Third-episode verdict: Nurse Jackie

Brighter yet duller

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Three episodes into Nurse Jackie and I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m not sure the makers know what to make of it either. Stepping away from the traditional depiction of nurses as angels (cf Hawthorne, for example), it shows a nurse who’s a pill-taking, adulterous angel of vengeance and morality, who’ll flush criminals’ ears down a toilet if she thinks they deserve it. It also tries to show what arses both doctors and patients are, when most of the time, everyone’s just an idiot.

But that’s a bit too in your face, it seems, so while episode one was packed with “I can’t believe she just did that moments”, episodes two and three have slowly removed those moments in favour of more drama and more comedy. It’s still quite a ‘bitty’ show, but it now flows better. The only problem is that it’s also duller. With the exception of her best friend and sociopath, played by British actress Eve Best, everyone’s now long-suffering and worthy, with the occasional tendency to cut corners and not behave totally professionally. Best is still gloriously over the top and unconcerned with her patients, making her easily the best thing in the show.

I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with this. It’s only half an hour, it’s only six episodes (I think) and it’s already been renewed for a second season. But, apart from Eve, there’s not enough real character – rather than plot – to get me involved and not even plot to paper over those cracks. The “true to life” looks at work as a nurse seem real enough now, but the show’s not quite got what it takes to be compelling any more. But maybe it’ll pick up again: that’s the trouble with short seasons – you have to compress the arcs so we’re already in a mid-season slump.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Already picked up for season two so I’m suspecting it’ll run for at least two more seasons. However, with such a short season duration, if you blink, you’ll miss it.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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