Is Glen Kryger from ‘Painkiller’ a Real Person?

Glen Kryger from ‘Painkiller’

Glen Kryger, the character portrayed by Taylor Kitsch in the Netflix series ‘Painkiller,’ is not based on a real person. While the show delves into the harrowing realities of the opioid epidemic and draws inspiration from true events, Glen Kryger’s story is a fictionalized interpretation.

The series takes a unique approach to storytelling by featuring real-life family members of victims who succumbed to the devastating impacts of OxyContin. These introductions set the stage for each episode and provide glimpses into the lives tragically affected by the crisis. However, the characters mentioned in these real stories do not appear as victims within the series itself. This separation between real-life victims and the fictional narrative underscores the show’s intention to distinguish between factual events and the dramatized storytelling presented on screen.

Taylor Kitsch’s portrayal of Glen Kryger is grounded in a personal connection to the topic of addiction. While Glen Kryger is a fictional character, Kitsch’s performance is informed by his experience of witnessing a loved one’s battle with opioid and amphetamine addiction. Kitsch himself has acknowledged the significance of shedding light on the struggles of addiction and the importance of destigmatizing the issue. He has emphasized the need to bring awareness to the opioid crisis and highlight the real-life impact it has on individuals and their families.

In conclusion, Glen Kryger’s character in ‘Painkiller’ serves as a fictional representation of the challenges and consequences faced by many within the context of the opioid epidemic. While not a real person, Glen’s story, as portrayed by Taylor Kitsch, carries a weight of authenticity through Kitsch’s personal connection to the subject matter. The show’s distinction between real-life accounts and its dramatized narrative further underscores its commitment to raising awareness and addressing the pressing issue of addiction.

Is Glen Kryger From ‘Painkiller’ a Real Person?

No. The character Glen Kryger from the Netflix series ‘Painkiller’ is not based on a real person. Although the show is centered around the very real opioid epidemic and is inspired by true events, Glen Kryger himself is a fictional creation. The series, based on the book Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic by Barry Meier and a New Yorker profile on the Sackler family, takes a fictionalized approach to storytelling.

Glen Kryger is portrayed by actor Taylor Kitsch, and his character’s story is a poignant and heartbreaking representation of the impact of addiction within the opioid crisis. As a car mechanic who becomes addicted to painkillers after a work-related injury, Kryger’s journey serves as a reflection of the struggles faced by many individuals in the United States who have been affected by addiction to opioids.

Executive producer Pete Berg clarified that while Glen Kryger is a composite character, elements of his story are drawn from real-life experiences. Berg stated that he has encountered individuals similar to Glen in his own life, emphasizing the authenticity that underlies the character’s portrayal. The series aims to shed light on the broader issues surrounding the opioid epidemic, using a fictionalized narrative to capture the essence of the crisis while also drawing from the shared experiences of those affected.

Glen Kryger’s storyline in ‘Painkiller’ showcases the devastating consequences of addiction, including strained relationships with family, and loved ones, and personal struggles to overcome the grip of opioids. Although Glen is not a real person, his character’s trajectory is a reflection of the collective experiences of those who have faced similar battles with addiction.

Taylor Kitsch, who portrays Glen Kryger, has expressed a personal connection to the character due to his own experiences with someone who struggled with addiction. This connection adds depth and authenticity to his portrayal of Kryger’s challenges and journey. Kitsch has noted that his role in ‘Painkiller’ has been one of the most fulfilling in his acting career, underlining the importance of shedding light on the human stories behind the opioid crisis.

In summary, while Glen Kryger from ‘Painkiller’ is not a real person, his character embodies the struggles and experiences of countless individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic. The series uses a fictional lens to explore these realities, emphasizing the urgent need for understanding, empathy, and solutions in addressing the far-reaching consequences of addiction.



“Painkiller” is a compelling American drama limited series produced exclusively for Netflix. Created by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the show tackles a pressing and impactful issue in modern society—the opioid crisis. This six-episode series is grounded in factual accounts and investigative journalism, drawing inspiration from Patrick Radden Keefe’s New Yorker article titled “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” as well as the book “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic” authored by Barry Meier.

The central focus of “Painkiller” lies in shedding light on the inception and subsequent devastating consequences of the opioid crisis. The series delves into the emergence of this crisis with a particular emphasis on Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing OxyContin. OxyContin is a powerful opioid painkiller that played a pivotal role in contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States. The show’s narrative serves as a vehicle to explore the profound impact of this crisis on individuals, families, and society at large.

“Painkiller” provides a comprehensive view of the opioid crisis by intertwining real-life events, journalistic accounts, and dramatized storytelling. By drawing from factual sources and personal testimonies, the series aims to create an immersive and informative experience for its viewers. The creators, Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster, work to strike a balance between authenticity and dramatization, enabling audiences to connect with the gravity of the crisis while engaging with a compelling narrative.

The series premiered on Netflix on August 10, 2023, marking its entry into the streaming platform’s extensive library of original content. The choice of the medium allows the show to reach a wide and diverse audience, contributing to a broader understanding of the opioid epidemic and its implications. By using the platform to tell this important story, “Painkiller” seeks to raise awareness, challenge stigmas, and prompt conversations about addiction, pharmaceutical industry practices, and the broader societal factors that contributed to the crisis.

In summary, “Painkiller” serves as a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the opioid crisis, utilizing a combination of real events and fictional storytelling to engage audiences. With a focus on Purdue Pharma’s role in the epidemic and the human experiences it affected, the series offers a comprehensive perspective on a critical issue. Through its premier on Netflix, “Painkiller” becomes a catalyst for understanding, empathy, and dialogue surrounding the opioid crisis and its multifaceted repercussions.

Painkiller Cast



Edie Flowers

Uzo Aduba

Richard Sackler

Matthew Broderick

Raymond Sackler

Sam Anderson

Arthur Sackler

Clark Gregg

Glen Kryger

Taylor Kitsch

Lily Kryger

Carolina Bartczak

John L. Brownlee

Tyler Ritter

Dr. Gregory Fitzgibbons

John Ales

Bill Havens

Ron Lea

Brianna Ortiz

Ana Cruz Kayne

Shannon Schaeffer

West Duchovny

Tyler Kryger

Jack Mulhern


Dina Shihabi

Mortimer Sackler

John Rothman

Michael Friedman

John Murphy

Dr. Curtis Wright

Noah Harpster

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

Leave a Comment