Dr. Death Season 2: Ashley Michel Hoban and Patrick Macmanus discuss choosing a doctor to follow

DR. DEATH -- Episode 201 “Like Magic” — Pictured: (L-R) Edgar Ramírez as Paolo, Mandy Moore as Benita -- (Photo by: Peacock)
DR. DEATH -- Episode 201 “Like Magic” — Pictured: (L-R) Edgar Ramírez as Paolo, Mandy Moore as Benita -- (Photo by: Peacock) /

Sadly, there isn’t a shortage of bad doctors to follow. Ashley Michel Hoban and Patrick Macmanus sat down to talk about choosing the Dr. Death Season 2 story.

The first season of Dr. Death followed Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a young and charismatic doctor in Texas. As his practice grew, so did his death count. Suddenly, patients were going in with routine spinal surgeries and coming out permanently disabled or dead. Michelle Shughart and two fellow physicians set out to put a stop to his medical malpractice, and that’s what the first season followed.

Now it’s time for another bad doctor. Dr. Death Season 2 follows Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, a charming surgeon known for his innovative operations. He was nicknamed the “Miracle Man,” but what would happen when an investigative journalist started looking into his story? What happened when his secrets came out? And what happened when this investigative journalist, Benita Alexander, started to fall for his charming ways?

Ashley Michel Hoban and Patrick Macmanus talked about developing the storyline, including the tricks to avoid sensationalizing while making it compelling.

Choosing a storyline for Dr. Death Season 2

Sadly, there isn’t a shortage of dark and twisty medical practices in history. So, how did Hoban and Macmanus go about choosing this storyline?

Ashley Michel Hoban: Once we listened to this season of the podcast, it was a no-brainer. It took a lot of the same themes as we had in Season 1, systemic problems in medicine and it expanded it globally, which was one of the goals. And it got to have this exciting love story, which was an interesting way into the story…It was fun to access that side of Paolo’s life and watch, through Benita, how Paolo was able to maneuver through the medicine of it.

Opting for an anthology series over a continued storyline

A lot of shows are now looking at sticking to just one season or they’re becoming an anthology series. Look at the likes of American Crime Story and Cruel Summer. So, it’s not all that surprising that Dr. Death is doing it to.

Does this make it easier for the storytelling?

Hoban: You’re using such a different part of your storytelling brain. I don’t want to say it’s starting over every time, but it is. One of the most exciting things about storytelling is finding your way into the story, so we get to do that over and over…I also think with an anthology series there’s a chance to expand each season, and that’s exciting.

Patrick Macmanus: If the industry would allow me to only make limited series for the totality of my career, I would be very happy because my attention span relates to my own creativity, which is very small. I do like the idea of moving from show to show, idea to idea, cast to cast, I just think it’s very exciting.

Ashley Michel Hoban talks creating compelling stories

It would be easy to sensationalized a story, but we don’t need that for TV. We need something compelling and meaningful. That’s something Dr. Death managed with Season 1 and continues to manage with Season 2. How was that possible?

Hoban: We’ve been working in true crime for a bit, and I think something that comes up often is grounding and levity. Remembering that these patients are real is important. We kept the patient names what they are…it was important to name these patients and tell their stories as close to the truth as possible.

Take a look at the full interview below to hear the two share more about the creation of Dr. Death Season 2:

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Dr. Death Season 2 premieres on Thursday, Dec. 21 on Peacock.