A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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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?