"Nurse Jackie" Pupil (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • The emergency room is four nurses short, and Jackie runs a tight ship. A male temp seems to be unusually slow or dim until Zoey discovers that he may be on drugs. On top of everything, Grace has a panic attack at school, and Jackie accidentally lets it slip that she has a daughter.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Jackie and her husband walk Grace to school. Little Fiona has cupcake all over her face so Jackie takes out a napkin to clean her up. Her granules of pain meds fall like sprinkles on her daughter's cup cake. Seeing them fall, Jackie swats the cupcake out of Fiona's hands, telling her there was a bug on it. Close call.

    The kids and Kevin say good bye across the subway platform as Jackie shoves a pill in her mouth.

    At the hospital, Jackie arrives to find that the beds are full and they're four nurses short.

    Mrs. Akalitis introduces Jackie to a temp Sam, who's trying to take insurance information from a patient with three wallets who was hit by a car and has a head would. Sam doesn't appear too swift, so Jackie takes over.

    Jackie tells Zoey she's going to be on her own today and she needs to do better than last time when she gave a pill seeker six percocet for a non-existent broken finger. Zoey doesn't think she can be fooled this time, she watched a show last night that taught her how to read drug use by flashing a light in someone's eyes.

    Jackie assess the waiting room asking who there is in so much pain they can't raise their arm. Those that do go to the bottom of the list. For everybody else it's a three hour wait. A few people leave, Jackie figures they're drug seekers.

    A guy comes in with a clearly busted hand, bleeding. As she takes him in back Zoey announces that this is the kind of thing they're talking about.

    Cooper looks over the head wound woman. After he leaves, Jackie has her sit up and the woman's clearly in pain. She didn't tell Cooper because she didn't want to disturb him.

    Mrs. Akalitis goes back to her office, where the unclaimed abandoned baby is still hanging out.

    Mo Mo brings head wound woman's other daughter back to see her. She wants her daughter Melissa to meet Cooper when he comes back.

    Jackie tries to decipher the temp's notes, which are vague at best. She sees him sitting nearby texting, not responding to a persistent beep. She takes him over to the nearby patient whose machine has been beeping for half an hour. Jackie asks the patient if Sam has checked on him recently. He hasn't. The patient asked for a glass of water for his pills, but got nothing. Mo Mo tells Jackie that CAT scan paged Cooper six times about Mrs. Greenfield, the head wound woman, but he hasn't responded. Jackie tells the ignored patient that if he doesn't get everything he needs in the next five minutes Sam will give him $50. She gives the patient a watch to time him.

    Zoey examines an enormous man in pain, treating him as if he's not really hurt. She tries to get tough with him, asking him why he's really there, but Mo Mo comes in with his x-rays. He has a fractured fibula and needs some Vicodin.

    Jackie sees Thor on his way out and forbids him from leaving. She convinces Mrs. A to take her paperwork so she can grab some food but immediately runs into Cooper. He wants to know why everyone's looking for him and she yells at him to try answering his pager. As she yells, he snaps a rubber band on his wrist, a new technique he's trying for the inappropriate sexual touching.

    Jackie's cell phone rings. It's Grace, calling from her new school, saying she can't breathe, it's an emergency. Cooper comes back, indignant and fired up, and starts shouting at Jackie that she can't talk to him like that. Jackie tries to calm her freaked out child while fending off the freaked out childish doctor. She finally shouts at him to shut up, she's talking to her kid. That news shuts him up.

    After she gets off the phone with Grace she tracks him down, making a limp plea to keep her private life private. He says he won't tell anyone but she doesn't believe him. In his defense he says that her life isn't that interesting, he's a doctor and he doesn't care.

    Jackie calls her husband to tell him about their daughter's panic attack.

    Zoey rolls the enormous man down the hallway and accidentally goes over incompetent Sam's foot. She apologizes profusely, but he didn't notice. Zoey is suspicious. She tries her new light-in-the-eyes technique to check for drug use. He's glassy eyed.

    Jackie grabs lunch with O'Hara, there on her day off. O'Hara lights up. She's not allowed to smoke in there, but they're too afraid to tell her not to. Jackie tells her about Grace's panicked call. O'Hara thinks Jackie sounds a bit angry at her as well. And then Cooper found out she has a kid.

    Cut to Cooper telling Eddie that Grace has a kid.

    Then back to Jackie smoking profusely in the restaurant. A waiter comes over to tell her not to, but sees O'Hara and tells her to smoke away.

    Eddie tells Cooper to keep Jackie's news to himself and not be one of those doctors who spreads rumors about nurses.

    Cut to slow-mo pill granules bouncing on a counter and Jackie going in for a snort in the bathroom. Then Zoey busts, but doesn't seem to see anything.

    As they wash their hands later, Zoey tells Jackie she thinks the temp is on something. Jackie tells her you never rat on a fellow nurse unless you're sure. She lays out the evidence. Jackie says OK, nice catch.

    Cut to Jackie watching the temp make a bed but enjoying the feel of the sheets way too much. She's on it.

    Jackie and Cooper check on Mrs. Greenfield, who is more interested in introducing her younger daughter to Cooper than whatever is going on with her. The older daughter Amy interrupts the flirting to ask what's going on with her mom. She needs exploratory surgery for a mass.

    Mrs. Greenfield tells Amy to chill out and the frustrated daughter steps outside the curtain. Jackie goes to talk to her, giving her advice on who to see in oncology and how to fill out the insurance forms to save haggling.

    Then later in the hallway Cooper stops Amy, telling her she seems like a no nonsense kind of girl and asking if she thinks her sister would go out with him.

    Jackie tells Sam the stoned temp he has two choices. He can leave now or go up to employee services and pee in a cup. Either way, she doesn't want to see him again. As she's walking away he says "it takes one to know one." She asks him to repeat what he said but he walks away.

    Jackie drops by Eddie, exhausted. He asks how her kid is. She apologizes and asks if he wants to get coffee. He says it's fine, she can explain when she's ready. He asks if there's anything else he should know about, was she a cat burglar by night? She responds "My life's not that interesting."

    At his bar, Jackie and her husband look over their daughter and think she looks fine now. Jackie's name is called to the open mike. She resists, but relents when Kevin tells her Grace put her name in. She sings James Taylor's "Up on the Roof" and watches as her daughter smiles. Then the smile fades and she recedes back into her world of worry.

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