Mercy Street, Season One: Episode One (2016)


Since writing for Silver Petticoat affords me a chance to write (almost exclusively) about period drama, anytime I have an opportunity to gush over the beauty of the genre, I do. This is why, when I do write about new finds of the costume drama sort, I’m giddy to share them here. (You know, just in case you miss them.) Today’s features is for Mercy Street, season one: episode one.

Today, I’m sharing my review from yesterday which spotlights the first episode, ‘The New Nurse’ of PBS’ Mercy Street. Though the show could use some polish, overall, I think this PBS’ “replacement” for ‘Downton’ is stunning. It’s nice to have a change of pace from specific time periods and revisit more of the “bonnet age” of period drama.

Did you catch the first episode of this Masterpiece Theatre adaptation? What were your impressions!? What would you like to see changed or altered?

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Mercy Street, Season One: Episode One – A Proper Southern Period Drama

In recent years, Masterpiece Theatre productions have typically taken place in the 1900’s with a particular fascination with WWII and its many faceted complications and great depth of sorrows. This is why on the eve of ITV’s phenomenal Downton Abbey playing its swan song, PBS introduces us to our new addiction with a new time period. Inspired by the stoic lives of the volunteer nurses and doctors of the Civil War, this is Mercy Street.

Nursing has given Miss Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a new purpose in life. Mary lovingly cared for her ailing husband (a German Baron) until his death. Now with the country divided in a Civil War, Mary has put her self-taught nursing experiences to good use. In pursuit of helping her fellow Union confederates, she volunteers as a nurse.

Mercy Street, Season One: Episode One (2016). A review snippet of the PBS show. All text © Rissi JC /

Elsewhere, watching everything she has known be whisked away, Emma Green (Hannah James) has to adjust to a new way of life. Her family’s hotel has been conscripted to the Union cause, leaving her family to either leave or stay in a Southern city taken by the North. Every day, Emma brushes shoulders with the opposite side of the fight, holding out hope her beau will return safely. As she searches for him in the small group of Confederate patients housed in the hospital, Emma finds herself doing well as a voice for the injured men.

These two women find ways to work together as they make a difference. Meanwhile, the lives of the doctors including Dr. Jed Foster (Josh Radnor), a modern thinker, and Chaplin Henry Hopkins (Luke Macfarlane) intersect with those of these two women. Continue Reading ➔

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. This looks really good, and I will be eagerly awaiting it's debut on DVD. :) I loved Call the Midwife, and the aspect of nursing it portrayed, and am interested in this one as well, especially since it is set in the Civil War when women nursing was incredibly looked down upon.

    1. I wondered about the realism of women nursing in this time frame, but during the writing of this review, I saw some articles about this being inspired by true stories. Like you say, this aspect of the show is really very interesting. Fortunately, the DVD comes out February 2nd, Becca; not too much longer! :)

  2. LOVE this series. SO excited to continue watching. Although it is disconcerting slightly to see Ted Mosby as a Civil War era progressive thinking doctor. ;)
    I'm a huge fan already–can't say enough good things about it.

    1. I'm so glad, Meghan! Being the Southern lady you are, it's nice to know you enjoy something that has a Southern setting coupled with the fact that you write fiction in this era. I'd love to know what you think of it as it progresses – I have episode 2 in iTunes, so I'm eager to watch it. :)

    1. I had similar reactions, Becky. I mean, I DID love it, but it wasn't quite what I anticipated either. Still… I'm very much excited to see where it goes. Did you see episode two? (It's waiting for me in iTunes.)

    1. Fabulous! I'll have to stop in and visit once you post that – or if you already did, I'll for sure be by. Thanks so much for visiting, Ivy. :)

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