It’s the kind of true crime story episodes of Dateline are made of: a mild-mannered dentist in upstate New York is accused of killing the husband of the woman he’d been having an affair with. The murder weapon? A poison highly specific to his profession.
But that’s truly just the beginning of the bizarre twists and high drama of My Dentist’s Murder Trial, an upcoming limited series from HBO based on a 2017 New Yorker article. Written by a journalist who was also one of the dentist in question’s longtime patients, the piece adds a level of meta-narrative that lifts the tale above its sordid, soap-operatic details and made it the sort of story worthy of HBO – and some top-class actors – rather than, say, the Lifetime channel.
Here’s what we know about the series so far:
When is My Dentist’s Murder Trial on HBO?
According to Variety, the show is in early development as of July 2022, and no release date has been set – and given the recent tumult at the ol’ Home Box Office, let’s just hope it gets released at all.
Who is starring in My Dentist’s Murder Trial?
So far, only two names are confirmed to be involved in the project. One is Pedro Pascal, the Chilean-born actor best known for his starring role in The Mandalorian and who’s also turned up in Game of Thrones, Narcos and HBO’s highly anticipated upcoming video-game adaptation The Last of Us. He’s slated to play the dentist of the title, Dr Gilberto Nunez, who in 2017 was accused of killing his friend. The other name is David Harbour, most recognisable for playing the gruff-but-loveable Jim Hopper on Netflix’s Stranger Things. His exact role has not yet been announced.
Who is directing My Dentist’s Murder Trial?
The series is written and directed by Steven Conrad. His writing credits to date include the inspirational Ben Stiller comedy-drama The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness and at least one episode of the upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off Tales of Dunk and Egg.
Is My Dentist’s Murder Trial based on a true story?
Oh boy, is it ever. The show takes its title from writer James Lasdun’s first-person account of watching his longtime family dentist stand trial for murder (and other crimes), published in The New Yorker in 2017 with the subhead: ‘Adultery, false identities, and a lethal sedation: a baroque courtroom drama unfolds in upstate New York.’ How much will be embellished when it hits the screen is unknown, but really it’s not like you’ve got to invent much drama here.
What is My Dentist’s Murder Trial about?
In 2017, Dr Gilberto Nunez, a dentist in Saugerties, New York, was indicted on charges of murdering Thomas Kolman via poisoning. (A lethal amount of midazolam, a sedative used exclusively by dentists and doctors, was found in Kolman’s system.) Nunez was having an affair with Kolman’s wife and had made several attempts to convince her to leave her husband – one convoluted ploy involved impersonating an CIA agent, which also got Nunez brought up on two counts of forgery.
That’s the true crime element. The more meta narrative involves Lasdun, who visited Nunez while he was out on bail and interviewed him about his alleged crimes, which he denied. So far, neither Conrad nor HBO has confirmed how exactly the series will approach the crime and the article it’s based on, but we’d expect some level of fictionalised, Capote-style reportage.