‘Dopesick’ Episode 8, ‘The People vs. Purdue Pharma’ Series Finale Recap
In Hulu’s Dopesick Season 1 Episode 8, “The People vs. Purdue Pharma,” Samuel Finnix (Michael Keaton) finally finds a way to help the Finch Creek community. Rick Mountcastle (Peter Sarsgaard) and Randy Ramseyer (John Hoogenakker) have a breakthrough against Purdue Pharma. Plus, viewers get a glimpse into the events in 2019 that unfolded after Beth Macy’s nonfiction book concluded.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Dopesick Season 1 Episode 8, “The People vs. Purdue Pharma.”]
‘Dopesick’ Season 1 Episode 8: Activists protest the 2019 plea deal
Hulu’s Dopesick Episode 8 opens in 2019 with a protest against the Sackler family and Purdue pharma. “Dead from greed,” one sign reads.
“Shame on Sackler,” the protestors chant. “Shame on Sackler.”
Then the camera zooms in on Betsy’s mother, Diane Mallum’s (Mare Winningham) face, as she lays on the floor in protest. Betsy (Kaitlyn Dever) tragically died at the end of Dopesick Episode 7 after battling an addiction to OxyContin.
‘Dopesick’ Episode 8: Dr. Samuel Finnix
In 2002, Dr. Samuel Finnix met with his probation officer (Olivia D. Dawson). She suggested that he seek out a new profession that doesn’t require a medical license. He runs into Elizabeth Ann McClung (Alayna Hester). Samuel offers to take her to therapy twice a week and introduce her to the doctor he’s been seeing. At Dr. Art Van Zee’s (Raymond Dooley) office, Elizabeth took her first dose of suboxone.
Later in 2002, Dr. Finnix visits Betsy’s family to apologize. Her father, Jerry Mallum (Ray McKinnon), tells Samuel to go live his life. In another scene, the doctor begins driving more individuals to Van Zee’s office. He also coaches them in journaling about happier moments. Midway through Dopesick Episode 8, Samuel has a bus full of people to drive to the treatment center. By the end, Dr. Finnix ran a treatment center, Mountain Ridge Wellness Center, with his nurse from episode 1 by his side, Leah Turner (Arischa Conner).
Purdue Pharma terminates Billy Cutler
The Purdue Pharma sales manager (Sean Allan Krill) celebrates Amber’s (Phillipa Soo) promotion in another Dopesick Episode 8 scene. She questions why Billy Cutler (Will Poulter) hasn’t put in his transfer to go with her to New Orleans yet. Then Billy’s manager sits him down to meet with two lawyers from Purdue. They accuse him of stealing three Purdue sales tapes and terminate his employment. The lawyers bully him about signing a Nondisclosure Agreement. However, he refuses to sign. Later, Amber insists she is not friends with Billy and heads off in her car, crying.
‘Dopesick’ Episode 8: 2006 criminal investigation
Rick Mountcastle (Peter Sarsgaard), Randy Ramseyer (John Hoogenakker), and John Brownlee (Jake McDorman) sit down with Purdue Pharma’s lawyer. The attorney offers a $10 million settlement but refuses to agree to felony charges against the three executives. Brownlee counters with $1.6 billion and criminal charges against Howard Udell (Brendan Patrick Connor), Michael Friedman (Will Chase), and Paul Goldenheim (Alan Campbell). However, the lawyer walks away.
Rick and Randy search for more information about the “Toppers contest” within the sales team. They track down Billy, who is married with a baby on the way. He insists he doesn’t have the sales tapes; however, an anonymous package arrives at Rick shortly after meeting with Billy.
The sales tapes are precisely what Rick and Randy needed to indict the Purdue Pharma executives in Dopesick Episode 8. However, the political appointees in the criminal division ultimately will block the indictment. Brownlee accepts a $600 million settlement, misdemeanors against the executives, and felony charges against the company. It’s the highest amount a pharmaceutical company ever paid out.
Richard Sackler knew criminal charges were likely as early as 2002
In 2002, Howard Udell traveled to Appalachia to attempt to pay off Dr. Art Van Zee and Sister Beth Davies (Meagen Fay), who was leading the coalition against Purdue Pharma. The company insisted that it will not reformulate OxyContin. Instead, they want to donate $100,000 as ‘an offer of goodwill to help the community.” Van Zee feels it would help the clinic. However, Sister Beth insists she would “rather burn in hell than take a cent of their blood money.”
Later, Richard Sackler (Michael Stuhlbarg) finds out that Rick, Randy, and Brownlee privately opened a grand jury case against Purdue. The company hired Rudy Guiliani in 2002 and began securing high-up individuals on their side. Richard knew from that moment that he should do his best to protect himself from going to prison. Therefore, he stepped down as president of the company, claiming that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Who is Michael Elston?
In Dopesick Episode 8, Michael Elston tried to delay the settlement with Purdue, but Brownlee pushed it forward. However, after signing the documents, Elston pushed for the firing of five district attorneys, including Brownlee. He also hoped to fire Chris Christie, Colm Connelly, Mary Beth Buchanon, and Max Wood. However, Brownlee ultimately remained the district attorney of Virginia until 2008.
‘Reject the plea’ protestors chanted in 2007
In 2007, protesters urged a judge to reject the plea deal that Purdue Pharma agreed to. Activists felt it was too lenient and the executives should spend time in jail. Ultimately, the judge accepted the plea deal in (and in real life). Bridget from the DEA (Rosario Dawson) brought sparkling cider to Rick and Randy to celebrate their win against Purdue in Dopesick Episode 8. Although Rick felt they could have done more, Bridget insisted they struck the “first blow” against Purdue, which could help future cases. Her statement alone leaves plenty of room for a Dopesick Season 2. Plus, Rick agreed to take on Abbott Labs with Randy, who found that they targeted nursing homes with a drug called Depakote.
The complete eight-part series created by Danny Strong, Dopesick, is currently available for streaming on Hulu.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.