Mercy Street: Season 1 (2016)


Season 1
Mercy Street

Critics Consensus

Mercy Street's intriguing setting and talented cast can't compensate for the overall lack of excitement in a period drama that's traditional to a fault.



Critic Ratings: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 105
User image


Air date: Jan 17, 2016
Air date: Jan 24, 2016
Air date: Jan 31, 2016
Air date: Feb 7, 2016
Air date: Feb 14, 2016
Air date: Feb 21, 2016

Mercy Street: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Season 1 of the Civil War medical drama opens with Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a widowed nurse from New England, arriving at a hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va., that's been set up in a luxury hotel owned by the Green family. Although a Union operation, it cares for soldiers on both sides of the conflict—though doctors Jed Foster (Josh Radnor) and Byron Hale (Norbert Leo Butz) disagree on just how much care the Southerners should receive. Among the first things Mary does: cover up an emergency surgery performed by Samuel (McKinley Belcher III), a free black laborer who's skilled at medicine. At the same time, the Green's daughter Emma (Hannah James) braves the patient wards in a furtive search for news about her fiancé Frank (Jack Falahee), a Confederate soldier, and, by the second episode, is volunteering to serve as a nurse. Frank does turn up, eventually, but not as a patient: First, he poses as a dental assistant in order to steal plans from Union soldiers; and, later, he aims to help a wounded prisoner (and Emma's sister's beau) escape and rejoin his outfit. Other storylines find Mary helping Jed wean himself off of morphine; Samuel falling for a contraband slave; the medical inspector visiting; the Green family patriarch James (Gary Cole) facing imprisonment for refusing to sign an oath of allegiance to the Union; and Frank plotting to assassinate President Lincoln during a visit to the hospital by the commander-in-chief.


Josh Radnor
as Jedediah Foster
Gary Cole
as James Green
Brad Koed
as James Green Jr.
Hannah James
as Emma Green
Norbert Leo Butz
as Dr. Byron Hale
Peter Gerety
as Dr. Alfred Summers
Tara Summers
as Anne Hastings
Shalita Grant
as Aurelia Johnson
Jack Falahee
as Frank Stringfellow
AnnaSophia Robb
as Alice Green
Donna Murphy
as Jane Green
Suzanne Bertish
as Hospital Matron Brannan
Wade Williams
as Silas Bullen
Luke MacFarlane
as Chaplain Hopkins
Cherry Jones
as Dorthea Dix
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mercy Street: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Mercy Street Season 1

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (12)

Hopefully timing and word of mouth will turn the series into a deserving contender in a Sunday television landscape packed with viable options.

Aug 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Well-meaning but oh so somber, Mercy Street is a rare, born-in-the USA drama for a network that has relied on the British for almost everything in this genre.

Jun 12, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Despite the lovely title, used by both musician Peter Gabriel and poet Anne Sexton, the show is obvious and inauthentic as it tells the story.

Jan 15, 2016 | Full Review…

Excellent cast, lifeless drama.

Jan 14, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The blood and tragedy don't feel gratuitous, but rather honest portrayals of a turbulent time in American history based on true events in Alexandria, Va. starting in 1861.

Nov 15, 2018 | Full Review…

The first original scripted drama produced by PBS in over a decade, Mercy Street is a medical show by way of a historical drama, an American story that takes its cues from British period pieces and fills its cast with strong American actors.

Jul 29, 2016 | Full Review…

A drama that exults the quality of mercy in an improvised Virginia hospital during the Civil War.

Feb 26, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Soapy Civil War hospital drama has lots of blood, history.

Feb 2, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Although some aspects of the ploy may be predictable, the drama emerging from the many conflicts of the Civil War period, both ideological and physical, promise to demand attention.

Jan 21, 2016 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Mercy Street milks ample drama from the terrifying prospect of facing even the most minor of procedures in an era in which anesthesia was considered unnecessary and the most scientific testing involved sniffing.

Jan 19, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mercy Street: Season 1

  • Apr 22, 2019
    Honestly, it started allow but the drama really picked up in the last few episodes. Nicely written characters.
  • Mar 13, 2017
    Please please please do another season!!! Such an intelligently done show, but also so engaging. I love the characters and the story - great acting.
  • Feb 07, 2017
    love this show! Great Cast, great production value
  • Jan 31, 2017
    In authentic and historical inaccuracies. Example an officer brags about his affluence including being trained as a physician at Princeton. Princeton University was The College of New Jersey until it was renamed Princeton in 1896. The College of New Jersey was a theological school and did not offer degrees in the sciences until long after the civil war. It was one of a handful of colleges in civil war era and not particularly attended by the affluent.
  • Mar 13, 2016
    Love it. It's PBS at its usual best.
  • Mar 04, 2016
    Much more even-handed than most entertainment set in that period. The cast is very compelling and the writing is excellent. The costumes are understated, but highly appropriate.
  • Feb 22, 2016
    My wife and I loved Mercy Stree! Does a great job of of blending the human interest of a dramatic hospital drama with the tensions of the Civil War and its underlying moral issue of slavery. Bring it back with more episodes, PBS!
  • Feb 21, 2016
    This is an incredibly well-done series. Authenticity is first rate, and the acting is spot-on!
  • Feb 20, 2016
    It's historical, the actors play interesting characters, in short it is an entertaining episode. They do not resort to gruesome murders or soft porn to create a plot. So extra credit for that.
  • Feb 17, 2016
    I was really looking forward to this. Quality always from PBS. What happened? Was it filmed on the cheap? The shots are so tight as to not have any expensive establishing shots that might show what a small set they are working on. It shows! It looks like what it is cheap! Not even some green screen shots to make for some very interesting historical setting that could have been interesting. Did they cost too much? The lead actress is not up to par, her character drives the story and she can't. So instead of the quality of a Downtown Abbey, we trade on it's reputation and we get a poor quality PBS product trying to make up for it's obvious lack of quality with gratuitous gore and now a simulated oral sex scene? Sorry I'm out!

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