WITF is excited to present "Mercy Street" this month. The series is based on true stories in the early years of the Civil War. The series focuses on the lives of characters -- doctors, nurses, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists -- realizing the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Va.
Let's meet some of the characters in Mercy Street:
James Green Sr. (Gary Cole) is the patriarch of the Green family and one of the richest men in Alexandria. He is a noted entrepreneur who owns Green and Brother Furniture Factory and the Mansion House, renowned throughout the region as Alexandria's most luxurious hotel, featuring spacious and elegant rooms, fine cuisine and breathtaking
views of the Potomac River. Few in the city felt the impact of the Union invasion as strongly as Green and his family did.
Jane Green (Donna Murphy) is the quintessential Southern belle, a fiercely protective and caring wife and mother of three and a staunch supporter of the Confederacy, a combination that begins to cause a widening rift in her marriage.
Emma Green (Hannah James) is a 19-year-old Southern belle on the cusp of womanhood. She is beautiful, opinionated and becoming increasingly agitated by her family's treatment by the Union leadership and troops.
Alice Green (Anna-Sophia Robb) is Emma's younger sister. Initially frivolous and naíve, she is more focused on pretty
dresses than the harsh realities of the war.
James Green Jr. (Brad Koed) is the scion, working alongside his father in the family businesses when he desperately wants to be on the front lines fighting for the Confederate cause. Born with a club foot that would keep him off the battlefields, James is resentful of his father's desire to keep him home and working for the family.
Tom Fairfax (Cameron Monaghan) is Alice Green's childhood friend and secret beau. A Confederate soldier, Tom is wounded at the Battle of Williamsburg and brought back to Mansion House for treatment.
Matron Brannon (Suzanne Bertish) is the formidable Irish head nurse who sees and knows all at Mansion House. To the outside world, she seems like the toughest one of all, but she harbors a secret vulnerability.
Samuel Diggs (McKinley Belcher III) is a black laborer who works in Mansion House Hospital and harbors a secret
knowledge of and ability in medicine that comes from having grown up as a servant in the enlightened household of a Philadelphia doctor. He is qualified for much more than he knows anyone will allow him to do, and with the story taking place prior to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, he would not have been permitted to work in the hospital as a doctor anyway.
Aurelia Johnson (Shalita Grant) is a beautiful, stoical "contraband" (runaway slave) who is employed as a laundress at
the hospital. Her "freedom" comes at a price -- she has left her family behind in the hopes of reuniting one day soon.
Surgeon Byron Hale (Norbert Leo Butz) is an old-school Army surgeon. For him, everything must be done by the book, no matter how archaic or inefficient that book might be. He has little patience for medical advances and newfangled ideas about anesthesia or surgical techniques.
Anne Hastings (Tara Summers) is a charming, seductive, well-bred English nurse whose claim to fame is her experience working with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. She constantly lords her apparent expertise
over all the wards, employing a posh accent and putting on airs while leaving the more menial nursing tasks to others.
Frank Stringfellow (Jack Falahee) is a Confederate spy who is betrothed to Emma Green. Unbeknownst to his fiancée, he is on a covert mission to Alexandria disguised as a dental assistant. Dashing, idealistic and reckless, Frank, known in real life as "Lee's own scout," was caught up in the thrill of intrigue and torn about what he loved more -- the Southern cause or Emma.
Nurse Mary Phinney, Baroness Von Olnhausen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an attractive, feisty New Englander in her 30s. She is the recent widow of a German Baron and an ardent abolitionist and feminist rebel who is not afraid of hard work. After nursing her husband throughout his illness, Mary looks for a purpose in her life, for a way to make a difference, and perhaps for a way to deal with the guilt that came from being unable to save him.
Jedidiah Foster (Josh Radnor) is the son of a wealthy Maryland landowner who grew up in a privileged Southern slaveowning household. His passion for medicine has taken him far and wide, to Philadelphia, Paris and London, and brought him in contact with the best medical minds of the time.
Silas Bullen (Wade Williams) is the hospital steward, a scheming, conniving, morally bankrupt man who knows all the inner workings of the hospital and is constantly playing one side against another to his own advantage.
Chief Surgeon Alfred Summers (Peter Gerety) is a career Army surgeon who has risen to the rank of major by virtue of his age, not his skill. He is in no way equipped to run a large organization, and he's continually cranky at the chaos and inefficiency that surrounds him.
"Mercy Street" premieres on WITF TV at 10 p.m. Jan. 17 (following "Downton Abbey") and continues on Sundays through Feb. 21. It will also air at 10 p.m.Thursdays.
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