'Nurse Jackie' Season 3: Dire consequences sidelined once again

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Watching "Nurse Jackie" is frequently an uncomfortable experience.

Jackie's ( Edie Falco) commitment to addiction and maintaining her manipulation of everyone in her life ensures that even the series' funniest moments are infected by metastasizing dread.

The start of Season 3 should release some of the pressure that's been building. But instead of surrendering to the Season 2 finale intervention staged by Kevin ( Dominic Fumusa) and Dr. O'Hara ( Eve Best), Jackie comes out fighting, postponing the inevitable once again.

That's not to see the walls aren't still crashing down around her. Every lose end continues to unravel in the Mar. 28 season premiere, with Kevin growing increasingly suspicious of her drug consumption, her professional and personal lives bleeding together, a best friend no longer speaking to her, her former lover still very much a part of her life and that dealer she nicked pills from taking an unexpected role in her life.

Adding to Jackie's problems, her dysfunctional sister moves into her house and her eldest daughter's paranoia is not dissuaded by her new private school.

But the show continues to be, in many respects, a comedy. Dr. Akalitus ( Anna Deavere Smith) gets a particularly hilarious arc involving a new obsession with Michelle Obama and a feud with her counterpart at another hospital over who'll get the first lady's kudos for trying to fight childhood obesity. And Dr. Cooper ( Peter Facinelli), who's sort of dropped the combative act, is now just endearingly goofy.

Like so many Showtime comedies, "Jackie" leaves us feeling a bit conflicted. But the acting, caustic characters and looming consequences make Season 3 destination viewing for anyone who's already hooked --- and a worthwhile pursuit for anyone still on the fence.
Photo/Video credit: Showtime