By Ken Tucker
Updated August 18, 2009 at 02:01 PM EDT

How sorry I will be when Nurse Jackie wraps up its season on Showtime next week. Last night’s episode continued the upward trajectory of an already-excellent new series. Edie Falco’s Jackie is one of the most vivid characters on television, and already I feel nostalgic for various moments: Jackie’s anger at the school meeting she’s forced to attend about daughter Grace’s anxiety; the filling-in of a bit Coop’s character when we learned his parents are two women (brava, Swoosie Kurtz and Blythe Danner) and that he’s a sensitive heel with women he comes on to; the ache in Eddie’s face when he first spies Jackie’s family; and the constant delight of rookie nurse Zoey.

Last night, Victor Garber’s movie-critic patient was crisply crusty. Overall, Edie Falco is giving a magnificently self-effacing performance, tough yet controlled. She’s an all-knowing, all-wise nurse, but at a time when every cable-TV hero must have those pesky “flaws,” Nurse Jackie never makes moral judgments about the way Jackie oversees her private or her professional life — the show credits us with enough interest in ambiguity to draw our own conclusions.

Next week’s finale will leave me wanting a second season of Nurse Jackie as soon as possible.

How about you?