It seems every new television season there is a new show about doctors (or five) it is surprising it took so long for networks to deviate and have a medical show focusing on nurses. Now in the span of four months, we get three new shows that revolve around RN’s. Last week saw the debut of Nurse Jackie on Showtime, the fall sees NBC’s foray into the profession with Mercy, while TNT premieres Hawthorne which sets itself apart by having the lead have RN in her name. But really not much else.
Jada Pinkett Smith (Reign Over Me) is said title character who is the head nurse at Richmond Trinity and the show picks up on the one year anniversary of the death of her husband. We are not that privy as to how it happen, just bits and pieces leak out in the first couple episodes on how he died. But naturally it causes some strain between her and her daughter and mother-law (Joanna Cassidy; yes, the white one) as it did happen at the hospital.
Other staffers include Michael Vartan (Monster-in-Law) who is just as wooden as ever, not that the female patrons will care much as the Chief of Surgery. Smith’s right hand woman is Suleka Mather (The Net) who self proclaimed damaged good (we do get to find out why she thinks that in a did that really just happened moment). David Julian Hirsh (Lovebites) is your comic relief, which is kind of sexist being the lone male nurse on staff.
Rounding out the cast is Christina Moore (Mad TV) whose main purpose apparently is just there to be the object of Hirsh’s affection. In fact Vanessa Lengies (American Dreams) isn’t officially in the cast but gets much more screen time, and better storylines, in the first couple episodes than Moore as a rookie nurse. It did look like Moore was going to be a nurse that gives her patients a little too much TLC, but that seemed to be quickly dropped after first alluded to.
The show does start to be more entertaining during the second episode thanks to some infusion of humor and a pair of guest stars. Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Listen Up) is admitted after a brain aneurism who mistakes Smith as his wife. And Cloris Leachman (Dancing with the Star) as a cantankerous patient that newbie Lengies has to deal with.
Hawthorne airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on TNT. The show is preceded by The Wedding Day at 8:00 and followed by Saving Grace at 10:00. Check out a preview below: