TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Mercy TV Poster Image
Adult-driven hospital drama seems awfully familiar.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old March 18, 2010
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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