On Sunday, PBS premiered the first episode of the Civil War medical drama. Mercy Street. Like AMC's Revolutionary War hit, Turn: Washington's Spies, the American film company is giving British dramas such as Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife a good run for their money. American history is fascinating, but trying to turn it into a television show can be complex, which is why you have to settle for one certain aspect of the war. For Turn. it was Washington's secret spy network and for Mercy Street, it's the true stories of the doctors, nurses and soldiers on both sides.
Filmed entirely in Alexandria, Virginia, Mercy Street tells the stories of the real men and women who had to endure the suffering of a prejudiced society on all all fronts, black and white, north and south. It follows the lives of two young women,
Mary Phinney, a war widow, certified nurse and arch abolitionist
Emma Green, a lovely southern belle who wants to break free from her sheltered world.
As well as two young doctors,
Dr. Jedediah Foster, the head doctor who is confident in his skills, but spends more time putting out prejudiced fires than saving lives.
Samuel Diggs, a black freeman and hospital aid who is also a practicing doctor.
Emma's family hotel has been turned into a war hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers and not everyone is pleased with the idea. Mary may be morally strong in her abolition convictions, but is grossly prejudicial to the Confederates and would rather let the wounded men die than take time to care for them. Emma Green, however, has a fiance in the war and searches the hospital for him. While there, she begins to feel that her life could be better spent helping instead of waiting.
Growing up in Virginia, most of my history has been based around the Civil War, which has always been my least favorite war (mainly because neither side of my family had anything to do with it). However, that doesn't deter from the fact that the Civil War was an extraordinary time in history and that every side deserves an opportunity to be heard. And Mercy Street explores every single side of the war, the good and the bad.
Mercy Street is also the breakout performance for Virginia native and former homeschooler, Hannah James
who plays Emma Green!