Dr. Jed Foster

Dr. Jed Foster

Civilian Contract Surgeon Jedediah Foster, son of a wealthy Maryland landowner, grew up in a privileged slave-owning household. (Maryland was a “border state” during the war, a slave state that did not secede from the Union.) His passion for medicine has taken him far and wide, to Philadelphia and Paris, where he’s studied with the best minds in the profession.

TinType-Josh.jpg His patients’ welfare is paramount; so, too, is reforming the worst abuses in the army’s medical department—a mission that frequently lands him in trouble, especially with his immediate superior, Dr. Byron Hale, a by-the-book career army doctor. When Foster isn’t bristling against archaic army regulations, he is searching for ways to advance medical science, sometimes at the expense of his own health. Although Foster is initially skeptical of the new head nurse, and dismisses Mary’s abolitionist politics, he soon comes to rely on her help and support. They form an attachment that will take both by surprise. For the unhappily married Dr. Foster, it also presents a dilemma.

Josh on Jedediah:

I think he has a legitimate passion for research and for helping people. He feels like he is on the brink of breakthroughs, like he can smell a medical revolution coming and he wants to be at the forefront of it.

He has a kind of stereotypical surgeon’s coldness, but there is this warmth that starts to come through him. I think the war humanizes him and softens him up a bit. His counterpart, Dr. Hale, doesn’t want us to be treating Confederate soldiers, and Foster is of the opinion that everyone should be treated equally. As he says, “Blood is not gray or blue.” He believes there is only one kind of patient — a sick patient. So beneath the bluster, there is a great humanist and someone who really does take his oath very seriously.

Actor bio

Josh Radnor starred on CBS's Emmy-nominated comedy "How I Met Your Mother" which ended its nine-season run in March 2014. He has written, directed and starred in two feature films, Liberal Arts and "Happythankyoumoreplease," both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the latter winning the 2010 Audience Award for Favorite U.S. Drama. He was last seen on Broadway in "Disgraced," the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Ayad Akhtar which received a 2015 Tony nomination for Best Play. He resides in Los Angeles.

Mercy Street’s Josh Radnor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead talk about their characters.
Mary Phinney

Mary Phinney

Mary arrives at Mansion House Hospital as the new head nurse (despite having very little nursing experience) and the directive of creating order out of chaos.

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