Mercy Street


PBS is currently running a show, Mercy Street, set in a Union hospital in Alexandria in 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign.  The medical aspects of the show seem true to the period.  As is the case with most television series set in the past, there are too many soap opera elements, and the dialogue sometimes seems to owe far more to the 21rst century than the 19th century.  A nurse is shown sleeping with a doctor, a relationship that appears to be an open secret in the hospital, and which, historically, would not have been tolerated once it became public knowledge.  On the other hand, a doctor who is clearly supposed to be a “good guy character” comes from a slave holding Maryland family, and is interested in preserving the Union while caring less about slavery, a common opinion in the North in 1862, but far from palatable today.  The show thus makes efforts to be historically accurate, although those efforts appear to be subordinate to the program being entertaining.  Mercy Street I think is an effort to make an American version of a British period series.  The first three episodes have been broadcast and three more will be televised for this season.  Go here to read more about the show.

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 11:31 am  Comments Off on Mercy Street  
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