STUDIO: Lionsgate
MSRP: $39.98
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 335 minutes

  • Audio commentaries with cast and crew
  • “Perfecting an Inappropriate Touch” featurette: A look at the career of Peter Facinelli and his role as Dr. Cooper
  • “All About Eve” featurette: Learn how this highly acclaimed theatre actress came to the role of Dr. O’Hara.

The Pitch

The sophomore season of the half-hour dramedy on the not-HBO.

The Humans

Edie Falco, Peter Facinelli, Eve Best, Paul Schulze

The Nutshell

Nurse Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) has a great husband, 2 wonderful daughters, and a very demanding addiction to presciption painkillers which she sometimes goes to extremes to conceal.  She habitually takes her wedding ring off every day before work to hide the fact that she’s married.  She has something of an ongoing affair with Eddie (Paul Schulze),  and complicating matters is a real jackwagon of an attending physician in Coop (Peter Facinelli), who tries to assert his superior physician’s knowledge over hers constantly.

"Donald Glover and Justin Long? Who the hell are they?"

The Lowdown

Carmela Soprano has a lot of splainin’ to do.  Edie Falco’s Jackie Peyton is a tricky character.  She cares about the patients that need help in All Saints Hospital, where she works as a head ER nurse, and she certainly cares about her husband and their 2 daughters.  But she cares a whole helluva lot more about snorting  or swallowing pills whenever the need presents itself.  She’s an addict, plain and simple, and she fights to conceal and satisfy this addiction in what seems like every minute of the show.  It’s the show’s main hook, and has been since day 1.  The lengths she’ll go to can be pretty extreme; one episode sees her emptying out a floss container to store her pills, while another shows her demonstrating the ER’s medicine dispenser for a room full of her fellow employees and simultaneously stealing a vial of medication for herself.  She puts herself in dangerous situations to feed her addiction.  The obvious great thing about this show is Falco’s performance.  Her portrayal of Jackie compared to Carmela Soprano is like night and day, and it really makes you appreciate her as an actress.  Obviously The Sopranos wasn’t the only thing she had ever done before this, but that was her career-defining role, a role that she could have drowned in the shadow of forever.  She has clearly found a role to really have fun with and do some pretty outlandish things, even moreso than that mob wife.

"That's it! It's time for you to pay for your hatred of Fastlane!"

In the first season of the show she had an ongoing relationship with Eddie, the former pharmacist at All Saints.  He was laid off in season 1 and the premiere of season 2 has him wheeled into the ER after a suicide attempt, brought on by the fact that he found out Jackie was married.  This season, he befriends Jackie’s husband, who owns a bar that Eddie is pretending to randomly frequent.  Eddie wants to be closer to Jackie, clearly, and uses her husband almost as a way to get back at her for lying to him.  Things tend to get a bit awkward at times, as one night Jackie comes home to discover Eddie in her living room hanging out with her husband and kids.  The funny thing is that as I write this, and not when I was watching the show, did it come to my mind that the actor who plays Eddie, Paul Schulze, was Father Intintola on The Sopranos, who almost had a semi-fling with Carmela.  Shame on me for not noticing that sooner.  Pretty neat connection, though.

The actual medical scenes are decent enough but don’t go to the technical lengths of an ER or a Grey’s Anatomy.  I try not to even consider this a serious medical show, because it isn’t.  I think Scrubs was more medically coherent than this show, but that’s fine.  And too many of the medical scenes can be boiled down to a nurse and a doctor yelling at each other over a patient, Jackie stepping in with a (mostly not protocol and risky) solution and the patient going home happy.  Most of the time, there’s one central patient focused on in an episode and that’s it, which in a 28 minute show even THAT feels like too much.  The  hospital administrator, Gloria Akalitus is in a lot of the scenes and she’s played by veteran “I’ve seen her in a lot of shit but don’t know her name” actress Anna Deavere Smith.  She’s there to keep things in order and isn’t afraid to be a bit of a hardass if someone is out of line.  When Coop wants to fire one of the male nurses for punching him in the face, they are both brought into her office, almost as if they were seeing the school principal.

"Jesus Christ, I hope the one on my left leans back a little further."

Speaking of Dr. Coop, he’s played by Peter Facinelli and if you aren’t a fan of the guy, this show won’t really change your mind.  He’s basically a wise-ass doctor with a slight case of Tourette’s syndrome, only the kind he has causes involuntary sexual groping from time to time.  Yeah, pretty crazy, right?  He’s totally obnoxious and full of himself and almost religiously tries to push Jackie around and diagnose something before her, believing that since he’s a doctor he’s the only one who should be diagnosing anything.  Jackie constantly shows him up, as do some of the other nurses.  An annoying facet of the character involves him constantly using Twitter after everything he does, even tweeting about patients.  Social media involving actual storylines on television isn’t the worst thing ever, but I could use less of it these days.

I think the show would benefit from being an hour long, though, because I feel like most episodes end without any real impact.  The season finale is the biggest example of this, in which her husband and friend Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) confront her at her house, a sort of mini-intervention.  I won’t spoil exactly what happens but i’ll only say a situation presented itself for the shit to really hit the fan and it’s a bit of a cop out considering all the build-up from day 1 concerning Jackie’s addiction.  That’s not to say it isn’t a GOOD season finale, and there’s some enticing stuff set up for season 3, but that isn’t always good enough.  In these uncertain days of contract negotiations and writer’s strikes or what-have-you, it’s frustrating when a show strings you along.

"She's the apple of my eye"

All of that being said, though, this show is certainly good enough to warrant your attention, and i’d definitely recommend it if only for Edie Falco’s performance in playing a character that teeters on the brink of desperation and destruction at almost every turn.  It’s never heavy-handed or sappy like most medical shows tend to be, but again, i’m reluctant to throw this into the traditional medical category.  It’s a story about a woman’s addiction and she happens to work somewhere that she has access to a lot of drugs.  To piggyback on what I said earlier, though, i’d say if this season has a problem it’s that nothing really gets resolved.  There’s a ton of buildup and no real resolution.  I feel like nothing terribly important happened; there were certainly impactful developments throughout the season but nothing earth-shattering.  For a show that lays it all out there like this one does as far as its main character being a drug addict, this can be off-putting but at the end of the day it doesn’t really do much to harm the overall quality of the show.  You hope that when all is said and done, there will be some meaningful coming-to-terms and Jackie will seek to right the wrongs we have seen her make.  I feel like based on what I saw this season, though, that she doesn’t care at all about any of that, and won’t anytime soon.

The Package

The transfer is pretty decent overall.  The commentaries are fun and lighthearted, especially the one performed for the season finale.  As with a lot of shows, it’s nice to gain insight into the non-fictional aspects of some of the things in the show.  The 2 featurettes are pretty good, but I actually really liked the one with Peter Facinelli.  Paints a nice little portrait of the guy and his character.  Still not sure that this show makes me a fan of him, but he’s OK.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars