“Nurse Jackie” is just what the doctor ordered

By Tom Comi

Many fans of The Sopranos wondered how Edie Falco could avoid getting typecast after playing mafia matriarch Carmela for six seasons, but her mesmerizing performance as the title character on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie has all but obliterated that concern.

Coincidentally, Jackie presents the same dilemma for viewers as did Tony Soprano in that they are both flawed individuals that we want to like. And even though Jackie is a capable and compassionate nurse, her pill addition and extramarital affair make it very difficult to do so (especially since her husband is often left to take care of their two daughters).

In the season 3 premiere tonight (10pm ET/PT), Jackie is finally confronted by her husband Kevin about her addiction and lies. Despite our desire to like Jackie, that takes a back seat to the sympathy we feel for Kevin (Dominic Fumusa). Although he is not without fault in their marital problems, he clearly is the one we root for mostly in this situation.

For those who have yet to watch Nurse Jackie, it would be incorrect to assume that this is solely about Jackie’s personal life. In fact, most of the scenes take place at the New York hospital at which she works, and this is where the show derives its most comedic scenes. Makes no mistake that this is Falco’s show, but she gets strong supporting work from Eve Best, Peter Facinelli, Stephen Wallem, Anna Deavere Smith and the subtle but hilarious Merritt Wever.

I like to think of this show as a dose of medicine administered by a nurse just like Jackie. Sometimes it’s a shot in the arm; other times it’s a pain the ass. But more often than not, you will feel better afterward.

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Credit: Mark Seliger/Showtime