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June 02, 2009

Paging Edie Falco's "Nurse Jackie" (Video)

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CBS & Showtimes Winter TCA Panel

Edie Falco has one of those good news/bad news show biz problems. The good news is she had such a successful Emmy award winning run as Tony Soprano's mob wife Carmela on HBO's "The Sopranos" it's hard to think of her in any other role. But trading in her Aqua Net hair and manicured nails for a cropped haircut and hospital scrubs might just change all that for the fabulous Falco in the new Showtime series "Nurse Jackie."

Nurse Jackie Peyton is an emergency room nurse at a New York hospital and she's a dedicated professional who cares about her patients. On the down side, she's not above balancing the scales of justice as she sees fits, and she also snorts--you heard me, snorts--Percosets like nasal tic tacs to relieve back pain.

Like any good TV show set in a hospital, there are medical crises that pit characters against each other. In the pilot, a bike messenger comes in with a broken leg but leaves in a body bag when Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli) a slickster who thinks he can heal patients with his dazzling smile, doesn't heed Jackie's suspicion that the patient has a bleeder. Afterward, she gets in the doctor's face and orders him to stay out of her way.

Jackie then signs the back of the dead man's driver license so his organs can be donated. "It may have been a shame," she says, "but it will not be a waste."

When Jackie's assigned a chatty new nurse trainee, she immediately lays down the rules. "I don't like chatty. I don't do chatty. I like quiet," she says. "Quiet and mean, those are my people."

The cast is solid and has some familiar faces. All you "Damages" fans, will remember Peter Facinelli as the ill-fated One Night Stand Greg. Paul Schulze who plays Jackie's pharmacist boyfriend was the ill-fated Ryan Chappelle in "24." He also did time as Father Phil in "The Sopranos." Haaz Sleiman, Jackie's friend and fellow nurse, Mo-Mo starred in last year's Oscar nominated film, "The Visitor."

The pilot is well crafted and compelling and there's an effective payoff at the end that nicely sets up the series. And though it's half an hour and billed as a dark comedy, don't assume this show in any way falls into sitcom territory. The use of the poignant opening theme song from the 1967 film "Valley of the Dolls" hints at what is sure to be Jackie's struggle with addiction. And Nurse Jackie's plea at the end of the episode promises quite a lot of drama to come: "Make me good, God...but not yet."

One of the producing brains behind the show is Caryn Mandabach who worked on such hits as "The Cosby Show," "Rosanne," "That 70's Show" and "3rd Rock from the Sun." She was also one of the co-founders of the Oxygen network.

With that kind of pedigree and such a talented star, I'm thinking "Nurse Jackie" could develop into quite a good show. So based solely on the pilot, I'd recommend assigning "Nurse Jackie" to your case.

Though this is an edited version of the pilot Showtime has made available for screening online, the show will premiere on Showtime on June 8th at 10:30PM ET/PT.

Related Links:

Kim at Emergiblog, an actual emergency room nurse, is very upset with the depiction of nurses on television and of Nurse Jackie in particular.

Christine C. at Our Bodies, Ourselves speculates on how accurate "Nurse Jackie" will be.

Here's an interview by Suzanne of Housewife in Hollywood.com with Wendy and Lisa, formerly of Prince and the Revolution, and currently composers of film and TV music, including for "Nurse Jackie." 

Cross posted from BlogHer


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