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Nurse Jackie: Season 5
Nurse Jackie is now in its sixth season (currently airing on the Showtime) and the series has continued to be a success with audiences as one of the networks most acclaimed series to date. The show is about the title character, who is (as you possibly guessed), a nurse by the name Jackie (Edie Falco). Falco is at the forefront of the series and ehr character is the center of the story but a strong ensemble cast also helps to round out the storytelling and the focus on the characters of this series remains as a strong component to the success of this highly regarded program.
One of the main elements of the series from the get-go was that it was to be a show focused on a character who is addicted to pain killers... but who is also a strong, talented, and independent spirit who is a mother and a good employee: someone who is always helping to keep things going smoothly at her hospital and is on the lookout for making sure things run efficiently even as things are spiraling for her during her personal life. She works to balance things but is faced throughout the series with the issue of her drug addiction. She initially started popping pills because of her bad back, but it became out of hand and continued to worsen, and the hard acceptance of her addiction and her need to overcome it is a core element of Nurse Jackie.
Season 5 does take things into a new and different direction as Jackie's now attempting to go through recovery after time spent within rehabilitation. As if this isn't an immense challenge to Jackie in and of itself, she is also fighting to share custody of her children during a divorce from her husband, who had decided to leave her because of her drug addiction. She has been clean for about a year at this point in the series and she's still trying to pull herself together while also maintaining her job at the hospital. Jackie is also trying to juggle her relationships with friends, like fellow nurse Zoey (Emmy-winner Merritt Wever, who won for a previous season of Nurse Jackie), a sweetly natured person who wants to help her and is incredibly outspoken and spiritually generous with those around her she sees as friends. Zoe similarly isn't afraid to call people out on things and it is a quality about her that doesn't exclude Jackie.
This season also faces the introduction and transition period for a few of the main cast members as some depart from the series as regulars while a host of new characters join the series. This season introduces two new doctors to the hospital and a central doctor is no longer on Nurse Jackie within a large capacity. These aspects of the changing storyline keep things a bit new and interesting for viewers who might be less familiar but who want to join in and see season 5. The writers try to balance elements of the series that were there from the start with new concepts and characters so it can simultaneously stay interesting for longtime fans and for those who may be new to the story.
Edie Falco is impressive and convincing in her role as Jackie. She manages to add a lot of depth to the character through her performance. There is an episode early on in the season in which a celebrity patient who had drugs in him from a party is helped but who Jackie convinces must purchase a new expensive piece of medical equipment for the hospital which they otherwise couldn't afford and which they desperately need to save patient lives. In Jackie's own determined and confident words: getting the equiment was a thing akin to helping them to "win the super-bowl". Moments like these show Jackie's determination to help her patients... above and beyond.
The season also introduces a new romantic interest for Jackie in the form of New York City police officer Frank Verelli (Adam Ferrera), who becomes close to Jackie during the season. The two share a lot of special moments together. Frank is, well, "frank" and is the quicker one to say "I Love You", which initially causes some dramatics, but its clear that mutually romantic feelings are shared by Jackie. This because a focal point of this season, offering a positive turn-around for Jackie over the course of her time spent working toward recovery.
Nurse Jackie is a effective dramatic series because of the excellent performances headlined by the remarkably talented Falco. The show also succeeds because of the mostly strong writing, directing, and craft from the behind the scenes crew. The show is clearly well produced with strong photography, a good filming landscape for each episode (including the hospital which plays an important part in the show's success), and these are elements that certainly help with demonstrating the way this series set's itself apart. The show's storyline and characters also are believable most of the time, and this helps the talented actor's to delve even further into their parts. Fans of Nurse Jackie will continue to find it a compelling character study and a solid series in most respects with Season 5, which continues to unfold and share the complex story of Jackie and her attempts to juggle her work-life, family, friends, and most of all the addiction that she is trying to overcome.
Presented on Blu-ray with a impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding, Nurse Jackie is a slick, well-produced, and well photographed modern television series that arrives in High Definition with amazing clarity, detail, and depth. There are no major issues related to compression artifacts and the show looks good with its strong black levels and accurate color reproduction, which works well with the cinematography style and the 1.78:1 original aspect ratio (as seen on television).
To my surprise, Nurse Jackie is presented with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless presentation. This is quite uncommon (there are very few series produced with 7.1 audio that having this series join that list is quite surprising given the dramatic storytelling) and should certainly be noted as being something that sets the technical presentation of the series apart from countless other programs.
Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish, and English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing).
Audio Commentary on Episode 4: Lost Girls with Executive Producers Clyde Phillips and Tom Straw
Audio Commentary on Episode 6: Walk of Shame with star Edie Falco, Executive Producer Richie Jackson and co-executive producer Liz Flahive
Audio Commentary on Episode 9: Heart with star Edie Falco, Executive Producer Richie Jackson and co-executive producer Liz Flahive
Audio Commentary on season finale Soul with Executive Producers Clyde Phillips and Tom Straw
A Sober Jackie (9 min.) is a well-made featurette (despite the short run-time)about the season's shift to focusing on Jackie post rehab.
New to the Floor (13 min.) is similarly a nicely done short featurette that features interviews about the new cast members who joined the series Season 5.
Deleted Scenes (12 min.) presents moments excised from the show.
Gag Reel (3 min.) offers a few humorous moments from during filming.
Nurse Jackie is a brave and intelligent series that is all the better for a solid performance given by Edie Falco as the title character. Fans of the series will not want to miss this well made and interesting chapter in the complicated storyline. The production is well handled in most regards and is of a high enough caliber that makes it a program worth seeking out. Former viewers will find there is plenty of elements to Season 5 worthwhile, while newcomers will discover a series that is in some transition that might actually help a newcomer step in and enjoy the program.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.