Joshua Jackson Talks Playing ‘Dr. Death,’ His Most Chilling Character 

Joshua Jackson
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Claudine Baugh

Actor Joshua Jackson is no stranger to mega-starring roles on the big screen but his character on the Peacock original TV hit series Dr. Death may just be his most chilling yet.

Playing Dr. Death

The Dawson Creek heartthrob joined actress Jean Smart on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Friday (May 20) to talk about playing the terrifying dramatization of the real-life story of former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch.

“Honestly, if it wasn’t true, you wouldn’t believe it,” Jackson said about the show. “If someone had written this script out of their imagination, you would never believe it because it's so fantastic.” Smart added that from what she’s seen too, “It’s mesmerizing.”

About Dr. Death

Jackson warned viewers the film was a bit graphic – together with Jean Smart and James Corden, they all agreed, “Don’t eat salsa” while watching the show. 

In a brief synopsis, the Mighty Ducks actor said, “It is based on the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, who was a spinal surgeon in Texas who performed 38 surgeries and butchered 33 of his patients.” Jackson added, “He is now in prison, he is the only surgeon to have ever been tried and convicted in the United States for very good reason and it [the series] is the telling of his story,” 

A True Story 

Duntsch was dubbed “Dr. Death” in D Magazine for his botched surgeries and gross malpractice that caused the death of several patients and left others with disabling injuries. But after performing spinal surgery on a patient; Mary Efurd in 2012, Duntsch’s entire career blew up in his face. Mary suffered crippling pain post-surgery, only for a follow visit with another surgeon named Dr. Robert Henderson to uncover some shocking discoveries. As per The Washington Post, Henderson found spinal hardware left in her soft tissue, a severed nerve root, a nerve with a screw in it, and several screw holes on a different area of Mary's spine.

It’s quite unusual for a physician to be indicted on several counts of aggravated assault stemming from events in an operating room. But after investigators took a close look at the neurosurgeon’s history and consulted with those who knew him, Mary's botched surgery was one of several in Christopher's record.

Nevertheless, Dr. Duntsch had his medical license stripped in 2013 and was eventually brought to justice after Mary took him to court.

Tune Into 'The Late Late Show With James Corden'

Dr. Death can be streamed on Peacock TV. The Late Late Show With James Corden airs weeknights 12:37 am/11:37 pm C on CBS, watch Joshua Jackson and Jean Smart’s appearance above.