If Nurse Jackie was a drug, it would be painkillers. Highly addictive and life consuming. The only difference is that after you binge Nurse Jackie, you will not need an extended stay in rehab. You will however need to pick your jaw off the ground because of how the show ends is phenomenal and genius. If the show Weeds and Grey’s Anatomy had a love child, they would name it Nurse Jackie. “And I swear you’re are just like a pill. ‘Stead of makin’ me better, you keep makin’ me ill. You keep makin’ me ill.”
Addiction is a disease and this show is one of the most exceptional portrayals of a true addict. This tale of addiction is the most honest and accurate depiction of a high functioning addict we have ever seen grace the silver screen. Nurse Jackie is a different type of show as it includes the deviant, criminal, drug addiction side of life. Deviance like in Weeds but with a more medical drama environment like Grey’s Anatomy.
Nurse Jackie would be nothing without the incredible talent that is Edie Falco. Falco plays the title character, Nurse Jackie, with such grace and wonder that we literally could not look away. Her performance is flawless and she could probably murder someone and we would still sing her praises. We have never felt so much empathy and love for such a shitty character on a show until we met Jackie. When you watch the show you will find yourself rooting for Jackie, even when she does some of the most twisted, deplorable acts someone can do to other people. It is honestly amazing how far addicts will go to keep using.
There are 7 full seasons of Nurse Jackie on Netflix. Season 1-3 and 6-7 have 12 episodes and 4-5 have only 10. Each episode is 30 minutes long so it is quite easy to binge all 7 seasons in a decent amount of time. The only problem we had binge watching this show was that the episodes just weren’t long enough. We can never have too much Jackie in our lives.
The show is set in a hospital called All Saints in New York City. It seems that the hospital has close connections with the Catholic church as much of the show uses biblical allusions and religious puns relating to the plot.
Jackie Peyton has been an E.R. nurse at All Saints for most of her life. It is mentioned many times that she had been working there for at least 20 years. The show begins with Jackie on a typical work day sleeping with the hospital pharmacist, Eddie. Jackie is constantly complaining about her back so Eddie gives her pain pills from the pharmacy (illegally) every day. They have sex everyday and Jackie gets her drugs. The real fun part is that Jackie is married. Not just married, but married raising children.
Jackie’s husband, Kevin, owns his own bar and is more of a stay at home parent than Jackie. They have 2 little girls named Grace and Fiona. This is all revealed in the pilot so none of this is top secret news. Jackie is a very private person at work. Probably because she is having an affair, but also because it is part of her drug addict behavior. No one at her job even knows she is married let alone has children because she doesn’t wear her wedding ring to work.
The most redeeming quality about Jackie is that she is one hell of a Nurse. She is the best at her job and often knows what to do better than anyone else, including the doctors. Jackie lives and breaths to help people, the only irony is that she can’t help herself. So she is considered a high functioning addict because she can go to work everyday, high as a kite, and save lives. This is addict logic as we see many times Jackie try to justify her drug use by her ability to save other people’s lives.
We had a hard time deciding our favorite character but do have two clear front runners. Jackie’s best friend, Dr. O’Hara is the funniest and best character on the show. She is the dark comedy equivalent of a breath of fresh air.
Our other favorite character alert goes to nurse Zoey Barkow. Jackie is responsible for training Zoey as it is her first nursing job. Zoey is hilarious and spunky and a surprising character throughout the show. Zoey eventually comes to think of Jackie as a mentor and friend.
The show is medically equivalent to Grey’s Anatomy with its use of accidents and hospital emergencies to introduce new characters and situations. We never felt like the medical stuff got too bloody or gross. The show is more about how Nurses really are the ones who take care of us, and often times know what to do better than some hot young doctors.
Jackie lives in a grey world. She doesn’t see anything in black and white, not even rules or protocols in medical practice. She is always giving patients free drugs because they have no health care or forging signatures to donate someones organs even though they were not organ donors. Jackie does not like rules and chooses to not follow the rules in place for proper medical care. She will do whatever it takes at any cost to help her patients and save a life. This is her personality but also her downfall when it comes to drugs.
The whole show really goes through all the highs, pun intended, and lows of drug addiction. It is an excellent picture of how addiction affects the addict, as well as those closest to the addict. Drug addiction destroys families and friendships, even when the addict is trying so desperately not to. It is a great and realistic look into the world of an addict and the most accurate depiction of the consequences of drug addiction.
If you loved Weeds, Breaking Bad or dark comedy than you will love this show. We binge watched all 7 seasons in less than a month and were extremely sad when it ended. The finale though is a a situation like inception. Kind of up to the viewer to decide what happens.
We highly recommend Nurse Jackie to everyone. We love seeing shows that can teach us something while entertaining us at the same time. Not every season has Breaking Bad level drama or intense cliffhanger season finale episodes.
The show does leave you wanting more and the suspense of Jackie’s lies all piling up like a house of cards does make you want to find out what will happen. In true form, addicts have to spend so much time lying and covering their tracks that eventually everything will fall apart.
And it does.
5/5 stars for this show and a 10/10 rating for binge worthy success
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