THE DROPOUT Trailer Explores the Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

‘Tis the season for scammers. Over the last several years, a slew of baffling scammers of all sorts emerged. There’s Anna Delvey, the “heiress” who paraded around elite New York hotels and circles, conning and defrauding every step of the way. She’s the subject of the upcoming Netflix series from Shonda Rhimes, Inventing Anna. Most recently, there’s Filippo Bernardini, the Italian publishing coordinator who haunted the literary community for five years, stealing unpublished books and manuscripts. But Elizabeth Holmes might be the most fascinating fraudster in recent memory. Why? Well, her fraud was more or less happening in plain sight. Now, Holmes and her infamous company are the subjects of a Hulu limited series, The Dropout, starring Amanda Seyfried.

The heavily-lined eyes. The Steve Jobs turtleneck. The put-on deep voice. This show has everything!

The series follows Holmes, a Stanford dropout who idolized Jobs and posited herself as something of a Mark Zuckerberg of the biomedical community. She burst into the scene claiming her start-up, Theranos, could revolutionize blood testing with just a finger prick. But there was one issue: it didn’t work. Undeterred, Holmes—and her COO Sunny Balwani—charmed her way into the pockets of wealthy investors and politicians.

Here’s a brief description of the series, based on the podcast of the same name from ABC Audio, from Hulu:

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. Hulu’s limited series “The Dropout,” the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye?
Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout
Beth Dubber/Hulu

This means the series will likely dive into the lengths Holmes and Balwani went to present Theranos as a company on the brink of greatness. Even as, internally, things were splitting at the seams: swift terminations, the threats, and intimidation from high-powered lawyers, the relentless pressure to fix a device whose very concept was the fatal flaw.

Amanda Seyfriend and Naveen Andrews star as Holmes and Balwani. Rounding out the cast are several guest stars. They include Stephen Fry, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Kate Burton, Michel Gill, LisaGay Hamilton, William H. Macy, Elizabeth Marvel, Laurie Metcalf, Dylan Minnette, Alan Ruck, Sam Waterston, Michaela Watkins, and more.

Podcast host Rebecca Jarvis, who hosted a podcast of the same name about Holmes, and the podcast’s producers Victoria Thompson and Taylor Dunn all serve as executive producers on the limited series. I discovered the podcast while on a road trip back in 2019 and was immediately fascinated. It’s definitely worth a listen. The book Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, the Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story and features heavily in the podcast, is also a must-read for those curious about the case.

Since the podcast’s debut, Holmes went to trial and was found guilty in January 2022. She’s set for sentencing in September 2022. So even now, her story isn’t quite over yet. The Dropout debuts on Hulu on March 3.

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