Watch Mercy Street
- 2 Seasons
Mercy Street is a historical drama television series that aired on PBS from 2016 to 2017. Set during the American Civil War, it tells the story of the doctors, nurses, and patients at a Union Army hospital located in Alexandria, Virginia. The show explores the impact of the war on both the soldiers and civilians caught up in the conflict, as well as the societal and political tensions of the time.
The series takes place in 1862, two years into the war, and examines the changing roles and views of women, African Americans, and other marginalized groups. The main characters are drawn from various backgrounds and social classes, creating a diverse and nuanced picture of life during the Civil War.
One of the main characters is Jedediah Foster, played by McKinley Belcher III. Foster is a black medical student from Massachusetts who becomes a civilian contract surgeon at the hospital. He faces discrimination and skepticism from his white colleagues and patients, but remains determined to prove his worth and serve his country. Foster becomes involved in a romantic relationship with Mary Phinney, one of the hospital's head nurses, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Another significant character is the hospital's matron, Emma Green, played by Suzanne Bertish. Green is a widow and a staunch Confederate sympathizer who becomes the hospital's chief nurse. She clashes with many of the hospital's staff, especially Mary Phinney, who is a staunch abolitionist. Green's loyalties are put to the test when her daughter, Alice, becomes involved with a Confederate soldier being treated at the hospital.
Norbert Leo Butz plays Dr. Byron Hale, the hospital's chief surgeon. Hale is an opium addict who struggles to maintain his professional and personal life amidst the chaos of war. He frequently clashes with the hospital's other doctors and nurses, including Foster and Phinney, but ultimately becomes a mentor to Foster and an ally in the fight for medical advancements and patient care.
Other notable characters include Samuel Diggs, a former slave who becomes a Union Army laborer before joining the hospital staff as a nurse, and Lisette Beaufort, a French-speaking New Orleans socialite who becomes a spy for the Union Army.
The show features a detailed portrayal of the hospital's operations and medical procedures, which were often primitive and experimental. It also explores the larger social and political implications of the war, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the underground railroad, and the treatment of prisoners of war.
Mercy Street was praised for its authenticity and attention to historical detail, with a team of historical advisors and consultants working to ensure accuracy in costumes, hairstyles, props, and dialogue. The show was also noted for its diverse cast and complex, nuanced characters.
Despite critical acclaim, Mercy Street was cancelled after two seasons due to low ratings. However, it continues to be a beloved and highly regarded series among fans of historical drama and Civil War history.
Mercy Street is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (13 episodes). The series first aired on January 17, 2016.