Netflix’s true crime docs-series “The Pharmacist” tells the tale of a small town pharmacist who successfully conducted two amateur investigations: He helped catch his son’s killer and he helped get a local pill mill doctor prosecuted. Both are remarkable feats on their own, let alone together. And pulling the investigations off wasn't easy — luckily he had his endless amount of recordings to help him. But why was he recording so much to begin with?
Some backstory: Dan Schneider was a pharmacist at Bradley’s Pharmacy in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana when he doggedly pursued his own investigation into his son Danny’s drug-related murder in 1999. That pursuit led to the conviction of his son’s shooter. Shortly after, Schneider began looking into suspicious local OxyContin prescriptions which led to his own investigation into local pill mill doctor Jacqueline Cleggett. Again, his research helped lead to a prosecution.
Schneider’s recordings are included throughout the docu-series: There are phone recordings of Schneider trying to get a witness to testify against his son's killer Jeffery Hall; there are conversations between him and Hall before he realized Hall was his son's killer; there are audio recordings that reveal the pharmacist trying to talk customers out of using OxyContin. There's also plenty of surveillance footage of Cleggett’s operation, taken from the parking lot.
But the recordings are much more than that. There are also recordings that seem like an audio diary for Schneider. Some documented his research and others documented his grief over losing his son. One recording even featured his wife, Annie, wailing and sobbing over Danny's death as Schneider consoles her. Yet another featured the married couple fighting over Schneider’s obsessive searches for justice.
In an interview with Oxygen.com, Schneider chalked up his recording habit to three main reasons.
1. As a response to police
Schneider claimed that while discussing his son’s then-unsolved murder case with police, he was met with resistance and even threats.
“He [an officer] said some horrible things and he threatened to throw this case away if I got involved,” he told Oxygen.com. “It shocked me so much that when I got off the phone, I was shaking and I tried to write down everything that was said and I couldn’t. I remember thinking, they ain’t gonna beat me again. I am gonna record everything.”
2. To help with the grieving process
Schneider said that the use of his tape recorder was instrumental to his grieving process because he felt like he was grieving on a different wavelength than his family. It gave him an outlet.
“I could talk but I couldn’t communicate, but I could go upstairs in my son’s room and sit in his bed and I could actually talk into my recorder,” he reflected to Oxygen.com. “So, I have commentary on how I felt."
He said there are hours and hours of tapes of him arguing with God and asking God for help in regards to his grief.
3. Because his life felt like a movie
Schneider said that during both amateur investigations, many of the experiences felt unreal. He wanted to make sure that people would believe him.
“I felt like I was living in a movie, so this was my way to record the movie,” he said.
Get all your true crime news from Oxygen. Coverage of the latest true crime stories and famous cases explained, as well as the best TV shows, movies and podcasts in the genre. And don't miss our own podcast, Martinis & Murder!