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Ratched (TV series)

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Created byEvan Romansky
Based onThe character of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Ken Kesey
From the Saul Zaentz Company motion picture with the same title
Developed byRyan Murphy
Opening theme"Danse Macabre, op. 40" by Camille Saint-Saëns
ComposerMac Quayle
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Executive producers
  • Paul Zaentz
  • Todd Nenninger
  • Eric Kovtun
  • Lou Eyrich
  • Eryn Krueger Mekash
  • Sara Stelwagen
  • Tanase Popa
  • Shelly Westerman
  • Peggy Tachdjian
  • Ravi Subramanian
  • Ken Ramos
  • Danielle Wang
Running time45–62 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)

Ratched is an American psychological thriller television series created by Evan Romansky, developed by Ryan Murphy and starring Sarah Paulson in the title role of Nurse Mildred Ratched. A prequel to Miloš Forman's 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (based on Ken Kesey's 1962 novel of the same title), it depicts the life of Mildred Ratched prior to the events portrayed in the film, albeit in a different state (California as opposed to Oregon). Ratched received a two-season series order. The first season premiered on Netflix on September 18, 2020.[1][2] In August 2022, Paulson said she was unsure if the second season was still happening. In February 2024, Ratched was cancelled after one season, with Paulson also confirming the fate of the series.[3][4]


Ratched is a suspenseful drama series that tells the origin story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched. In 1947, Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but the wheels are always turning and as she begins to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred's stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born.

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Sarah Paulson as Mildred Ratched, a nurse who is hired by Dr. Hanover to work at Lucia State Hospital. Secretly, her motive is to break her foster brother Edmund out of the hospital after he is admitted there for killing several priests.
  • Finn Wittrock as Edmund Tolleson, the murderous and mentally unstable foster brother of Ratched, a nurse at Lucia State Hospital.
  • Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, Governor Willburn's press secretary and campaign manager, and Ratched's love interest.
  • Jon Jon Briones as Dr. Richard Hanover/Dr. Manuel Bañaga, the director of Lucia State Hospital who hires Ratched.
  • Charlie Carver as Huck Finnigan, an orderly at Lucia State Hospital, his face badly disfigured from a war injury. He later gets promoted to head nurse after Betsy takes over the hospital from Dr. Hanover.
  • Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket, the head nurse at Lucia State Hospital and a rival of Ratched. She later takes over the hospital from Dr. Hanover after he goes on the run from the police for his past crimes.
  • Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood, a wealthy heiress who hires a hit man to kill Dr. Hanover for disfiguring her son after she hired him to treat her son's mental illness.




No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Pilot"Ryan MurphyEvan RomanskySeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
In 1947, Edmund Tolleson murders four priests, one of whom he claims to be his father. Six months later, he is arrested and sentenced to 120 days in Lucia State Hospital, a mental institution in Northern California. Mildred Ratched steals the position of a nurse in the same hospital through blackmail. While Governor George Wilburn visits the hospital for funding, Ratched pulls a stunt by dosing an old patient with blood pressure reducing medicine. When the patient suffers a cardiogenic shock, Ratched saves him in front of the press and the governor. She then provokes Salvatore, an abandoned patient, to die by suicide in Dr. Hanover's office. Ratched assures Dr. Hanover the concealment of the incident, gaining his trust. When Edmund arrives at the hospital, he and Ratched embrace.
2"Ice Pick"Ryan MurphyIan BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
Dr. Hanover performs a lobotomy on a subject which fails. He then introduces a more convenient procedure involving an ice pick. Ratched visits Father Andrews, a survivor and a witness of Edmund's murders, and convinces him to interview with Dr. Hanover. Gwendolyn Briggs, the governor's campaign manager, takes Ratched to a women's club in Monterey. Ratched is offended by being mistaken for a lesbian and leaves. Father Andrews agrees on interviewing with Dr. Hanover. Ratched takes him to her motel room and records his confession, claiming to do so for Dr. Hanover. She sedates him and, after revealing that Edmund is her brother, performs the ice pick procedure on him. The procedure puts Father Andrews in a state of catatonia.
3"Angel of Mercy"Nelson CraggIan BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
Wainwright, a PI, visits Lenore Osgood with the news that Hanover is an alias for Manuel Bañaga, who was responsible for the mutilation of her son Henry that rendered him limbless. She hires Wainwright to kill Hanover. Hanover develops a new therapy that involves immersing patients in excessively hot water. Ratched learns that Nurse Dolly is having sexual relations with Edmund. Hanover escapes an assassination attempt. Ratched has an interlude in her hotel room with Wainwright; she flashes on images of Gwendolyn during sex. Ratched asks Hanover why he's being hunted, and he explains how he caused Henry's injuries in a botched procedure after being drugged by him. Ratched offers to help him hide.
4"Angel of Mercy: Part Two"Michael UppendahlEvan RomanskySeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
The governor is eager to see Edmund deemed fit for trial due to the upcoming election. Dolly confesses her attraction to dangerous men to Ratched, who offers to arrange a meeting. Hanover is self-medicating with sodium pentothal. Huck Finnigan (a hospital orderly) sabotages the hot tubs to prevent another patient from being abused. Wainwright continues to search for Hanover. Ratched offers to help. They have sex again, and Gwendolyn overhears. Ratched and Finnigan help the two patients whom Hanover had been abusing to escape. Ratched sneaks Wainwright into the hospital. Wainwright makes his way to Hanover's office but Hanover manages to knock him unconscious. Wainwright is locked in to a boiling iron tub by Ratched and Hanover, but manages to break free. He is then killed by the hospital guard. Ratched contacts Osgood to tell her that Wainwright is dead and suggests she come to Lucia herself. Finnigan tells Ratched she's an angel of mercy for helping the two patients escape, causing Ratched to have a flashback to when she euthanized a suffering soldier.
5"The Dance"Michael UppendahlIan BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
Ratched blackmails Hanover to find Edmund not fit for trial, and to make her head nurse. Ratched instructs Edmund to act insane during the upcoming dance. An extremely agitated Charlotte Wells is admitted with multiple personality disorder. Edmund asks Ratched to provide him with a knife for the dance, saying he will cut himself as part of convincing everyone that he's insane. Hanover has a breakthrough with Charlotte, and later weeps from the emotional intensity of the experience. Bucket (the current head nurse), misled by Ratched, pursues a romantic relationship with Hanover. Hanover spots Osgood stalking him and goes to Ratched for help. Ratched meets with Osgood and agrees to kill Hanover. At the dance, Hanover loses his patience and tells Bucket how much he hates her. Edmund murders the guard and escapes with Dolly, who shoots Gwendolyn.
6"Got No Strings"Jessica YuJennifer Salt & Ian BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
Edmund and Dolly hide in an abandoned farmhouse. Gwendolyn regains consciousness in the hospital. Ratched begins to have feelings for Gwendolyn. Ratched flashes back to her horrific childhood while watching a puppet show with Gwendolyn, and causes a scene, later confessing to Gwendolyn that Edmund is her brother. Edmund and Dolly are captured and Dolly tries to shoot it out with the police, but dies in the gunfight. Edmund is returned to the hospital in chains. The governor is furious, and convinces Hanover to certify Edmund fit for trial. He also cuts the hospital funding and fires Gwendolyn.
7"The Bucket List"Jennifer LynchIan BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)
Bucket learns about the relationship between Ratched and Edmund, and how Ratched lobotomized Father Andrews to silence him. She confronts Ratched, who confesses that she was kicked out of the army for euthanizing soldiers. Bucket is sympathetic and agrees that Edmund should not be executed. They meet with a wealthy benefactor and arrange for the continuing support of the hospital and for Hanover to be reported to the police. Ratched helps Hanover escape, along with Charlotte. While hiding in a motel, Charlotte has a psychotic break and kills Hanover. When she recovers, she calls Ratched for help. Ratched helps Charlotte escape, then collects Hanover's head to give to Osgood. Osgood shows the head to Henry, then he has his butler kill her. Ratched tells Gwendolyn she loves her. Gwendolyn tells Ratched that she has terminal cancer. Osgood's will leaves her estate to her pet monkey, and specifies that Henry is to be put in a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life. Bucket takes over as head of the hospital, naming Huck Finnigan as head nurse.
8"Mildred and Edmund"Daniel MinahanIan Brennan & Evan Romansky & Jennifer SaltSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)

Edmund is scheduled for execution by electric chair. Ratched and Gwendolyn appeal to the governor for mercy, to no avail. They meet with Bucket. Ratched suggests a plan wherein she will kill Edmund herself humanely. Charlotte appears at the hospital, believing herself to be Hanover, and swears to save Edmund from execution. She finds a gun in Hanover's desk and becomes aggressive, killing Huck and a guard. She frees Edmund who then takes the guard's gun and forces Bucket to tell him Ratched's plan. He and Charlotte escape, later taking motel owner Louise on as an accomplice.

Three years later, Edmund calls Ratched, having tracked her, Bucket and Gwendolyn to Mexico. He promises to kill her, but Ratched tells him she'll find him first.



On September 6, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for two seasons. Netflix reportedly won a bidding war over Hulu and Apple who also were interested in developing the project. The series was created by Evan Romansky who also wrote the pilot. His script was eventually received by television producer Ryan Murphy, who then spent a year securing the rights to the Nurse Ratched character and the participation of the Saul Zaentz estate and Michael Douglas, who owned the screen rights to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Murphy directed the pilot and executive produced alongside Douglas, Aleen Keshishian, Margaret Riley and Jacob Epstein. Production companies involved in the series included Fox 21 Television Studios, The Saul Zaentz Company, and Ryan Murphy Productions.[2][6] Mac Quayle, who has frequently collaborated with Murphy, composed the series's score.


Alongside the initial series order announcement, it was confirmed that Sarah Paulson had been cast in the lead role of Nurse Ratched.[2] On December 11, 2018, it was reported that Finn Wittrock and Jon Jon Briones had joined the cast of the series.[7] On January 14, 2019, it was announced that Charlie Carver, Judy Davis, Harriet Harris, Cynthia Nixon, Hunter Parrish, Amanda Plummer, Corey Stoll, and Sharon Stone had been cast in the series.[8] In February 2019, it was reported that Rosanna Arquette, Vincent D'Onofrio, Don Cheadle, Alice Englert, Annie Starke, and Stan Van Winkle had been cast in recurring roles.[9][10] On July 29, 2020, it was reported that Sophie Okonedo, Liz Femi, and Brandon Flynn were cast in recurring roles.[11]


Filming took place in early 2019 in Los Angeles and 20th Century Fox Studios.[12] One of the filming locations was the historic Adamson House in Malibu.[13]


The series premiered on September 18, 2020.[1][11]


Audience viewership[edit]

In its first week of release, Ratched was ranked number one in the Nielsen ratings, who announced that the show had been viewed for a total of 972 million minutes.[14] According to Netflix, the series was viewed by 48 million people in its first four weeks.[15]

Critical response[edit]

For the first season, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes collected 96 critic reviews and identified 61% of them as positive, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Ratched is undeniably stylish, but salacious plot holes and cartoonish characterizations undermine its gorgeous production and committed performances."[16] Metacritic assigned the season a weighted average score of 50 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[17]

In a 5/5 stars review, Nicholas Barber from BBC Online wrote, "Ratched ratchets up everything, from the deeply colourful design to the Bernard Herrmann-like music to noir-ish soap-opera plotting that drips with sex and violence. But it isn't pure camp. Romansky's superb scripts keep tight control of the characters and their intertwining stories, and there are some chillingly accurate depictions of brutal 1940s psychiatric treatment. Ratched is also oddly big-hearted for such a gruesome series. The characters are a crowd of villains, with next to no one who could be classed as heroic, but they are all vulnerable, and most of them are motivated by love – even if that love inspires them to hire a hitman to decapitate an old enemy."[18] The Independent's Alexandra Pollard, who rated it 4/5, found the origin story to be "thoughtful and beguiling".[19]

Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a C− and described the series' clothes as "nice, but they're dressing a corpse."[20] Reviewing the series for The Hollywood Reporter, Inkoo Kang wrote that, "The performances are across-the-board fantastic, but Nixon—playing Ratched's love interest—exhibits such frailty, sensuality and decency that her turn ultimately ends up feeling like it belongs in a much better production."[21] TVLine wrote that the series "might be [Ryan Murphy's] emptiest effort yet", giving it a D.[22]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Villain in a Series Sarah Paulson Nominated [23]
Finn Wittrock Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series Ratched Nominated [24]
Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Nominated [25]
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Sarah Paulson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Television Cynthia Nixon Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama Sarah Paulson Nominated [26]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Television Series, Limited or Miniseries or New Media Series – Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Michelle Ceglia and Dawn Victoria Dudley Nominated [27]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Sophie Okonedo (for "The Dance") Nominated [28]
Outstanding Period Costumes Lou Eyrich, Rebecca Guzzi, Allison Agler and Betsy Glick (for "Pilot") Nominated
Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Dawn Victoria Dudley, Michelle Ceglia, George Guzman and Helena Cepeda (for "The Dance") Nominated
Outstanding Period and/or Character Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) Eryn Krueger Mekash, Kim Ayers, Mike Mekash and Silvina Knight (for "Pilot") Nominated


  1. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (July 29, 2020). "Ratched: Sarah Paulson Channels Iconic Cuckoo's Nest Villainess in Netflix Prequel Series — First Look". TVLine. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (September 6, 2017). "Ryan Murphy's Nurse Ratched 'Cuckoo's Nest' Origin Series Starring Sarah Paulson Scores Netflix Order; Michael Douglas EPs". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Sarah Paulson Isn't Sure of Her 'American Horror Story' or 'American Crime Story' Future". Variety. August 2, 2022. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  4. ^ Franken, Claire (February 4, 2024). "Ratched Not Returning to Netflix for Season 2, Sarah Paulson Says — Watch". TVLine. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  5. ^ "Ratched". Netflix Media Center. Archived from the original on November 23, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  6. ^ Chow, Andrew R. (September 7, 2017). "A Nurse Ratched Origin Story Comes to Netflix". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Sneider, Jeff (December 11, 2018). "Exclusive: 'Versace' Stars Finn Wittrock, Jon Jon Briones Join Ryan Murphy's 'Ratched'". Collider. Archived from the original on December 12, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  8. ^ Swift, Andy (January 14, 2019). "Ratched: Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Finn Wittrock and More Join the Cast of Ryan Murphy's Cuckoo's Nest Prequel". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (February 4, 2019). "Rosanna Arquette To Recur On Ryan Murphy's 'Ratched' Series On Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  10. ^ Murphy, Charles (February 8, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Vincent D'Onofrio, 3 Others Joins Ensemble Cast of Netflix's 'RATCHED'". That Hashtag Show. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Miller, Julie (July 29, 2020). "Ratched First Look: Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson's Ode to an Iconic Villain". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  12. ^ Steves, Ashley (April 1, 2019). "L.A. What's Filming: New Ryan Murphy Netflix Series 'Ratched'". Backstage.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Blake, Lindsay (September 29, 2020). "On 'Ratched,' Sarah Paulson Checks into the Adamson House, One of Malibu's First Homes". Variety.com. Archived from the original on September 1, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  14. ^ Porter, Rick (October 16, 2020). "'Ratched' Debuts at No. 1 in Nielsen Streaming Rankings". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Netflix [@netflix] (October 16, 2020). "In its first 28 days, 48 million members have booked an appointment with Nurse Ratched, making it our biggest original Season 1 of the year" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 20, 2020 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "Ratched: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "Ratched: Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Barber, Nicholas. "Ratched: Five stars for blackly comic melodrama". BBC.com. BBC News. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Pollard, Alexandra (September 18, 2020). "Ratched is a thoughtful and beguiling origin story for a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest icon – review". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 16, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021 – via independent.co.uk.
  20. ^ Franich, Darren (September 14, 2020). "Ratched ratchets up the crazy and goes off the deep end: Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  21. ^ Kang, Inkoo (September 14, 2020). "'Ratched': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Nemetz, Dave (September 14, 2020). "Ratched Review: Netflix's Gory Melodrama Is Too Cuckoo to Endure". TVLine.com. Archived from the original on September 19, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  23. ^ "Critics Choice Association Announces Inaugural "Critics Choice Super Awards" Honoring Superhero, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, Action, and Animation Movies and Series". Critics Choice Association. October 12, 2020. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  24. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 28, 2021). "GLAAD Unveils Nominees For 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards; Deadline's New Hollywood Podcast Honored With Special Recognition Award". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 3, 2021). "Sarah Paulson On Finding The Humanity In Linda Tripp For 'Impeachment' & "The Stillness" For Nurse Mildred In 'Ratched' – Golden Globe Reaction". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  26. ^ "Ted Lasso, The Handmaid's Tale, and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist lead Inaugural HCA TV Awards Nominations – Hollywood Critics Association". Archived from the original on July 11, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  27. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 18, 2021). "'Bill & Ted Face the Music' Leads Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  28. ^ "Ratched". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.

External links[edit]