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Who is Nurse Ratched? All you need to know about character from new Netflix series

Who is Nurse Ratched? All you need to know about character from new Netflix series
Sarah Paulson will star on the upcoming series Ratched. Pic credit: Netflix

Nurse Ratched is one of the most hated villains in movie history and she is now getting a Netflix drama series based on her past.

With Ryan Murphy creating Ratched, starring Sarah Paulson in the lead role, here is everything you need to know about Nurse Ratched.

Who is Nurse Ratched?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the seminal novels in American history.

Written by author Ken Kesey, the novel was published in 1962 and Time included it as one of the 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923-2005.

The story is about a small-time criminal named Randle McMurphy, who faked insanity so he could serve time in a mental institution rather than a prison farm for battery and gambling charges.

While there, he meets the nurse in charge of the center, Nurse Mildred Ratched, a woman who rules with an iron fist and no leniency at all. She has absolute authority and no oversight.

McMurphy antagonizes her to no end, at one point causing a small rebellion of patients. This was after one patient ends up taking his own life because of the harsh treatment by Nurse Ratched and McMurphy physically attacks her.

Nurse Ratched decides McMurphy is beyond help and has him lobotomized. The story is told from the point-of-view of another patient named Chief, who eventually smothers McMurphy in a mercy killing before escaping the facility.

The book was written during the American Civil Rights Movement, where changes were made to how psychology and psychiatry were approached in America.

The book picked up increased interest when Milos Forman directed a movie based on it in 1975, a film that was Jack Nicholson’s breakout role, as he played McMurphy.

Nurse Ratched
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Pic credit: United Artists

Louise Fletcher portrayed Nurse Ratched in the film and both Fletcher and Nicholson picked up Oscars for their performances, as did director Forman for directing, and the movie for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

Fans of Once Upon a Time also met Nurse Ratched as she was a nurse in the Storybrooke Sanitarium, working for the Evil Queen. Ingrid Torrance played her on this TV show.

Ratched on Netflix

Now, Netflix fans will get to see why Nurse Mildred Ratched became such a damaged individual.

Sarah Paulson, who appeared in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, will take on the role, and she said that she hated Nurse Ratched until reading her backstory and now has a better understanding.

“I feel like Nurse Ratched is sort of a shorthand for barbarism. She became almost like a catchphrase for any sort of institutional abuse of power,” Murphy said. “When people think of Ratched, they think of her as shutoff and cruel and uncaring.”

He went on to say that his goal with his new series is to show that “abusers are people who have been abused.”

Ratched’s first season opens in 1947 with Mildred as a nurse seeking employment at a Northern California psychiatric hospital where disturbing experiments on the human mind are conducted.

Ratched premieres on Netflix as an original series on September 18.


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