Nurse Jackie’s New Showrunner Clyde Phillips on the Big Changes Ahead in Season Five

After jogging Nurse Jackie out of its storytelling rut — and guiding its fourth season to what many critics called a creative high point and a real turnaround — showrunners Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius made a sudden exit. When the Showtime series premieres its fifth season this Sunday at 9 p.m., things will have shifted under new boss Clyde Phillips, who previously led Dexter. He says both the network and studio had already been thinking of shaking things up, and for the most part, that’s meant a less heavy, less dreary, more overtly comedic approach to continuing the story of a still-sober but struggling former addict. “We wanted it to be a comedy. A dark comedy. It had really become a very heavy drama for a while there,” Phillips said, bringing to mind Edie Falco’s infamously stunned reaction to winning the 2010 Emmy for Lead Comedy Actress (“I’m not funny!”). Early in the new season, Jackie’s already smiling more, seeing a nice guy, and getting unsolicited wardrobe advice from colleagues. Phillips spoke to Vulture about the challenges of taking over a show midstream, and why he says things will still get pretty dark later on.



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