‘Capturing the Killer Nurse’

A perfect accompaniment to the docudrama account in the feature film The Good Nurse, director Tim Travers Hawkins (Burn It Down!, XY Chelsea) explores the same material that exposed nurse Charles Cullen as potentially the biggest serial killer in US history as he murdered patients during a 16-year career spanning several New Jersey medical centres prior to being arrested in 2003.

As a documentary, Capturing the Killer Nurse is more specific and precise than the feature which inevitably focuses on the characters involved. Interviews with medical staff, police investigators, family members of victims piece together a shocking culpability of the American healthcare system and the toxic culture of hospital profitability. Yet Hawkins’ film is not an attempt to be comprehensive in its investigation. Instead, the focus is on the two months when Cullen worked at Somerset Hospital in New Jersey when police and his colleagues work together to prove his guilt – in spite of opposition and threats by hospital management. 

It’s a confronting tale – but for colleagues Amy Loughren and Donna Hargreaves at Somerset, also confusing as friendships were developed with the quiet, supportive Cullen. Forty victims is the number Cullen has confessed to – but experts believe the figure could be closer to 400.

Rating: 64%

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