“Nurse Jackie,” the new half-hour dramedy on Showtime, is like TV shows you’ve seen before. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as most TV shows exist because of the existence of other, popular TV shows. It’s just that as I was watching the premiere episode of the series, which stars Edie Falco in the title role, I kept trying to pinpoint what was familiar about a given plot point, or character, or music choice.

Peter Facinelli co-stars as an inept doctor, and he, as always, sounds and acts uncannily like Tom Cruise, so that one was easy to name. The show’s hospital setting can’t help but remind one of other medical dramas, particularly “Grey’s Anatomy,” with its moments of screwing in the medicine closets and ridiculous medical cases. Falco’s nurse Jackie is a flawed protagonist, who also happens to be hooked on pain killers, a conceit–heroic but flawed character who is secretly hooked on drugs–I know I’ve seen in at least one other show, but for the life of me can’t place it.

The pilot’s final moments include a twist that would probably be more effective if it hadn’t been revealed in every review of the show I’ve read thus far. So I will only spoil it for people who have also seen “Mad Men,” (so a warning to those who haven’t seen that show either!), by saying its final reveal is exactly like the final moments of “Mad Men”‘s pilot episode.

So, even though the show isn’t exactly the freshest thing on TV right now, I’ll continue to watch. Edie Falco is never boring; it seems to be trying for a dark humor I can get behind (Jackie yelling “Fuck you!” into a severed ear being an example of that); and I’m ready to see some cocky doctors get their comeuppance from the nursing staff. In the show, and in real life, come to think of it.

Nurse Jackie premieres Monday, June 8th, at 10:30 P.M. on Showtime.

the author

Rain Jokinen watches a lot of television and movies and then writes things about them on the Internet. She's a San Francisco native, and yeah, she'll rub that fact in your face any chance she gets.

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  • Alex Barkett

    Heroic but flawed character secretly hooked on drugs…House? It’s the insistence on these medical shows that makes me really want the country to sort out the health care mess. Maybe then they’ll stop.