"Nurse Jackie"

I have a new favorite TV show.

About three years ago I discovered the Showtime series Weeds starring Mary Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins (ooh wouldn’t she make a great Barbara in August? sorry, I’ll get to the point). Since devouring that first series, I’ve looked into other cable series with particular favorites among Entourage and Six Feet Under. I have to admit here I’ve never seen The Sopranos, but was intrigued to hear that its Emmy-winning star Edie Falco would be starring in a brand new series.

Nurse Jackie is an offbeat dark comedy centering around the goings on of All Saints, a fictional hospital in NYC. Falco is the inevitably flawed protagonist, a woman leading two lives; she kisses her husband and children goodbye and takes off her wedding ring before entering her realm: the ER of this hospital. Add to the mix, a pain pill addiction and an affair with the pharmacologist supplying her with drugs. The writing is sharp and shows considerable promise for a long run. Jackie may be the most interesting character on TV since Nancy Botwin, helped considerably by Falco’s fully realized performance that is simultaneously hilarious and unnerving. Jackie isn’t above eviscerating a doctor for making an inept call or flushing the ear of a UN delegate down the drain after he slashed a prostitute. For all of her problems and questionable choices, she is a compassionate nurse who genuinely cares for her patients and is brilliant in her job as a healer.

The emergency room is chock full of colorful characters. Under Jackie’s wing is Zoey, a narive nurse in training played with utter whimsy by Merritt Wever. Tony award nominee Eve Best is delectably droll as Jackie’s best friend and confidant, a narcissistic doctor somewhere between Sex and the City and Emma Thompson (give this woman an Emmy already). Peter Facinelli is the new doctor, insufferable yet completely likable (with a unique form of Tourette’s). Anna Deavere Smith is the stern hospital administrator; Dominic Fumusa is Jackie’s devoted husband. The series is shot in NY and there have been a slew of appearances from theatre actors including Eli Wallach, Swoosie Kurtz, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey and Erin Dilly.

The show airs Monday nights at 10:30 on Showtime or you can also catch the episodes On Demand. If you don’t have Showtime, you can go to their website and watch episodes for free on there. It’s a new that’s worth checking out, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be obsessed in no time.