Common Sense Media says

Adult-driven hospital drama seems awfully familiar.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lives are being saved (and occasionally lost) in a high-stakes environment that forces characters to make tough ethical decisions every day. But most of the main characters seem emotionally callous (or otherwise "damaged") as a result.

Positive role models

Most main characters lean on vices (prescription pills, alcohol, emotional numbness, etc.) to get through the day. They're good at what they do and have strong, independent personalities, but they don't always make the best decisions when it comes to their personal lives.


Plenty of graphic, bloody scenes involving war fantasies, fistfights, and medical procedures. A man has a glass bottle stuck in his chest, a bartender cuts his arm in a fight, etc.


Discussion of extramarital affairs and instances of casual sex involving main characers. Some passionate kissing and making out.


Some use of words like "damn," "bitch," and "hell," plus more descriptive, sexually oriented terms, including "scrotum head."


The main character mentions she's taking Paxil, but it's not a major plot point.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Main characters routinely retreat to a local watering hole to relieve job-related stress after hours. The heroine's parents are alcoholics and hide bottles of liquor around the house. Some secondary characters smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adult-oriented medical drama includes a strong female character who's still dealing with emotional battle scars after serving as a nurse in Iraq, where she cheated on her husband. Expect to see plenty of bloody and rather graphic medical procedures, as well as characters involved in adulterous relationships. There's also a fair bit of salty talk (from "bitch" to "broke-ass" to "scrotum head"), and some characters use alcohol to manage stress.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In MERCY (named for its setting inside the fictitious Mercy Hospital), nurse Veronica Callahan (Taylor Schilling) is back from war in Iraq and adjusting to civilian life, which includes the day-to-day rigors of her job and a tenuous reconciliation with her estranged husband (Diego Klattenhoff), who cheated on her while she was away. Complications arise when a new doctor, Chris Sands (James Tupper), arrives at Mercy, forcing Veronica to work side by side with the very man she secretly had an affair with overseas. Good thing two other nurses (Jaime Lee Kirchner and Michelle Trachtenberg) are doing their best to keep her grounded.

Is it any good?


If you lived under a rock and had never seen a medical drama, Mercy would seem fresh and new. Having the Paxil-popping Callahan come from working in Iraq is an interesting concept, and the other characters are well cast and likable. But the truth is, the series has so much in common with other hospital shows that are already on the air that it will probably have to fight for its life.

If you don't have access to Showtime's far-superior (and adults only) Nurse Jackie, the staff of Mercy Hospital will probably entertain you. Another plus is that you could technically watch it with younger teens, although it certainly isn't a "family show." But if you're already hooked on Jackie ... or Grey's Anatomy ... or, less likely, HawthoRNe ... it won't tear you away.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how nurses and doctors are typically portrayed in the media. Is their work as dramatic as it looks on television?

  • Do you think showing graphic procedures and other violent imagery -- i.e., inserting a makeshift breathing tube fashioned out of a plastic drinking straw -- makes the show more realistic?

TV details

Cast:James Tupper, Michelle Trachtenberg, Taylor Schilling
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Mercy was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byToTheBatCaveCracka February 5, 2010

A Cool Show

Do you like to watch show were lives where lives are saved? Because I do, and I often enjoy watching Mercy when it doesn’t conflict with American Idol. It is a very good hospital show that successfully takes the place of E.R. on NBC. Although Mercy does not have as much drama, it is full of comedy, action, and sometimes romance. It can also sometimes be very uplifting when lives are saved. It has a very good cast list, such as the witty Michelle Trachtenburg, and the comical Guillermo Diaz who is most known for is role Showtime’s Weeds.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old September 27, 2009

adult show

I saw the first episode and loved it! I love the song in the preview, but I know it's too violent and creepy so I won't watch it, but still...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old March 18, 2010
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models


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