The American Civil War was the greatest period of internal strife in our nation’s history: North against South, brother versus brother. But there were places where the barriers blurred a little bit. PBS’ new Civil War miniseries Mercy Street focuses on one such place: Alexandria, Virginia, a Southern town occupied by Union forces in 1862.
The series focuses on the homefront of the Civil War, as various civilians in Alexandria, from Northern abolitionist Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to Southern belle Emma Green (Hannah James) get caught up in the war’s conflict and intrigue. The majority of the action revolves around Mansion House Hospital, where both Mary and Emma have volunteered as nurses. Other members of the extensive cast include How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor as plantation-raised civilian surgeon Dr. Jedediah Foster and Veep veteran Gary Cole as Emma’s father James Green Sr., a Southern patriarch who nonetheless appears in this exclusive new trailer warning against extremism. Watch the full trailer above.
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Mercy Street will debut Jan. 17 and air at 10 p.m. This time slot will follow the final season of Downton Abbey, with hopes that Mercy Street can sate viewers’ appetite for more juicy historical drama. The creators made sure to keep the historical grounding solid. Consultants included James M. McPherson (author of the comprehensive Civil War history Battle Cry of Freedom) and medical history experts like Dr. Stanley Burns, who has also consulted on Cinemax’s The Knick.