BAD SURGEON: LOVE UNDER THE KNIFE on Netflix is a docuseries with 3 episodes. This is a surgical horror story about a surgeon and scientist, who used media exposure to fool people. Read our full Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife review here!

BAD SURGEON: LOVE UNDER THE KNIFE is a new Netflix documentary series told over three episodes. Despite the crime going unrecognized for far too long, it’s definitely a true crime story.

A comparison to Dr. Death seems inevitable. Especially as a lot of elements seem to be repeated in both stories. In this new Netflix docuseries, we meet Dr. Paolo Macchiarini who carries himself like a rockstar. His brutal experiments are one part of the deception. The romances in his life are quite another.

But people die because of him!

Interestingly, season 2 of Dr. Death will be about Dr. Paolo Macchiarini and stars Édgar Ramírez and Mandy Moore. It will premiere on Peacock on December 21, 2023, so you have ample time to watch this documentary first.

Continue reading our Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife review below. It’s out on Netflix from November 29, 2023.

A surgical horror story

In Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife, the title gives away the fact that this is about a surgeon. And not a good one. Actually, a bad surgeon may even be the wrong thing to call Dr. Paolo Macchiarini. Words like “evil” and “indifferent” seem more appropriate.

It is certainly obvious that he does not care about his patients. Sure, he wants the operations to be successful, but mostly to build himself up.

At first, I wasn’t sure where this docuseries was going and I wondered if perhaps he was just a surgeon experimenting, but being very upfront about it. And this is true, but only to a point. Dr. Paolo Macchiarini definitely does also lie about several parts of the process.

He especially lies about the success of his surgical experiments. However, as he tends to move on as soon as the operation is over and the patient is still alive, it must be easy to close one’s eyes to any complications. That’s what you call “plausible deniability”.

If he doesn’t witness these complications himself then he can honestly say he isn’t part of them – or even fully aware of what they entail. Of course, this makes no difference to the patients, who live through a surgical horror story that has fatal consequences.

Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife – Review | Netflix Docuseries

Powered by media exposure

However much Dr. Paolo Macchiarini may deceive or withhold facts, he isn’t alone in painting a picture of how amazing he is. Clearly, he sees himself as a Godlike rockstar. And with every new story done on his amazing experimental surgeries, his own excellence is confirmed.

New patients are lining up to be his next patients because stories are coming out all over the world. All lauding Dr. Paolo Macchiarini for creating the world’s first plastic organ. This seems to be a perfect solution for people who have this organ riddled with cancer. 

However, what the media doesn’t report on is the fact that his patients never survive long. These amazing stories come out and Dr. Paolo Macchiarini is the star. The patients meanwhile, suffer in pain before dying. It’s just that no one follows up on their stories.

The one example where someone does, the very honest answer highlighting that it was not a success, is blatantly ignored. Or certainly omitted from being part of the story about Dr. Paolo Macchiarini.

Watch Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife on Netflix now!

Ben Steele (Love and Hate Crime) is the director of this three-part Netflix docuseries, which is executive produced by Nicola Moody and Jane Root for Nutopia plus David Herman as co-executive producer.

I liked how the series exposed Dr. Paolo Macchiarini’s lies in all aspects of his life. Combining both his surgical experiments and how he used romantic relationships to avoid consequences. 

Not only do we get heartbreaking interviews with courageous family members of his victims. Which are key for this story to be told nuanced. We also hear from his former fiancée, who met him when doing a story about how amazing this surgical God was. Also, Swedish reporters who made a documentary exposing him.

Finally, there are interviews with his colleagues, who turned whistleblowers as they witnessed the aftermath that the good doctor ignored. I’m happy to say that before episode 3 is over, Macchiarini is brought to justice. It’s not over yet, but at least the truth is finally coming out.

Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife is on Netflix from November 29, 2023.


Dr. Paolo Macchiarini is world famous for his revolutionary stem cell-infused windpipe transplants. There’s just one problem: His patients keep dying.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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