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Nurse Jackie: Season 3 - Review

Nurse Jackie: Season 3

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE continuing misdemeanours of Edie Falco’s Nurse Jackie continued to make for riveting and provocative viewing as the show hit its third season, pushing the character to ever more desperate limits while testing the loyalty of viewers.

And while that last line may seem like a criticism, in the case of this show it’s a strength. Nurse Jackie is the character we love to hate almost as much as we begrudgingly love.

As a nurse, there’s no question she has heart, compassion, a skill set you’d scream out for if in need of emergency care and attention, and a refreshingly common sense and take no shit approach to her bosses and the rules.

But in her persona life she’s a screw up… dependent on drugs and almost constantly on the verge of being caught.

Over the course of this third season, she burnt more bridges with the ones she loved in an increasingly desperate attempt to avoid being caught and, worse, take any responsibility. Sometimes you wanted to scream at the TV such was her selfishness, while willing her to get caught.

But therein lies the strength of Falco’s performance and her ability to push and pull your emotions and loyalties this way and that. This is a warts-and-all portrayal of an addict who is rapidly spiralling out of control. Yet, it retains a humanity as well that makes it impossible for you to completely give up on her.

But while the main plaudits inevitably go to the leading lady, she is surrounded by sterling supporting characters whose own slowly developing story arcs are really beginning to blossom, making them as rich and as enjoyable to be around as the central character.

Peter Facinelli’s Dr. Fitch ‘Coop’ Cooper is almost the antithesis of Jackie… a hopelessly delusional legend in his own mind whose attempts to enhance his own reputation [and ego] make for extremely comical, yet oddly endearing viewing. As the third season drew to a close and he made his way up the hospital altar to marry an unlikely love interst, you knew he was going to get jilted before it could happen, and yet you still felt for him as well.

Dominic Fumusa continued to grow in strength and stature as Jackie’s long-suffering husband Kevin, while the friendship he has developed with Paul Schulze’s Eddie (Jackie’s former bit on the side) has also given the show an intriguingly twisted dynamic.

In wanting Jackie to get caught, you risk hurting the feelings of both of these appealing characters and it’s another push and pull area in which the show excels.

Eve Best, meanwhile, as Jackie’s best friend and confidante Dr. Eleanor ‘Ellie’ O’Hara is also a formidable addition to the ensemble, increasingly (and heart-breakingly) finding her loyalty to her colleague pushed to its very limits.

And then there’s Anna Deavere Smith’s hospital boss Mrs. Gloria Akalitus, a comical blast at times (particularly in her quest to get the First Lady to visit her hospital), whose intervention towards the end of the third season has probably saved Jackie’s career.

She’s a firm but caring and sometimes completely kooky presence (much like Merritt Wever’s similarly endearing Zoey).

Nurse Jackie continues to remain one of America’s most under-rated imports in the UK but has now found a deserved home among the shining lights of Sky Atlantic. It’s a cracking show – by turns comical and dramatic, inspired and infuriating – that is arguably the best medical show available at the moment.

This third season is a blast.

Certificate: 15
Episodes: 12
UK Blu-ray and DVD Release: March 5, 2012