Picks and Pans Review: Nurse Jackie

updated 06/15/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime, June 8, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT |

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If the time ever comes that actress Edie Falco seems phony, showy or anything less than a fully realized human being with love and hurt in her eyes, that will probably be the same day Hollywood is destroyed by an alien species from planet Thespia. In her first major role since she ended her supreme run as Carmela on The Sopranos, she's Jackie Peyton, an emergency-room nurse in New York City. Jackie is compassionate, hard-working to the point of exhaustion, scornfully impatient of doctors and—because of a back problem—not above raiding the hospital pharmacy for painkillers. Although she's married with kids, she also likes to grab some quick on-the-job sex with Eddie (Paul Schulze), the guy who dispenses the pills. The series isn't breaking any new ground, but Falco gives us a Jackie with no fuss or apologies: just direct, bedrock believability. The question is never whether this woman is headed for rehab or a divorce. All that matters is whether she's got her act sufficiently together to treat the next patient.

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