After three seasons of running amok without any real concern for people or having to answer for her actions, Nurse Jackie finally forced its namesake to answer for the sins (and plenty of other people did too). What resulted was maybe their finest season. It was a season that did a nice job of mixing comedy, drama, and high stakes in various entertaining ways. The show had always been well acted and fairly sharp, but it was the lack of consequences that became a blight on its record. Jackie never was forced to answer for anything she did. For one season, it was fine, but three seasons was a bit too much.
That’s what made this season so compelling. Jackie Peyton had to answer for her actions. Whether it was from the jilted (soon to be) ex-husband, the new domineering boss, a hardcore rehab counselor, or an increasingly grumpy 8th grader, Jackie Peyton had a group of people that were going to hold her accountable. Watching the people in her life come to terms with her secrets made their relationships seem more earned and fuller. By turning the show on its ear, the show allowed the actions of the castmembers to actually mean something. Instead of being built up to watch Jackie wrangle out of yet another jam, here was Jackie and others facing up to choices that they had made or things they had done.
Certainly some of the credit for this season’s improvement has to go to Bobby Canavale and his portrayal of Mike Cruz. He wasn’t a bad guy, nor was he a saint. He was a guy who had principles and was determined to stick to them. Finally positioning someone as the anti-Jackie made for some intriguing television. Despite my early worries about him not having enough shading to his character, the writers answered time and again by showing us multiple facets of a seemingly one-dimensional guy. The scene in the finale with his dying, drug-addicted son was powerful, moving, and tied together some things that we had seen throughout the season. I sincerely hope Canavale comes back. He has been a welcome addition to All Saints Hospital.
What did everyone else think of this season of Nurse Jackie?