PBS has given the dramatic series Mercy Street a second season order following the success of the first season of the network’s original historical drama. Season one’s premiere episode drew in 5.7 million viewers and was the #2 most tweeted about drama on the night of its debut. Mercy Street was created by David Zabel and Lisa Q. Wolfinger who executive produce along with Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker. The cast is led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Josh Radnor and includes Gary Cole, Hannah James, Brad Koed Jr, Norbert Leo Butz, Tara Summers, McKinley Belcher III, Jack Falahee, AnnaSophia Robb, Donna Murphy, Suzanne Bertish, and Luke Macfarlane.
“We are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to Mercy Street and the return of high-quality American drama on PBS stations,” stated Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Officer and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “We’re looking forward to a second season offering more fascinating stories inspired by historical events. The effort from everyone involved, including the producers, directors, historical consultants, actors and PBS stations, resulted in an extraordinary series that exemplifies PBS’ world-class programming.”
“Several years ago, I went searching for a fresh take on the Civil War and stumbled on the world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia,” said co-creator and executive producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger. “The history inspired us to create a complex ensemble drama about life on the home front told from multiple points of view: women, African Americans, doctors and civilians. This wasn’t easy or glamorous history; it wasn’t about battles and glory; this was challenging material rife with provocative themes and fully three-dimensional and often flawed characters. In so many ways, PBS was the perfect fit for us. The fact that Mercy Street has been so well-received by PBS’ audiences is exhilarating. We are looking forward to season two and the opportunity to expand our storylines while digging deeper into this pivotal time in American history.”
“It has been a privilege for all of us on Mercy Street to be able to tell these stories at the intersection of drama and history, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to build on what we’ve already done,” said co-creator and executive producer David Zabel. “The quality entertainment and educational value that Mercy Street provides have made the show a perfect fit for PBS, and we’re elated that the first season has resonated with its audience.”
“I am so pleased that Mercy Street has already had such tremendous success and will be returning to Virginia to film season two,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “This outstanding show is a great illustration of the enormous opportunities Virginia offers to film and television producers and to tourists who enjoy history and natural beauty. I hope everyone will continue to support Mercy Street and take advantage of our many exceptional Civil War sites and attractions, particularly those in Alexandria, where the original story of Mercy Street took place, and in Central Virginia where the PBS series is filmed.”
The Mercy Street Plot: Mercy Street‘s first season took place in the spring of 1862 in Alexandria, Virginia, a border town between North and South and the longest-occupied Confederate city of the war. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria was the central melting pot of the region, filled with civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded soldiers from both sides, free blacks, enslaved and contraband (escaped slaves living behind Union lines) African Americans, prostitutes, speculators and spies. Mercy Street follows the lives of all of these characters, who collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel, which has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital.
Season two picks up directly from the dramatic events at the end of the season one finale, continuing to explore the growing chaos within Alexandria, the complicated interpersonal dynamics of Dr. Foster, Nurse Mary and the Mansion House staff, the increasingly precarious position of the Green family and the changing predicament of the burgeoning black population. The season will introduce a number of new elements, taking us closer to the fight and into the halls of Confederate power, all set against the intensifying war, starting with the Seven Days’ Battle and culminating with Antietam.