Woo hoo! Showtime’s Nurse Jackie is back, and it premieres Sunday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Sadly, this seventh season will be the last. Sniff, sniff. Soon we will have to bid adieu to Jackie (Edie Falco), Zoey (Merrit Wever), Eddie (Paul Schulze), Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith), Thor (Stephen Wallem), Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) and all the rest. I am not looking forward to their exit. And, as I told you last summer, Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli) appears in only five episodes this season. Say it aint so, Coop.
This season of “Nurse Jackie” offers a few new treats by way of new peeps: Coops replacement is Dr. Bernard Prince, played by Emmy Award-winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk), who gets the staff to dance the Horah. Jackies kick-ass lawyer Barry Wolfe is wonderfully played by Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains, The West Wing).
OK, so picking up right where we left off at the end of Season 6 …
A car crash interrupts Jackie from running away to Miami, and she has, like, a gazillion pills from her enabling schnook Eddie. Jackie tells the cops that shes a nurse and was on her way to Miami to help with the relief efforts. Ha! Reminds me of the cockamamie lies I came up with as a teen druggie.
Its not surprising shes arrested, charged with drug trafficking and thrown into a holding cell beside a tattooed biker chick. Jackie starts to shiver and sweat from withdrawal. When she passes out cold, her cellmate yells for help. Jackie wakes up in Bellevue after two days, now foggy from a sedated detox and handcuffed to the bed, like the criminal she is.
The show’s scriptwriters are following the tried-and-true trick to successful storytelling: Get your hero up a tree, throw stones at her, then get her down.
With her nursing license suspended, and her job in jeopardy, Jackie tries to manipulate boss Akalitus to let her stay. But Akalitus isnt having it. Sick of Jackies lies, Akalitus decides to make Jackie miserable enough to walk out. She gives Jackie the lowest of the low orderly tasks, including toilet scrubbing and transporting corpses to the basement.
The toughest thing to watch is Zoeys broken heart. The talented Wever, who won an Emmy for this role in 2013, says everything without saying a word. She cannot bear to see Jackie falling further and further into addiction. Akalitus asks Zoey to be the head nurse, but Zoey turns her down, saying she doesnt feel right about it.
Then Jackie cheers Zoey up. Yay! But it’s with a big fat lie. Jackie earnestly tells Zoey shes been away attending a rehab program. Zoey beams with hope, but when Jackies daughter Grace tells Zoey her mom was really in jail, Zoey is crushed again and mad as hell.
Zoey marches into Akalitus office and says shell take the head nurse job. Zoey does not know yet that shell be in charge of monitoring Jackie’s every move, including watching head-on while Jackie provides her mandated urine samples. Ew.
So, while Jackie is busy ruining lives, especially her own, Coop hovers moony-eyed over pregnant Dr. Carrie Roman (Betty Gilpin). Hes bursting to tell everyone theyre having a baby, but she begs him to keep quiet. Theres a funny scene where Coop sees Carries apartment for the first time and so do we.
Jackie pushes all the limits as per usual, and Akalitus yells, Youre fired. She tells Jackie she is done with her and screams, Youre a junkie. She throws her out of the ER, which is just what Jackie wanted to use for ammunition. She tells the story to her lawyer as proof that Akalitus publicly mistreated and humiliated her. The lawyer smiles and says, Now, that I can work with.
When a hero is magically juggling six plates in the air, breaking every rule and winning, thats when a story is glorious, but when reality sets in and the protagonist has to pay consequences, it can get very depressing think American Gangster, Bonnie and Clyde.
Watching Jackie spiraling down just aint nearly as fun as the first season of “Nurse Jackie” when we saw her getting away with everything. Still, although things look mighty bleak for our Jackie this season, after pre-screening Season 7’s first five episodes, I got the feeling Jackie will finagle her way back to the ER before All Saints Hospital becomes nothing but a memory.
Watch scenes from Season 7:
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.