TCA: ‘Mercy Street’ Offers ‘Context to Conversation’ Around Confederacy

Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Summer Press Tour

Beverly Hills, Calif. — With the recent conversation around the Confederate flag and the ideals it represents, creators of PBS' Civil War-era drama Mercy Street said the series is coming at an important moment.

“The show is even more timely and useful now because we’ve approached it from a historical perspective,” said David Zabel, cocreator and writer, Saturday during TCA 2015 Summer Press Tour.

Cocreator Lisa Wolfinger added, “We do offer context to the conversation that is going on.”

Mercy Street, which looks at a hotel-turned-hospital in Alexandria, Vir., doesn’t take sides.

“This story is neither a Southern story nor a Northern story,” said Zabel. “It’s really an American story.”

Mercy Street will premiere Jan. 17 alongside Downton Abbey.

Other highlights from the panel included:

How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor talked about what he wanted in his next role. “I wanted to do something where I could have an unironic mustache.” In Mercy Street his character actually has a beard.

—The creatives started working on the series in the lead up to the sesquicentennial.

Mercy Street is not just a hospital drama. It’s also about family. Wolfinger said because of that it’s very different from Cinemax’s The Knick. Zabel added it has humor and romance, “It’s not a dark medical show.”

—Fun fact: Sideburns are named after Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, who was known for his amazing facial hair.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is content engagement director of Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV. She has been with the brands in various roles since 2013. In her current role, she works primarily behind the screen, keeping an eye on the website and fixing any site bugs. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects for NextTV, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.