Based on real events, Mercy Street takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of Americans on the Civil War home front as they face the unprecedented challenges of one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history. Rhode Island PBS presents Mercy Street, a PBS original series, on Friday nights after Downton Abbey, beginning January 22.
Set in Virginia in the spring of 1862, Mercy Street follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict; Mary Phinney, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, (Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle. The two collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army Hospital in Alexandria, a border town between North and South and the longest-occupied Confederate city of the war. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria is now the melting pot of the region, filled with soldiers, civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded fighting men from both sides, runaway slaves, prostitutes, speculators and spies.
The intersection of North and South within the confines of a small occupied town creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful — a cauldron within which these characters strive, fight, love, laugh, betray, sacrifice and, at times, act like scoundrels. This series is not about battles and glory, it’s about the drama and unexpected humor of everyday life behind the front lines. It’s a fresh twist on an iconic story, one that resonates with larger themes we still struggle with today.
Meet the Green Family, whose luxury hotel in Virginia has been converted to a hospital.
Meet Nurse Mary Phinney and Dr. Jedediah Foster. Mercy Street’s Josh Radnor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead talk about their characters.