‘Nurse Jackie” is one of the wisest shows on TV right now. There are countless quick-fix reality series out there, promising instant makeovers and overnight fame. And most network dramas give us characters who morph — from adulterous to loyal, from addicted to clean, from bad to good — in an episode or two or maybe three.
But “Nurse Jackie” doesn’t romanticize or blur the rigors of life changes. Showtime’s comic drama, which returns for season 5 on Sunday night at 9, continues to tease out the complications of addiction and recovery through the story of a nurse who safeguards patients while ruining herself. It’s honest, credible, trustworthy storytelling. The writers spent the first three seasons chronicling Jackie’s slow tumble to the bottom, exploring every facet of her self-destruction as she tore apart her seemingly perfect life. Why was she cheating on her loving husband, why was she alienating her two daughters, why was she ice cold to her co-workers? The show’s only answer: She’s an addict.