that she thinks she needs to go to rehab. It would seem Jackie is
genuine in her cry for help, and she does start a 28-day rehab
program. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before her self-destructive
tendencies take over, and Jackie begins to compartmentalize
during rehab. She convinces herself that she can complete the
program in half the time and subsequently leaves after two weeks.
Throughout the seven seasons of Nurse Jackie, viewers
notice a lack of transparency that, at times, makes it difficult to
understand Jackie’s motivations. After Kevin discovers Jackie has
been in rehab, he files for divorce, which brings more instability
into her middle adulthood. Jackie meets a guy who cares about her,
but she cheats on him with a younger drug dealer. Her self-
destructive tendencies reinforce her need for
compartmentalization as a maintenance strategy. Her best friend
pays for her rehab, but she leaves early and does not stay sober.
She gets a supportive, 12-step sponsor, but is threatened by the
fact that the sponsor knows Jackie is still using, so Jackie uses a
ruse to send her sponsor into rehab in Jackie’s place. She convinces
a dying nun to take the blame for illegal prescriptions Jackie had
filled so the nurse avoids getting into trouble. She begins using pills
again on the one-year anniversary of her sobriety. Most of the time,
Jackie shows no remorse for the decisions she makes while
following her own moral code even though she damages first her
domestic relationships then her professional relationships. By
prioritizing her needs over everyone and everything else, and with
her need to conceal her addiction at the center of it all, Jackie
rejects the notion of transparency that is typical of a female
protagonist in a situation comedy, which is great for the series in
terms of dramatic opportunity but for viewers who empathize
with Jackie far from positive for the character (Subramanian
215).
199
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