4:28pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Nurse Jackie' Final Season Will Have 'Authentic' Ending — Plus Watch the Trailer
Showtime will say farewell to one of its signature hits when dramedy Nurse Jackie begins its seventh and final season April 12, with an ending that producers vowed would be "authentic."
The seventh and final season picks up immediately where the season-six finale left off, after Jackie's arrest with a car full of drugs. Her struggle this season will see her attempt to get back her job as a nurse at All Saints, as well as repair the incredibly damaged relationships she has with her friends, colleagues and family.
"Had we been renewed for another year, we could have delivered a terrific year. When the decision came down [that this would be its final run]…it made sense in a way," showrunner Clyde Phillips told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "We had told the up and backstory of addiction and of trust, consequence and shrapnel that a drug addict has inflicted on her colleagues, friends and family in about as many ways as we possibly could. We're ending in a graceful and authentic way this year."
Asked if he believes in happy endings — Showtime's recent finales including Dexter and Weeds featured both surviving their years of misdeeds — Phillips noted that he doesn't. Instead, he's a "believer in authentic endings," noting that Nurse Jackie will wrap its run with an ending that is "authentic as it could be. It will be really satisfying for viewers," he promised.
Phillips, always mindful of spoilers, said that producers had a specific ending in mind — burning down the hospital — for the character-driven show, but then completely changed it because the "show spoke to us."
This season will see Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein playing Jackie's attorney in her wrongful termination lawsuit against All Saints. He'll recur alongside Emmy darling Tony Shalhoub, who is set as an ER doc with a special touch with the always prickly Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) and a friend to Jackie.
Meanwhile, star Edie Falco — SAG's most-nominated actress ever — said people's perception of Jackie has changed over the years. "You start out rooting for her and then you understand why it gets harder to do so as her behavior gets more despicable," The Sopranos alum said, noting that starting around season four, more people now stop her and call her "Jackie" than "Carmela" these days.
Falco credited Nurse Jackie's loyal audience for the show's longevity, noting that despite the terrible things Jackie does, viewers continue to love her.
As for what she plans to do after Jackie's end, Falco has no clear plans and is quite happy to take a long break — or sign on to a new project if it speaks to her.
Added Phillips, who has an overall deal at Showtime, "We'll talk!"
Watch the trailer for Jackie's final season, below.