Joshua Jackson isn't scared of going to the doctor now, exactly.
But "I'm more trepidatious about interacting with the medical system than I was before doing this show," the actor admitted to E! News, referring to his new limited series Dr. Death, now streaming on Peacock.
Jackson stars as Dr. Christoper Duntsch, a charming but ultimately sociopathic neurosurgeon who was convicted in Texas of maiming a 74-year-old woman during surgery—but who overall was accused of harming 33 patients, two of whom died after he operated on them.
"I'd definitely get a second or third opinion before I go now," added AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Dallas prosecutor Michelle Shughart. In 2017, her team won a guilty verdict and a life sentence for Duntsch.
Adapted from the 2018 Wondery podcast of the same name (while the foreboding moniker itself was coined by Dallas' D Magazine in 2016), Dr. Death is a truly chilling story about a person who positioned himself as a savior—"He thinks he's the hero," Jackson said—but ultimately ruined dozens of lives, the system that allowed him to run amok for almost two years, the women who believed in him (until they didn't), and the doctors who realized something was seriously wrong and made it their mission to take him down.
"We meet his loves, we meet his friends," Jackson shared, "and I found it really, really compelling." Duntsch was a character "that I was immediately just scratching at, wanting to know more about."
For the scoop on who's who, check out the main cast and the real people they're portraying below. And hear exclusive scoop from two of the women who knew Duntsch in the exclusive Daily Pop interview above.
When they were filming and he was playing such a villain, Jackson told E! News, "You're constantly in this cognitive dissonance of like 'Well, the outcome here is terrible,' or 'he's treating these people terribly in this moment.'"
But Duntsch "thinks he's the hero," he continued, "so the Duntsch half of my brain is totally fine, and the Josh half of my brain is going, 'You're an awful, awful human being!' So it was probably more necessary than I even understood at the time to be able to step out of that and be able to go hug my extremely cute baby every night."
Dr. Death is streaming now on Peacock.
(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family)
(Originally published July 21, 2021 at 5 p.m. PT)