Episodes: 12 (hour)
TV show dates: January 17, 2016 — March 5, 2017.
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Radnor, Gary Cole, Peter Gerety, Donna Murphy, Norbert Leo Butz, McKinley Belcher III, Shalita Grant, L. Scott Caldwell, Hannah James, Wade Williams, AnnaSophia Robb, Tara Summers, Brad Koed, Luke Macfarlane, Cameron Monaghan, Suzanne Bertish, and Cherry Jones.
TV show description:
This Civil War era historical drama focuses on the doctors, nurses, contraband laborers, and Confederate loyalists at the Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia. It is set prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.
A New Englander, abolitionist, and feminist, widowed nurse Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) trained under Dorothea Dix, and is new to Mansion House Hospital. Struggling with guilt over her inability to save the life of her late husband, Mary longs to make a difference.
A civilian surgeon, Dr. Jedediah Foster (Josh Radnor) is the privileged son of a wealthy Maryland land owner and grew up in a slave-owning family. This well-traveled doctor shuts out the political concerns of the day, in order to reform the Army’s medical department.
Samuel Diggs (McKinley Belcher III) is a free black man and laborer at Mansion House Hospital, who knows more about medicine than he lets on. Having grown up in the home of a Philadelphia doctor, Diggs talents lie fallow in an era that refuses to recognize and utilize them. He is drawn to an escaped slave, or “contraband,” Aurelia Johnson.
Aurelia Johnson (Shalita Grant) tries to block out her past as a slave on a southern plantation. Still, life in Alexandria is not much of an improvement. Her feelings for Diggs are complicated by her relationship with Silas Bullen.
A morally corrupt schemer, hospital steward Silas Bullen (Wade Williams) uses his position at the hospital for his own profit. While he mistreats Aurelia, she stays involved with him, because he promises to help her family.
Southern belle Emma Green (Hannah James) arrives is seeking her beau, Captain Frank Stringfellow (Jack Falahee) — a Confederate scout and spy, who is working under cover as a dental assistant. While volunteering as a nurse at Mansion House, Emma decides to treat Confederate soldiers.
Emma’s little sister, Alice Green (AnnaSophia Robb), grows increasingly and fanatically loyal to the Confederacy. Her secret Confederate soldier beau, Tom Fairfax (Cameron Monaghan) suffers from PTSD, known in the era as “Irritable Heart Syndrome.”
Hospital chaplain Henry Hopkins (Luke Macfarlane) has a checkered past, but is now committed to his mission and his Lord. He and Emma are drawn to each other, despite the fact that he is a Yankee.
Belinda Gibson (L. Scott Caldwell) remains a servant of the Green family, even after she is freed. A practical woman, she is loath to give up the security of her position, even as it grows more demanding.
Having worked with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, English nurse, Anne Hastings (Tara Summers), believes herself above her co-workers and the dirtier aspects of the job. While dallying with one doctor, she shamelessly flirts with another. She sees Mary Phinny as her rival and is not above sabotaging the newcomer.
A by-the-book Army surgeon, Dr. Byron Hale (Norbert Leo Butz) resists change, even when accepting it would improve patient care. A skilled and ambitious man with a roving eye, Dr. Hale lusts after Nurse Hastings and is not above conspiring with her to take down their competitors, real and perceived.
A Major, career Army surgeon Dr. Alfred Summers (Peter Gerety) is ill-equipped to run a hospital. He resents the presence and importance of women in what he sees as a man’s domain. He is, however, enthralled by Nurse Hastings’ wiles. His best friend is the bottle.
Clubfooted James Green, Jr. (Brad Koed) is brother to Emma and Alice. Because of his disability, Jimmy works in the family businesses, though he would rather be on the front lines for the Confederacy.
James Green, Sr. (Gary Cole) is desperate to keep his business a success in Union-occupied Alexandria. He expects much of son Jimmy, even while treating him like a child.
The epitome of Southern ladyhood, Jane Green (Donna Murphy) is committed to preserving the facade of her pre-war life, even when her home is swamped with Union soldiers. Jane is married to James Sr. and mother to his three willful children.
Irish Hospital Matron Brannan (Suzanne Bertish) is a daunting and fierce head nurse. Nothing at Mansion House escapes her notice.
Episode #12: House of Bondage
After Antietam, the Greens suffer a setback and Pinkerton’s inquiry heats up. Foster and Samuel visit Foster’s family plantation, where they intervene in a difficult labor. The hospital staff unites to oust their hated chief. In Boston, Mary’s condition worsens. (Courtesy of PBS.)
First aired: March 5, 2017
What do you think? Do you like the Mercy Street TV show? Do you think it should have been cancelled or renewed for a third season?