Review: "Nurse Jackie"

When/Where: Second-season premiere Monday night at 10 on Showtime

'Nurse Jackie' returns for second season

Edie Falco stars as Jackie Peyton in the

Edie Falco stars as Jackie Peyton in the Showtime original series, "Nurse Jackie." (Credit: AP Photo)

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Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) is an ER nurse at Manhattan's All Saints who got hooked on pain meds after a back injury, and subsequently got hooked on the guy scoring them for her - Eddie (Paul Schulze), the hospital pharmacist. That complicates life because she's married to the extremely perfect Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) - he runs a bar - and is mother to two little darlings, Grace (Ruby Jerins) and Fiona (Mackenzie Aladjem). Grace, however, is becoming a budding nihilist. Meanwhile, Eddie nearly tried to kill himself in the first season over his crossed love for Jackie, who is determined to get her life on track.

This week: It has come to the attention of New York state authorities that a drug "shrinkage" appears to be taking place at All Saints. Hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) tells the assembled staff that the pill dispenser "is not a candy machine, people." Demonstrating proper use of the machine - while clandestinely palming a vial or two - Jackie tells the gang, "any shrinkage makes us look bad, even if its Imodium." ("It never is," Gloria says.)

Meanwhile . . . Dr. "Coop" Cooper (Peter Facinelli) has taken to tweeting, while Dr. Eleanor O'Hara (Eve Best) has just lost her mom, and has been appointed godmother to Grace and Fiona.

My say: Last year, the fiendishly clever people at Showtime unveiled their dastardly plan to conquer HBO - snatch some of the finest actresses in the English-speaking world, put them in shows about addicted nurses or people with multiple personalities - not TV comfort food, by any means - and watch them morph to must-see status. Mission accomplished. With Best, Falco and Smith, the network could've put 'em in a show about potato sacks and still scored.

Bottom line: Not consistently funny, perhaps, but when Best and/or Falco are on screen, the angels sing. Both are remarkable.

Grade: B+

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