On Monday, June 8th, at 10:30 PM ET/PT, SHOWTIME will premiere the new, half-hour dark comedy NURSE JACKIE, marking the triumphant return to premium television of Emmy® Award-winning actress Edie Falco. The series, inspired from the provocative journal of a real-life Manhattan ER nurse, is executive produced by Caryn Mandabach, John Melfi, Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem.
The series is created by Evan Dunsky and Liz Brixius & Linda Wallem.
Press notes give us a great deal of information on the exciting new series: Best known, for her three-time Emmy®-winning role as mafia wife ‘Carmela Soprano,' Edie Falco breathes life and humor into this original, complex character who is at once Saint (nurse, wife, mother...) and Sinner (addicted to pain killers, adulterer, vigilante...). "I started reading a lot of scripts after I finished The Sopranos," says Falco. "I thought I would know when the right script came - and that's what happened." There was a lot in the pilot that helps introduce the kind of woman Nurse Jackie is, throwing the ear in the toilet, giving the money and boots to the young girl - Jackie has her own ‘Robin Hood' complex - taking justice into her own hands while barely staying within the boundaries of the law." Co-executive producer Richie Jackson adds, "Jackie always tries to do the right thing even if her means are unconventional...Things aren't always black and white, right or wrong and that's where Jackie lives - in the grey."
Shot entirely in New York, principal filming began in November 2008. The production built its standing sets in the shadow of the 59th Street Bridge at Kaufman Studios in Astoria, Queens, just down the road from Silver Cup studios where Falco worked during her Sopranos days. The All Saints Hospital interiors were shot there, with extensive location filming on the streets of New York City including Baruch College on 24th and Lexington, (which doubles for the exterior of All Saints), to a quaint Irish pub on Crescent Street in Queens named Kelly's Bar and Grill (husband Kevin Peyton's bar in the show), along with several other off-the-grid sites that help to create a lush and diverse backdrop for Jackie's complicated world. "I have been involved in more aspects of this production than ever before," admits Falco. "I was included in conversations about production - cast and crew decisions, dialogue, etc. and have been surprised to discover that I actually have opinions about these things and have loved being part of the larger process."
For audiences who might be yawned-out from typical medical shows, NURSE JACKIE isn't about unwittingly handsome doctors or bizarre medical conditions. It's not Seattle Grace or County General. It's All Saints, and we experience it through Jackie's point of view -- a blue-collar, subway-riding, working mom from Queens. "Nurses are heroes," says Brixius, "they're like firemen. Those are the stories we want to tell -- A fiercely protective nurse and mother whose life is complicated and full of double-standards." Wallem continues: "Jackie Peyton doesn't have magical powers or solve crimes. She is hard working and trying to make a living and is great at her job, but very flawed and very heroic."
In an effort to gauge the views of the nursing community, a special advance screening of the NURSE JACKIE pilot episode was held at New York's Roosevelt Hospital for a select group of emergency room nurses who overwhelmingly approved of and enjoyed the series and Falco's performance. While they would never adopt her vigilante ideals and practices, those in the trenches could relate to her and were thrilled that a strong, smart nurse was finally showcased in a television series and the world would see some of the real issues they face head-on everyday.
A New York City emergency room is a melting pot where all walks of life come on the worst days of their lives to be treated. Working alongside Jackie at the All Saint's ER is a staff that is itself a microcosm of the city, equally dramatic, hilarious and flawed...
Fellow nurse, Mohammed "Mo-mo" de la Cruz (Haaz Sleiman, The Visitor) is Jackie's street-smart confidante with a biting sense of "gallows" humor. He understands the trenches better than anyone. Sleiman says of his character and working with Jackie..."they sort of cover each other's little bad doings. And he has her back - they have the best sort of friendship...they don't judge one another, they're always there for each other, and they almost finish each other's sentences..."