Everything The Good Nurse on Netflix left out about the real Charles Cullen case

the good nurse fans say same thing about eddie redmayne and jessica chastain
Everything Netflix's The Good Nurse missed outNetflix

*Contains mentions of suicide and murder*

The newest true crime movie to drop on Netflix, The Good Nurse, tells the terrifying true story of a nurse Charles Cullen, who has been confirmed to have killed 29 patients over the course of his career.

The movie features Eddie Redmayne as Charles Cullen and Jessica Chastain as Amy Loughren, Cullen's friend and colleague, who helped the police investigate Cullen and hold him responsible for his crimes.

where is charles cullen now
Eddie Redmayne as Charles Cullen in The Good NurseNetflix

The Good Nurse tells the majority of the story from Amy's point of view and so a lot of key details about Cullen's life are missed out or only alluded to. His marriage, early life and motivation for murder are all hinted at but not fully explored.

And so, these are all the key details about Charles Cullen that are left out of The Good Nurse on Netflix.

What was Charles Cullen's early life like?

In The Good Nurse the character of Charles Cullen reveals his mother died when he was younger, but that's all we learn about his upbringing.

In real life Charles Cullen was born on 22nd February 1960. He was the youngest of eight siblings and grew up in New Jersey. When he was just seven months old, his father Edmond Cullen died. He was said to have had a "miserable" childhood and attempted suicide aged nine.

During his final year of high school, Cullen's mother Florence died in a car accident. Cullen claims he was not immediately told of his mother's death and the hospital cremated her rather than return her body to the family.

charles cullen now
The real Charles CullenJohn Wheeler - Getty Images

Cullen dropped out of high school and joined the US Navy, where he rose to the rank of petty officer, but was said to not have got on well with his fellow crewmen.

A year into the job he was discovered by his leading officer to be wearing a surgical mask and gown rather than his traditional uniform. He was reassigned to a lower ranking job and attempted to commit suicide, he was then sent to the Navy psychiatric ward. Over the next year fews he was committed to the psychiatric ward on numerous occasions. In 1984 he was medically discharged from the Navy for undisclosed reasons.

After leaving the Navy he began studying nursing at Mountainside Hospital Nursing School in New Jersey and graduated in 1986.

Did Charles Cullen really have kids?

Throughout The Good Nurse, Charles Cullen's character, played by Eddie Redmayne, constantly brings up his children but they are never seen on screen.

The real Charles Cullen did in fact have two daughters, who he shares with his ex-wife Adrienne Taub.

where is charles cullen now
Eddie Redmayne as Charles Cullen in The Good NurseNetflix

Cullen and Adrienne met and got married in 1987. By 1993, the couple were divorced, according to court documents from the Warren County Family Court in New Jersey.

Adrienne filed a restraining order against Cullen, accusing him of "extreme cruelty" and claimed he was cruel to their dogs, citing one incident in which he zipped a dog into a bowling bag.

How many people did Charles Cullen murder?

The Good Nurse movie only dramatises Cullen's murders at one hospital in New Jersey. However the extent of his crimes are far more than those depicted in the film.

Upon his arrest, Cullen confessed to murdering around 40 people, 29 of which have been confirmed. However some experts believe the number could be closer to 400 individuals.

Throughout his career as a nurse Cullen worked at a number of hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The first murders he admitted to occurred at the Saint Barnabas Medical Centre in Livingston, where he worked in the burn unit.

Cullen would murder his victims with an overdose of either insulin or digoxin via their IV drip.

Which hospitals investigated Charles Cullen's crimes?

At the end of The Good Nurse, during the credits scene it is revealed many of the hospitals Cullen worked for had suspicions about him, but none stopped him.

In January 1992 Cullen left Saint Barnabas hospital, where he has since admitted to killing one patient at. Cullen left the hospital as an internal investigation on a number of IV bags began.

In 1998 Cullen worked at Liberty Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he was accused of giving patients drugs at the wrong times. He was then fired after being seeing entering a patients room with syringes in hand, which left the patient with a broken arm.

where is charles cullen now
Charles Cullen, shortly after his arrestJohn Wheeler - Getty Images

In 1999, he began a job St. Luke's Hospital in Pennsylvania. He was fired after medication vials were discovered in the disposal bin. An investigation revealed Cullen had taken the medication and he was given the option to resign or be fired. Seven of his co-workers told their local district attorney they were suspicious he had used drugs to kill patients. An investigation was opened but was dropped nine months later due to a lack of evidence.

In Charles Graeber's book about Cullen The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, it was revealed one nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital, in Allentown in 2001 had heard rumours of Cullen's crimes and shared them with her colleagues. The staff threatened to all quit if Cullen was not immediately dismissed, which he was.

What was Charles Cullen's motivation for murder?

One thing viewers may be surprised to not see in The Good Nurse is why Cullen committed his crimes, and that's mainly because the real Charles Cullen has never actually given an explanation to his crimes.

During his trial he stayed quiet about the murders he commuted and it was only in 2013, 10 years after he was arrested, that he gave any insight at all.

He told CBS News he thought he was "helping people" when he murdered them.

He said: "I thought that people aren't suffering anymore, so in a sense, I thought I was helping."

During his interview he admitted he wasn't sure if he would have stopped killing people had he not been caught.

What happened to Charles Cullen after he was arrested?

On 12th December 2003, Charles Cullen was arrested in a restaurant and charged with one murder and one case of attempted murder. In the film Cullen is seen being arrested after leaving the restaurant where he was meeting with Amy.

In real life Cullen confessed to these two charges, two days after his arrest. He then admitted to detectives he had murdered around 40 people in his career, though not all of these cases could be verified.

As part of a plea bargain Cullen admitted to murdering more people in order to escape the death penalty. So far, 29 of Cullen's victims have been confirmed.

Nearly three years after his arrest Cullen was sentenced to 11 life sentences and is not eligible for parole until 2403.

During his sentencing he caused so much disruption to the proceedings, the judge gave him an additional six life sentences.

Since his sentencing Cullen has been imprisoned in New Jersey State Prison, where he remains to this day.

The Good Nurse is available now on Netflix.

You Might Also Like