Aired on: NBC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I saw the promos for Mercy, a new dramatic television series airing on NBC, I was skeptical. They looked interesting enough, but amidst all of the new trauma/hospital shows coming out of the woodwork after ERís series finale, I wondered just what this show might have that the others donít. I decided to find out by watching the premiere episode which aired at 8PM EST on Wednesday, September 23, 2009.
In Mercy, Taylor Schilling stars as Veronica Flanagan Callahan, a nurse who has just returned from a tour in Iraq. Her time spent in Iraq has given her great insight as a trauma nurse, but her sarcasm and constant clashes with Mercy Hospital's doctors causes her to be at odds with administration. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to sneeze at and Veronica copes with it every day, dreaming about Iraq, jumping at loud noises and being instantly transported back to Iraq in her mind when coming across a rather grizzly trauma victim.
To top things off, life at home isnít anything easier. Veronicaís parents are alcoholics and her brother is no better. Her marital life is a mess. Discovering that the husband she left behind (Diego Klattenhoff) cheated on her while she was in Iraq was hard. Knowing that she cheated on him as well is harder. She pushes him away at first, thinking divorce is the right move, but eventually relents to his persistence and decides to make an attempt at reconciliation, only to discover that the man she cheated on her husband with in Iraq (James Tupper) is now a new doctor at Mercy.
But while this show is centered around Veronica Callahan, it also features stories about her co-nurses Sonia Jimenez (Jamie Lee Kirshner ) and Chloe Payne (Michelle Trachtenberg). Sonia is a hot nurse who has made her way up from life in a horrible neighborhood to where she is today. She has no intentions of sliding backwards and is looking for a man to give her a leg up into the good life. Chloe Payne is a naÔve young girl, new to the world of nursing, scared, but determined to succeed.
The storyline is credible, but the only new mix this show brings to the world of hospital dramas is the idea of a nurse trying to cope with life post-Iraq. And this has been done before - Dr. Owen Hunt on Greyís Anatomy. The humorous moments involving new nurses has also been done before - Nurse Kelly Epson on Hawthorne. The idea that the naÔve nurse can be a hot tamale - also done before on Hawthorne with the same nurse. Brash nurse battling it out with doctors over the care of their patient, often knowing better than the doctors as to how to perform various treatments - you guessed it, done before in Hawthorne.
And yet, I mostly enjoyed the premiere episode of Mercy. I enjoyed the chemistry between the characters and the episode did have my attention. But all the while, I kept feeling like something was missing. I enjoyed the first episode enough to try another, but if this show doesnít solve the ďwhatís missing?Ē puzzle soon, Mercy will be yet another hospital drama on the chopping block.