I was expecting this new show to be something of a hybrid of all the American medical shows that have wooed us Brits, and though it was, it managed to have an air of originality too.
And that’s not only down to the monumentally good script writing for credit is also due to the hugely talented and versatile Edie Falco who plays the title role, and the addition to the cast of our very own Eve Best who plays Jackie’s best friend, Dr Eleanor O’Hara.
Though billed as a comedy-drama, the comedy is in fact blacker than black humour, as witnessed perhaps most notably in last night’s opener when Jackie flushed the severed ear of an especially unsavoury patient down the loo. Moral of that tale? Don’t p off Nurse Jackie and don’t be a nasty psycho if you’re in her care.
It’s that touch of the avenging angel about Nurse Jackie that gives it its edge though; she’s rather like Robin Hood and Judge Judy all rolled into one dynamic, confident and utterly flawed woman. That she’s a brilliant nurse is a given, but it was nice to see her being attributed so many facets which, though rather lobbed at us in a hurry, didn’t feel as if they were.
She’s addicted to painkillers, she sleeps with the pharmacist to get them, she routinely breaks rules in a big way and she has her own ideas about right and wrong, and isn’t averse to doing wrong to make a right…
To wit, we saw her forging a signature on a young man’s donor card after he’d died in an horrific motorbike accident – doing wrong for the greater good – and then handing his broke and preggers girlfriend a wad of money that she’d nicked. Said money came from the pockets of a very nasty, and now earless, man who had diplomatic immunity and so would get away with his sins.
It was cleverly done and completely believable. And best of all, Aunty Beeb has allocated a 10pm slot to Jackie every night for the first series, so we’ll get to know more about her and her complex life in a hurry. Yippee I say!