'Nurse Jackie': On the Set With Edie Falco as Show Says Goodbye for Good

Showtime's New York-based ER dramedy throws one last party as Falco reflects on her Emmy-winning role and career: "I feel like I'm still in high school dreaming of becoming an actress."
Jessica Chou
"A lot of people think [wrapping the show] is bittersweet," says episode director Jesse Peretz (far right, with Falco and Schulze). "But for me, it's heartbreaking. Jackie is an antihero — she's somebody the audience loves despite her flaws."

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It was not TV's first gay wedding — that was in 1991, on a Fox sitcom called Roc, followed by same-sex marriages on Northern Exposure, Roseanne and Friends — but it was quite possibly the first to use blown-up surgical gloves as balloons.

The hastily arranged nuptials of Thor (Stephen Wallem) and Reuben (Kevin Cahoon) on Nurse Jackie, filmed in November on the show's chapel set at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York, were supposed to provide some romantic relief for the staff at the fictional All Saints Hospital, who all think they're about to lose their jobs as a Scandinavian medical firm prepares to take over the facility.

But the ceremony also succeeded in cheering up the cast — Edie Falco as the show's titular addict nurse, Paul Schulze as disgraced pharmacist Eddie, Betty Gilpin as Dr. Carrie Roman and Emmy winner Merritt Wever as peppy nurse Zoey — who were pondering their own post-Jackie careers as Showtime's edgy comedy contender neared its final episodes.

"It doesn't matter how many years I have been acting — and it's been a while now — I still can't believe I get to do it," says Falco, who won a 2010 Emmy for playing Jackie (on top of the three she won for The Sopranos; she's the only actress to win lead Emmys for both comedy and drama). "I feel like I'm still in high school dreaming of becoming an actress. It's insane. I am beyond blessed."

With only four episodes left in the series — the wedding episode aired May 31; the series finale will be June 28 — castmembers brought family members to the set to watch from the sidelines. One onlooker's baby threw up on a director's chair. And not everyone understood this particular wedding scene. "I don't get what this scene is about," said Falco's young son, Anderson, looking up periodically from his iPad. His mom gently explained, "It's about two boys getting married."