nurse' will give us an in-depth look into Cullen's murders. The documentary is scheduled to release on November 11.

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