"Sometimes patients need more than medical attention," cautions Michael Learned in the title role of "Nurse" (at 10 tonight on Channel 9). It's the kind of blinding insight you'd expect from yet another TV graduate of the Marcus Welby School of Medicine and Dimestore Psychology.
In the first of six episodes spun off from a highly successful CBS movie that aired a year ago, Learned, as Nurse Mary Benjamin, learns that her son's new live-in girlfriend, a flightly ballet dancer, gets much of her zip from speed. It takes forever for the story to develop, since much time is frittered away over the mistaken impression that the boy is taking the drugs.
Of course, drug-scare scripts are the first refuge of the Hollywood hack; this one is less hysterical but also much more listless than most.
That a trained nurse would meet the girl and not recognize classic symptoms of amphetamine dependence seems harder to swallow than any known pill, but the script is not exactly devoted to credibility of any kind. Learned has to supply all of that herself, and she is, as usual, an attractive and comfortable trust figure.
But the hour is a slumbering example of non-drama drama. Nothing much happens but a few klutzy misunderstandings, until the girl finally passes out in the middle of a tour jete, or whatever. Writers Chris Abbott and Max McClellan obviously feel that the best dialogue is the most familiar dialogue. Hence this limpid mother-son confrontation:
Son: "Stop treating me like a child!" Mother: "Then stop acting like one." Say, we'll have to remember that one for the future use in real life, should any occur. None is likely to pop up on "Nurse," which is further encumbered with the quintessentially ineffectual Robert Reed as Learned's nemesis doctor and a perfectly lousy performance by Christopher Marcantel as her idiot son.
All the hour has going for it are the New York locations, Learned's abiding forbearance and the commercially sound medical setting, of which TV viewers never seem to tire. A dose or two of this video anesthetic may change that, however.