Because of the Great Depression, we were treated with 10 years of film noir and great comedies. That, along with nickel-a-cup coffee and a doughnut, got us through the tough years.

Now, beaten and bruised by COVID-19, we’re all being soothed by a reemergence of older shows we missed. I kind of forgot about Edie Falco after the “Sopranos,” where her Carmela was probably the best thing about that show.
Edie herself is, like Carmela and Jackie, from Brooklyn. Of course she is. She is as much Brooklyn as the bridge, hot dogs at Nathans and egg creams at Mateo’s Dizzy’s Cafe in Park Slope.

When “Nurse Jackie,” a comedy-drama, debuted on Showtime, I had family working every week on “Grey’s Anatomy,” another hospital show with blood on the scrubs and way too much soap opera love triangles to suit me.
I’m glad now that I avoided “Jackie.” It comes to me fresh and sparkling, with a different tone about it and not a moment of it is dated.

“NJ” is what “GA” should have been and wasn’t.

Here is Jackie Peyton, as an emergency room nurse at All Saints Hospital. After suffering a back injury, Jackie became hooked on a cluttered tapestry of drugs that she pops even as she is saving lives, something she has done with regularity since June 8, 2009.

At the outset, Showtime called Jackie Peyton a “strong-willed, iconoclastic New York City nurse juggling the frenzied grind of an urban hospital and an equally challenging personal life,” noting that she had “an occasional weakness for Vicodin, Percocet and Xanax to get her through the days.”

It might disturb some to note that Jackie, seemingly happily married to bar owner Kevin (Dominic Fumusa), acquires these items through a joyous affair with Eddie Walzer (Paul Schulze), the hospital pharmacist. In season two, where I reside at this writing, both relationships are also hitting the sidewalk sideways.

The cast, that includes Anna Deavere Smith as the tough, funny and kindhearted administrator, and Peter Facinelli as Dr. Cooper, is brightly highlighted by Merritt Wever (“Run”) who plays Zoey Barkow. It’s one of the best casts I’ve seen since, well, “The Sopranos.”

The writing and direction keeps getting smarter, sharper with each segment.

Season one and two sparkle with guest stars like Eli Wallach and Harvey Fierstein, who deliver poignant and stunning moments.

“Nurse Jackie” ran for seven seasons, and I don’t want any old fan calling me and giving away the electric next five seasons.

“Nurse Jackie” streams on Netflix, and Falco’s contributions are as addictive as her daily snacks.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.


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