Ratched (TV series)

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Ratched (TV series) Title Card.png
Created byEvan Romansky
Based onthe character of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Ken Kesey and from the Saul Zaentz Company motion picture with the same title.
Developed byRyan Murphy
Opening theme"Danse Macabre, Op. 40" by Camille Saint-Saëns
Composer(s)Mac Quayle
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Executive producer(s)
  • 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 company(s)
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatWidescreen
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18) –
present (present)

Ratched is an American psychological thriller drama web television series about the character of the same name from Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Created by Evan Romansky and developed by Ryan Murphy, the series stars Sarah Paulson in the title role and serves as a prequel to the novel. It premiered on Netflix on September 18, 2020.[1]


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 Nurse Mildred Ratched
  • Finn Wittrock as Edmund Tolleson, the murderous and mentally unstable brother of Ratched, an inmate 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
  • Charlie Carver as Huck Finnigan, an orderly at Lucia State Hospital, his face is badly disfigured from fighting in the War
  • Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket, Head Nurse at Lucia State Hospital and a rival of Ratched's
  • Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood, a wealthy heiress who hires a hit man




No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateProd.
1"Pilot"Ryan MurphyEvan RomanskySeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)1MBD01
In 1947, Edmund Tolleson murders four priests, one of which he claims to be his father. Six months later, he is arrested and sentenced for 120 days to Lucia State Hospital, a mental institute in Northern California. Mildred Ratched steals the position of a nurse in the same hospital through blackmail. While Governor George Willburn 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 commit 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)1MBD02
Dr. Hanover performs lobotomy on a subject which results in failure. 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 on interviewing with Dr. Hanover. Gwendolyn Briggs, the governor's campaign manager, takes Ratched to a women's club in Monterey. Ratched is offended being taken as 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 before revealing that Edmund is her brother, she 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)1MBD03
Wainwright, a PI, visits Lenore Osgood with the news that Hanover is an alias for Bañaga, who was responsible for the mutilation of her son Henry. She hires Wainwright to kill Hanover. Hanover develops a new therapy which 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 Wainright; 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 Henry. Ratched offers to help him hide.
4"Angel of Mercy: Part Two"Michael UppendahlEvan RomanskySeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)1MBD04
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 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 escape who Hanover had been abusing. Ratched sneaks Wainwright into the hospital. Wainwright makes his way to Hanover's office but Hanover manages to knock him unconscious. Wainwright is killed by the hospital guard while escaping. Ratched contacts Osgood to tell her that Wainwright is dead and suggest 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)1MBD05
Ratched blackmails Hanover to not find Edmund 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, 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 patience and tells Bucket how much he hates her. Edmund murders the guard and escapes with Dolly. Dolly shoots Gwendolyn.
6"Got No Strings"Jessica YuJennifer Salt & Ian BrennanSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)1MBD06
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. Ratched confesses to Gwendolyn that Edmund is her brother. Edmund and Dolly are captured but Dolly tries to shoot it out with the police, dying 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)1MBD07
Bucket learns about the relationship between Ratched and Edmund, and that Ratched lobotimized Father Andrews in episode 2. She confronts Ratched, who confesses that she was kicked out of the army for euthenizing 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, who then kills 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 Finnigan as head nurse.
8"Mildred and Edmund"Daniel MinahanIan Brennan & Evan Romansky & Jennifer SaltSeptember 18, 2020 (2020-09-18)1MBD08
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 Edmond from execution. She finds a gun in Hanover's desk and becomes aggressive, killing Finnigan 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. Two years later, he phones Ratched, having tracked her to Mexico, and promising to kill her.



On September 6, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for two seasons consisting of nine episodes apiece. 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.[3][4] Mac Quayle, who has frequently collaborated with Murphy, composed the series' score.[5]


Alongside the initial series order announcement, it was confirmed that Sarah Paulson had been cast in the lead role of Nurse Ratched.[3] On December 11, 2018, it was reported that Finn Wittrock and Jon Jon Briones had joined the cast of the series.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8][9] On July 29, 2020, it was reported that Sophie Okonedo, Liz Femi, and Brandon Flynn were cast in recurring roles.[10]


Filming for the first season took place in early 2019 in Los Angeles.[11]


The series premiered on September 18, 2020.[1][10] The series' official trailer was released on August 4, 2020.[12]


For the series, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes collected 64 critic reviews and identified 59% of them as positive, with an average rating of 6.33/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Ratched is undeniably stylish, but salacious plot holes and cartoonish characterizations undermine its gorgeous production and committed performances."[13] Metacritic assigned the series a weighted average score of 51 out of 100 based on reviews from 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]

In a 5/5 stars review, Nicholas Barber from BBC.com 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."[15] The Independent's Alexandra Pollard, who rated it 4/5, found the origin story to be "thoughtful and beguiling".[16]

Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a C− and described the series' clothes as "nice, but they're dressing a corpse."[17] Reviewing the series for The Hollywood Reporter, Inkoo Kang wrote that, "The performances are across-the-board fantastic, but Nixon—playing Mildred's love interest—exhibits such frailty, sensuality and decency that her turn ultimately ends up feeling like it belongs in a much better production."[18] TVLine wrote that the series "might be [Ryan Murphy's] emptiest effort yet", giving it a D.[19] Prathyush Parasuraman, a film reviewer from Film Companion says, "With 8 parts, each 50-minute episode contains within its extravagant production, devastating boredom."[20]


  1. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (July 29, 2020). "Ratched: Sarah Paulson Channels Iconic Cuckoo's Nest Villainess in Netflix Prequel Series — First Look". TVLine. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ratched". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b 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. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Chow, Andrew R. (September 7, 2017). "A Nurse Ratched Origin Story Comes to Netflix". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Poulter, Amy (October 17, 2019). "From Hampton Roads to Hollywood: How Mac Quayle became the man responsible for TV's eeriest soundtracks". The Virginian-Pilot. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Sneider, Jeff (December 11, 2018). "Exclusive: 'Versace' Stars Finn Wittrock, Jon Jon Briones Join Ryan Murphy's 'Ratched'". Collider. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  7. ^ 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. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (February 4, 2019). "Rosanna Arquette To Recur On Ryan Murphy's 'Ratched' Series On Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  9. ^ Murphy, Charles (February 8, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Vincent D'Onofrio, 3 Others Joins Ensemble Cast of Netflix's 'RATCHED'". That Hashtag Show. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Miller, Julie (July 29, 2020). "Ratched First Look: Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson's Ode to an Iconic Villain". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  11. ^ Steves, Ashley (April 1, 2019). "L.A. What's Filming: New Ryan Murphy Netflix Series 'Ratched'". Backstage. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Swift, Andy (August 4, 2020). "Ratched Trailer: Sarah Paulson Embodies Iconic Cuckoo's Nest Villain in Netflix Prequel Series — Watch". TVLine. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ratched: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  14. ^ "Ratched: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  15. ^ Barber, Nicholas. "Ratched: Five stars for blackly comic melodrama". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  16. ^ "Ratched is a thoughtful and beguiling origin story for a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest icon – review". The Independent. 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  17. ^ Franich, Darren (September 14, 2020). "Ratched ratchets up the crazy and goes off the deep end: Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  18. ^ Kang, Inkoo (September 14, 2020). "'Ratched': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  19. ^ Nemetz, Dave (2020-09-14). "Ratched Review: Netflix's Gory Melodrama Is Too Cuckoo to Endure". TVLine. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  20. ^ "Ratched On Netflix Review: Headlined by Sarah Paulson, This Is Quite Possibly Ryan Murphy's Worst Series". FilmCompanion. 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.

External links[edit]