Jamie Dornan was set to star in Dr. Death but left over scheduling conflicts with the coronavirus-prompted delays in production.

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Joshua Jackson
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The Affair star Joshua Jackson has joined Peacock's Dr. Death series in the title role, a development that highlights a concern for many other networks who are hoping to get back to filming amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jamie Dornan (The Fall) had originally been cast as Dr. Christopher Duntsch in the series based on the hit Wondery podcast of the same name. But, due to production delays caused by the pandemic, Dornan can no longer make the filming requirements work for his schedule, EW has learned. NBCUniversal then had to recast the role. Jackson was announced for Dr. Death on Monday.

It's a dilemma every network with production delays will have to face at some point, if they haven't already. As we've seen with productions like A Discovery of Witches and on the film side with Jurassic World: Dominion, both of which went back to production and faced additional delays when crew members tested positive for COVID-19, the concept of "getting back to work" can still be a tricky maneuver. And with stars who have other casting obligations, the fear of recasting is prominent.

Apple is currently facing a similar issue with The Essex Serpent. As first reported by The Daily Mail and confirmed by Variety, star Keira Knightley departed the lead role over concerns about extended childcare during the pandemic.

Dr. Death, however, bounced back rather quickly. Production is scheduled to begin this fall with a cast that also includes Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater.

The original podcast told of Dr. Duntsch, a spinal surgeon who claimed to be the best in Dallas but whose patients began to experience severe and sometimes fatal complications from his surgeries. Jackson's Dr. Duntsch on the show is a rising star in the Dallas medical community building a neurosurgery practice. When his victims start to pile up, neurosurgeon Robert Henderson (Baldwin) and vascular surgeon Randall Kirby (Slater) set out to stop him.

The series, like the podcast, explores not just Dr. Duntsch's twisted mind, but the failures of the larger system designed to protect the most defenseless among us.

Patrick Macmanus (Syfy's Happy!) serves as showrunner and executive producer. Series executive producer Maggie Kiley of USA's Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Jennifer Morrison of HBO's Euphoria, and So Yong Kim of Netflix's Grand Army will direct episodes.

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