A cou­ple of new med­i­cal dra­mas are good for what ails you. Guy Davis en­joyed the bed­side man­ner of Mercy and Nurse Jackie.

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oc­tors don’t heal, they di­ag­nose,” Jackie Pey­ton, the smart, self­less and, yes, pill-pop­ping nurse at the heart of the new Ten se­ries Nurse Jackie said of the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion.

“ We heal,” she added, talk­ing up the nurses who do the bulk of the car­ing on this edgy com­edy-drama that gives So­pra­nos star Edie Falco a ter­rific star ve­hi­cle for her sharp, spiky charisma.

Nurse Jackie fol­lows in the foot­steps of shows such as Dam­ages and Sav­ing Grace by pro­vid­ing audiences with an in­tel­li­gent adult drama and a tal­ented ac­tor with a show­case for her skills.

While the sto­ry­lines may share sim­i­lar­i­ties with al­most ev­ery other med­i­cal show that’s been on the air since the in­ven­tion of tele­vi­sion ( namely, a mix of ded­i­cated and self-im­pressed medi­cos wrestling with ill­ness and trauma on “ the worst day of every­one’s life”), it mainly sets it­self apart by the char­ac­ter of Jackie.

Given her pen­chant for pop­ping painkillers ( to ease the pain of a back in­jury ex­ac­er­bated by long work­ing hours spent on her feet) and her quick way with a cut­ting one-liner (“ I don’t do chatty; quiet and mean, those are my peo­ple,” she says), com­par­i­son with Hugh Lau­rie’s Dr House would seem ev­i­dent.

But Falco’s Jackie would ac­tu­ally seem to have more in com­mon with the likes of Mad Men’s Don Draper – she’s hard to get a read on. She ap­pears de­voted to her hus­band and kids but she seems equally fond of the hospi­tal phar­ma­cist with whom she’s hav­ing a se­cret af­fair. But is the af­fair about ro­mance or about the pills the phar­ma­cist can pro­vide?

And while it’s clear that she needs the painkillers to get by, Jackie ap­pears al­most as hooked on the thrill of get­ting away with her habit, none of which keeps her from car­ing deeply for the pa­tients in her care.

To its credit, Nurse Jackie hasn’t gone over­board with any explanations so far, al­low­ing its view­ers to trust in Falco’s tough, un­sen­ti­men­tal but like­able per­for­mance.

Nurse Jackie beat the new Seven med­i­cal drama Mercy to the punch by a few weeks, some­thing that must frus­trate its mak­ers no end. Be­cause at first glance, the two shows have more than a bit in com­mon, start­ing with a med­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment that places nurses at the bot­tom of the heap and end­ing with a cen­tral char­ac­ter who talks the talk, walks the walk and has an ad­dic­tion and an ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair among the skele­tons in her closet.

Mercy has nurse Veron­ica Cal­la­han ( new­comer Tay­lor Schilling) re­turn­ing to her rounds at New Jer­sey’s Mercy Hospi­tal af­ter a four-year tour of duty in Iraq, where she seems to have gained the kind of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence that puts the av­er­age fat-cat doc­tor in the shade.

In­deed, our in­tro­duc­tion to Veron­ica has her sav­ing a car-crash vic­tim’s life with lit­tle more than a straw and a wa­ter bot­tle.

Of course, some­one this ca­pa­ble and noble sim­ply must have some bag­gage, and in this case it’s be­ing torn be­tween a nice-guy hus­band and a dash­ing doc ( the man with whom she had a war-zone af­fair).

Oh, and she also has two novice nurses and a case of post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der to deal with. All in a day’s work, right?

As with Nurse Jackie, the plots are your typ­i­cal Med­i­cal Melo­drama 101 with a touch of righ­teous in­dig­na­tion that nurses get lit­tle money and less re­spect. And it def­i­nitely makes no bones about where its sym­pa­thies lie: in re­sponse to a haughty pa­tient won­der­ing out loud what nurses are good for, Veron­ica gets off this zinger: “ Well, we do try to keep the doc­tors from killing you.”

Good medicine: Edie Falco ( left) and new­comer Tay­lor Schilling ( inset) are just what the doc­tor or­dered.

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