Edie Falco stars as title character Jackie Peyton, a drug-addicted emergency room nurse in a New York City hospital. For Jackie, every day is a high-wire act of juggling patients, doctors, fellow nurses and her own indiscretions. The second season of the Showtime Original Series Nurse Jackie
™ continues its look deep inside the complicated heart and soul of a functioning addict, a loving wife and mother, and a first-class nurse.
Adultery. Drug addiction. Serial lying. Childhood development problems. Hey, everyone's got to have a little fun, right? The curious thing about Nurse Jackie
, the Showtime series whose second season is released here with 12 episodes on three discs, is that it does
manage to make some of these issues amusing, at least in a darkly humorous kind of way; this is a dramedy with some real bite. Much of that is due to the presence of Emmy winner Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, a character who remains alternately appealing and appalling as she tries to keep her life afloat in increasingly treacherous seas. When the first season ended, Jackie's unsustainable romantic balancing act was on the verge of collapse after her lover, once and future hospital pharmacist Eddie (Paul Schulze), saw her with husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) and their two young daughters; things get considerably creepier this time around, as Eddie gradually insinuates himself into Jackie's home life by becoming friends with Kevin. That's not all. Daughter Grace, previously diagnosed with something called "generalized anxiety disorder," is deteriorating into full-on weirdness. Jackie's pill popping is becoming a huge problem as well; hiding drugs in her kids' plastic Easter eggs is bad, stealing them from the hospital is worse, and having a new nurse (Arjun Gupta) who is himself a recovering addict and knows exactly what Jackie's up to is the worst of all. And yet, this flawed, conflicted character remains someone you'd want at your bedside in the ER; despite all her problems, Jackie still finds the time to bake pot brownies to ease the pain of a touchingly lonely, dying cancer patient, offering a quality of mercy that's totally beyond the ken of coworkers like beleaguered boss Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) and young Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli), a clueless narcissist who remains the show's most annoying character. Nice performances are also turned in by Eve Best as the jaded, lusty Dr. O'Hara and Merritt Wever as the green but promising nurse Zoey Barkow, but after the second season ends with another cliffhanger, it's Nurse Jackie's fate we'll be wondering about when the third one begins. Bonus features include a couple of short featurettes and cast and crew audio commentary. --Sam Graham