For the titular character Nurse Mildred Ratched, see: Mildred Ratched.

Ratched is a Netflix original drama series created by Evan Romansky, Ryan Murphy, and Ian Brennan, and starring Sarah Paulson as the titular Mildred Ratched.

Ratched is a prequel to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the subsequent 1975 film adaptation, and follows the younger life of Nurse Ratched, the proto-typical heartless and corrupt psychiatric nurse. Ratched explores what events in Mildred's life preceding the original work led her to become so cold, and the concept that "monsters are made, not born".

Season One premiered on September 18, 2020.


📷 For promotional images and screenshots, see: Ratched (series)/Gallery


From Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, 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.[1]


Main Cast

Recurring Cast


Season One

No. Title Director Writer
01 Pilot Ryan Murphy Evan Romansky
Nurse Mildred Ratched seeks employment at Lucia State Hospital as it prepares to admit a new psychiatric patient: notorious killer Edmund Tolleson.
02 Ice Pick Ryan Murphy Ian Brennan
Dr. Hanover demonstrates a cutting-edge procedure. Ratched visits a survivor of Edmund's massacre and joins Gwendolyn on an outing in Monterey.
03 Angel of Mercy Nelson Cragg Ian Brennan
When a woman from his past puts a price on his head, Hanover reveals a dark secret to Ratched. Nurse Bucket administers a brutal treatment.
04 Angel of Mercy, Part II Michael Uppendahl Evan Romansky
Ratched helps Edmund find an outlet for his urges and ofers her services to Wainwright. Tired of living a lie, Gwendolyn leaves her husband.
05 The Dance Michael Uppendahl Ian Brennan
Promoted to head nurse, Ratched plans a dance at the hospital and invites Gwendolyn to be her companion. Lenore makes Ratched an offer.
06 Got No Strings Jessica Yu Jennifer Salt & Ian Brennan
Loves on the lam seek refuse at an abandoned farmhouse. When Ratched attends a marionette show, traumatic childhood memories come rushing back.
07 The Bucket List Jennifer Lynch Ian Brennan
Rivals put a plan into action as secrets from the past surface, and Hanover takes a risk that pays off for Ratched.
08 Mildred and Edmund Daniel Minahan Ian Brennan & Evan Romansky
& Jennifer Salt
One month later, Ratched fights to save Edmund from the electric chair while dreaming of a new life with Gwendolyn.



Nurse Mildred Ratched originated as a character in Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the subsequent 1975 movie adaptation of the same name by Miloš Forman, where she was portrayed by Louise Fletcher, for which she won the 1975 Academy Award for Best Actress. Nurse Ratched is the main antagonist to protagonist McMurphy, a criminal newly admitted to a mental institution. Nurse Ratched as depicted in Cuckoo's Nest was a cold, heartless tyrant and the prototypical metaphor for the corrupting influence of institutional power and authority.

Ratched is a prequel planned to plot Mildred's origin story over four seasons, spanning from the 40s until it catches up with her character as she appears in Cuckoo's Nest. Co-creator Ryan Murphy says the plan is to explore: "How did she become a Hannibal Lecter figure? What happened to her to make her do that? It’s also a feminist tale because it starts in 1947. It really looks at the birth of a lot of things that were happening in our health care system. The last season of that show will be Sarah (Paulson) facing off against the Jack Nicholson character from the movie. It'll let you understand how she became that person. It'll sort of be Sarah Paulson versus the male villain every year until you get to a worthy adversary. That’s the structure of that show but it has leaps of time forward because I'm interested in looking at health care in the '40s, '50s, '60s and ultimately where it ends up in that last season."[2]


Screenwriter Evan Romansky wrote the pilot spec script for what would become Ratched in the Spring and Summer 2016 while still studying film at Loyola Marymount University. He started on the idea of exploring Nurse Mildred Ratched's backstory while trying to figure out a premise that he could use to show off his screenwriting skills: "I was really just trying to think of some sort of IP that I could reimagine as my own and would have a title that people would recognize and actually want to read." Nurse Ratched appealed to Romansky as someone he could "deconstruct.", telling Vulture: "She didn’t have a backstory — all we knew about her is that she was an army nurse. I wanted to look at why McMurphy threw her off and rattled her. I thought maybe if the worst things in her life happened to her when she did open herself up sexually and emotionally, then that would make sense as to why that would make her vulnerable. In the movie, Nurse Ratched is representative of this authoritarian system and she’s a product of that system. I thought it'd be interesting if we're exploring the idea that she was the product of a different system that is incredibly flawed, the foster-care system."[3]

Due to some fortunate connections, his script made its way to the desk of producer Ryan Murphy, best known for his work on the Glee and American Horror Story series, who was very interested in his premise and picked up the show as a co-creator, along with Murphy's long-time partner Ian Brennan, and the three workshopped the initial pilot script together.[3] On the strength of the script, frequent collaborator actress Sarah Paulson requested to be cast in the lead role of Mildred Ratched.[4] Murphy spent a year securing 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; Douglas became attached to the project as an executive producer. With the rights secured, Murphy pitched the concept to several studios, including Netflix, Hulu and Apple, in what is rumored to have been one of the most hotly contested deals of 2017. Netflix ultimately secured production and distribution rights to the series, and it was announced on September 6, 2017 that the series had been picked up for a two-season, 18-episode, straight-to-series order.[5]

Filming Locations

See: Ratched (series)/Filming Locations


Audience Viewership

Season One of Ratched debuted on September 18th, 2020 as the #1 most watched show on Netflix in over 50 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, and most European countries.[6] For the week of September 14-20 the show ranked 1st in the Nielsen streaming rankings with a viewership of 972 million minutes recorded within the US alone[7]. The show was watched by 48 million viewers within the first 28 days, making it the biggest Netflix season debut of 2020 (surpassed a month later by The Queen's Gambit, which received a viewership of 68 million, Netflix's biggest scripted series debut to date).[8]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref
2021 Critics' Choice
Super Awards
Best Villain in a Series Sarah Paulson Nominated [9]
Finn Wittrock Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series Ratched Pending [10]
Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series - Drama Ratched Nominated [11]
Best Actress - Television Series Drama Sarah Paulson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress - Television Cynthia Nixon Nominated


  1. Netflix Media: Ratched Press Release (SEP 18 2020)
  2. Slash Film: Netflix’s Nurse Ratched Series Will Include Jack Nicholson’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Character (JAN 6 2018)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Vulture: How a 25-Year-Old Film School Grad’s Spec Script Became Ratched (SEP 16 2020)
  4. Collider: Sarah Paulson Talks Playing an Iconic Character in 'Ratched' and the Future of 'AHS' (SEP 20 2020)
  5. Deadline: Ryan Murphy’s Nurse Ratched ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ Origin Series Starring Sarah Paulson Scores Netflix Order; Michael Douglas EPs (SEP 06 2017)
  6. @mrrpmurphy on Instagram: Thank you to the fans who have made #Ratched the most popular program in the world this weekend. It’s really so exciting and appreciated. The global reach of love for Sarah and the cast is really something! (SEP 20 2020)
  7. The Hollywood Reporter: 'Ratched' Debuts at No. 1 in Nielsen Streaming Rankings (OCT 16 2020)
  8. @Netflix on Twitter: 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. (OCT 16 2020)
  9. Critics Choice Association: Critics Choice Association Announces Inaugural “CRITICS CHOICE SUPER AWARDS” Honoring Superhero, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, Action, and Animation Movies and Series (OCT 12 2020)
  10. Deadline: GLAAD Unveils Nominees For 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards (JAN 28 2021)
  11. Deadline: Sarah Paulson On Playing ‘Impeachment’ & ‘Ratched’: Golden Globe Nominations (FEB 03 2021)
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