Who is Dopesick's Betsy Mallum and where have we seen her before?

Yasmine Leung October 14, 2021

Dopesick explores Purdue Pharma’s Oxycontin issue

Although it’s a miniseries, Hulu’s new drama Dopesick is set to be an epic adaptation of Beth Macy’s 2018 book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America.

A look into the US opioid crisis that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, Dopesick unravels the havoc unleashed specifically by Purdue Pharma’s Oxycontin on the state of Virginia, which has had the highest total overdose deaths from 2006-2019.

Hulu has bagged a star-studded cast with the likes of Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter and Rosario Dawson.

What we know about the Mallum

The show’s most compelling storyline is looking into the lives of Virginia’s locals, including Betsy Mallum’s opioid addiction after her back injury. 

A patient of Keaton’s Dr. Samuel Finnix, she is a closeted lesbian with homophobic parent, therefore she is desperate to earn enough to move away with her girlfriend.

Its likely that Mallum’s life will spiral down as she battles her addiction, given the tone of the show and, who knows the lengths she will go to finance it?

Mallum is not a real person; characters like the young coal miner and her doctor are based on Macy’s interviewees during her years of research.

Who plays Betsy Mallum on Dopesick?

Kaitlyn Dever is the face of Virginia coal miner Mallum, who we first meet on the Wednesday premiere.

Dever might be young, but she’s been in a number of notable films and series.

Born in December 1996, the 24-year-old’s entertainment career began at a young age in Dallas, as the voice of Barney The Purple Dinosaur.

After moving to Los Angeles for more opportunity, she scored the role as Gwen Thompson in 2009’s , An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong, and became a regular on ABC sitcom Last Man Standing.

Her biggest role during her teen acting days was as Sasha Abernathy, a student in Cameron Diaz’s Bad Teacher – she was nominated for Best Supporting Young Actress at the 2012 Young Artist Awards.

Dever’s portrayal of Marie Adler in Netflix’s Unbelievable led to nominations for Best Actress at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice and the BAFTA’s.

  • MORE: Where is Dopesick set? Hulu series recounts US opioid crisis
Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for BFI

Who is Dever’s boyfriend?

The 24-year-old doesn’t seem to be dating anyone, and she prefers to keep her personal life off social media.

She was rumoured to have dated Ansel Elgort in 2014 since they had great chemistry in Men, Women & Children, but it was never unconfirmed. However, it does coincide with the period that Elgot and then-girlfriend  Violetta Komyshan briefly split.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.