I love Nurse Jackie.
Showtime’s new series, which debuts Monday, June 8, after the season premier of Weeds, looks like another feather in the cap of the cable network, which scored a major coup by casting Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton.
Two years after The Sopranos faded to black, Falco still is Carmela Soprano to most people. But Nurse Jackie should change that. I can honestly say that I did not think “Carmela” even once during the first episode. Here’s a preview.
Jackie is a tough New York City ER nurse who’s not afraid to bend the rules — for her patients or for herself. She takes Vicodin, Percocet and Adderall to keep herself going and complains of back pain during sex with Eddie the pharmacist (Paul Schulze) in order to score prescriptions.
According to New York magazine, Nurse Jackie originally had a supernatural bent. Falco liked the idea of a hospital dramedy told through the eyes of a nurse, but wasn’t interested in the woo-woo angle. Showtime brought in out lesbians Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius, who worked together on Cybill, to rework the script.
Falco with Wallem and Brixius at the TCA Winter Press Tour in January
Not surprisingly, one of the main characters is a gay nurse named Mo-Mo (The Visitor’s Haaz Sleiman).
For a half-hour show, Nurse Jackie is packed with twists and turns — including an ending that is a total surprise. Watch the episode online at the Showtime site — click “Watch Now” and enter the password, “Shift Happens” — then come back and tell us what you think. Are you crushing on Nurse Jackie as much as I am? Does Showtime have another hit on its hands?