The Good Nurse Ending Explained and Compared to the Real-Life Incident

The Good Nurse Ending Explained and Compared to the Real-Life Incident

Netflix has come out with yet another true-crime title to engross you. The Good Nurse follows Amy Loughren, a nurse who suspects that her colleague could be a serial killer responsible for recent patient deaths at her hospital.

The story is based on the real-life story of serial killer Charles Cullen, and the screenplay is adapted from Charles Graeber’s The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder.

As with any crime mystery, the audience is curious about what happens in the end. Does Charlie get caught or does he get away?

In The Good Nurse, Charlie is arrested based on the evidence of administering an unsanctioned dose of insulin to his last victim. Thereafter, he has a two-hour chat with his colleague Amy, during which he confesses to his crimes.

To help you understand the story better, I’ve explained the ending in more detail as well as added updates about what happens to both Charlie and Amy after the arrest. Read on:

1. How does Amy help to get Charlie arrested in The Good Nurse?

Amy grows suspicious after the death of Kelly Anderson, especially because she too received a shot of insulin prior to her death. Amy then decides to talk to an old friend and fellow nurse, Lori, who previously worked with Charlie.

The Good Nurse Ending Explained and Compared to Real-Life Incident
The Good Nurse | Source: IMDb

Lori reveals that the ward Charlie worked in also suffered from insulin-related deaths, although he was not charged for it. What further convinces Amy is that she finds a stash of tampered insulin bottles at her own hospital.

She alerts the detectives, who immediately order an autopsy to be carried out on Kelly’s body. Once it is confirmed that Kelly died of insulin mixed with digoxin, Charlie is fired and arrested.

In the first several attempts, Charlie refuses to talk in custody.

It is only during a rather affable two-hour conversation with Amy that Charlie finally admits to the crimes. What is definitely poignant is that he says he killed the patients because “they (the hospitals) did not stop me”—highlighting the gross negligence on all of the hospitals’ part.

2. The Aftermath of the Real-Life Incident

The film follows the events described in the book pretty much to the tee, including how it was Amy’s conversation with Charlie that ultimately gets him to confess.

The Good Nurse Ending Explained and Compared to Real-Life Incident
The Good Nurse | Source: IMDb

Neither the book nor the film explores what exactly about the conversation convinced Charlie to confess. In fact, neither narratives are focused on giving the audience the criminal’s perspective—which might be for the better.

It is possible that Charlie realized that his arrest was inevitable and hence confessed. In real life, he ended up taking a plea deal, and while he was sentenced to 18 life sentences, it is perhaps his cooperation that helped him avoid death row. As of 2022, he is still in prison.

(In the US, a life sentence amounts to approximately 15 years.)

He also cooperated with identifying 40 victims. However, only 29 could be confirmed without a doubt. There are claims that his total body count could be 400 victims or more but not many out of them may be verifiable.

3. What happened to Amy?

The Good Nurse Ending Explained and Compared to Real-Life Incident
The Good Nurse | Source: IMDb

The film’s conclusion may make us believe that it was a relatively happy conclusion for Amy, as she was able to get out of harm’s way, catch a serial killer, and receive her heart surgery.

The truth is that such incidents inevitably leave you with a lot of trauma. Let’s not forget that Charlie was her friend and confidant.

Amy gave up being a nurse and tried on a couple of different careers, including a hypnotherapist and a Reiki master, among others. She also chronicled how she dealt with the trauma on her blog.

She also was an active consultant for the film, in order to ensure that the story was portrayed as authentically as possible.

Watch The Good Nurse on:

4. About The Good Nurse

The Good Nurse is a 2022 American drama film based on the 2013 true-crime novel of the same name by Charles Graeber. It is directed by Tobias Lindholm with a screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

It follows the real-life tale of Amy Loughren, a nurse who suspects her colleague Charles Cullen to be a serial killer responsible for the recent deaths at her hospital. 

The cast includes Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, and Noah Emmerich.