HawthoRNe: Season One (Sony) – Jada Pinkett Smith is Christina Hawthorne, the Chief Nursing Officer at a dysfunctional, financially-starved city hospital serving both military veterans and local civilians, in the second new medical series seen from the perspective of the nursing staff. Hawthorne is also the latest of the damaged heroes on TV who defy authority to stand up for their staff and patients but aren’t nearly so good about looking after themselves.
A widow still struggling with the death of her military officer husband (the show opens on the one-year anniversary of his death), Hawthorne is passionate, angry, headstrong, rebellious and confrontational, has no patience with intolerance or superiority or apathy (from doctors or patients) and very poor maternal instincts, which is tough for a single mother with a rebellious teenage daughter (Hannah Hodson) who is as strong-willed as she is. She’s not the most likable character on TV, and not as interesting as the more self-destructive Nurse Jackie, but she runs a good crew in a floundering hospital. Suleka Mathew (from one of my favorite shows, Da Vinci’s Inquest) is her second in command and helps humanize Hawthorne and Michael Vartan is the Chief of Surgery who alternately defends Hawthorne to the board and butts heads with her defiant approach to medicine. Her crew consists of David Julian Hirsh (the self-conscious male nurse who bristles at insolent conceit of staff doctors), Christina Moore (the hot nurse who gives a little extra to the veterans) and Vanessa Lengies (the young, emotionally vulnerable rookie nurse).