RATCHED is the Netflix series about the iconic villain, Nurse Ratched, from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This origin story is a Ryan Murphy series with a stellar Sarah Paulson as Mildred Ratched. Read our Ratched season 1 review here!​

RATCHED is the Netflix series by Ryan Murphy. It’s an origin story for the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest villain “Nurse Ratched”. Mildred Ratched is portrayed by Sarah Paulson who delivers a portrayal with such intensity and nuances I never expected. 

This Netflix series is good from the first episode, but it becomes simply phenomenal by the end of season 1.

Continue reading our Ratched season 1 review here. We’ve watched all eight episodes of season 1 for this review.

Ratched: Season 1 – Netflix Review

Sarah Paulson is Mildred Ratched

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Louise Fletcher played the role of “Nurse Ratched”. She did so in a way they earned her a much-deserved Academy Award. Now, with this Netflix series, we’re getting the origin story of the woman who ended up as an iconic villain.

There is a long way from the character you know from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to the woman we see in Ratched. We do see her emerge in moments, but Mildred Ratched still hasn’t become so tainted and jaded as the woman we see in the movie. Despite having already been subjected to the most heinous acts!

Sarah Paulson is simply phenomenal in this role. I can’t even begin to find the words that would do her justice. Her portrayal of Mildred Ratched is often the most subtle changes in her facial expression as much as the words she might say or the action, she often feels forced to take.

Louise Fletcher was Nurse Ratched, Sarah Paulson is Mildred Ratched. A role that should earn her a whole slew of awards if there is any justice.

Though we do see the familiar “Nurse Ratched” at times, when Sarah Paulson portrays the Mildred Ratched character, her biggest wish is to care for those, who need care the most. Admittedly, she is also ready to sacrifice many things (and people) to fulfill this particular goal.

If ever there was a character, who lived by the proverb “The end justifies the means” then Mildred Ratched would be it. Overall, season 1 of Ratched does include a lot of violence, torture, and many deaths. However, Mildred Ratched is far from always responsible for the most brutal acts.

Ratched: Season 1 – Netflix Review

The best supporting characters

As it’s always the case with Ryan Murphy productions, we also get a lot of awesome supporting characters. In general, everything is extremely colorful. From the outfits to the lipstick, the colors seem like they would glow in the dark. And yes, most characters have this exact quality in the personalities as well.

I have to begin with Judy Davis as Head Nurse Betsy Bucket. Honestly, Betsy Bucket is a truly iconic character in her own right. And Judy Davis deserves all the awards for this portrayal.

This character is unlikable and unglamorous while trying desperately to be something she is not. And she is more than enough as she is. Especially the way Betsy Bucket evolves as a character during season 1 was a wonderful and very unexpected surprise.

There’s no Jessica Lange in this Ryan Murphy series, but there is a Sharon Stone who plays a character so completely over-the-top that you can’t help but love her. She’s an extremely wealthy heiress and her son is a total psycho. She tries to help him despite knowing he will never really get better.

love seeing Sharon Stone in a role like this. I both adore and fear this character. Not because she is violent, but because she has all the money in the world and won’t take no for an answer.

Amanda Plummer (Fisher King) plays another intriguing character with lots of quirks. She runs a motel but dresses like she runs a whore house and is in everyone’s business. Also, you should look forward to Sophie Okonedo (Season 2 of Criminal UK, Hotel Rwanda) portraying a woman with Split-qualities in an impressive performance.

Finally, I have to mention Cynthia Nixon (Sex & The City) who almost plays the “straight man”-character in Ratched. Everyone is so over the top that her character stands out for being a lot more laid back and direct.

Watch season 1 of Ratched on Netflix

Ryan Murphy is actually the developer more than the actual creator of Ratched since the creator credit goes to Evan Romansky. However, this is a classic Ryan Murphy production in all the right ways. Essentially, Ratched is as good as American Horror Story at its very best.

To put it very bluntly, Ratched is like a twisted hybrid of American Horror Story: Asylum meets Hollywood. The theme and location of AHS: Asylum but set in the vibrant Hollywood framing. It is a stroke of pure brilliance and while I expected something good, this is beyond anything I could have imagined.

Ryan Murphy himself also directs two out of the eight episodes in season 1. A total of six directors worked on this season. Including Jennifer Lynch who directed Boxing Helena which is definitely relevant to mention. Hint-hint, but no spoilers as to her episode.

Look, just get started with this Netflix series as soon as possible. Each episode is 45 minutes to one hour and is very easy to binge-watch. You don’t want spoilers for this, since it’s much more intense to experience it all first hand.

The plan for Ratched is to make four seasons where the final season will probably take place in the same setting as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If the level of the Ratched season 1 ending continues into season 2, then the sky isn’t even the limit. Somewhere outside the Milky Way is more like it!

Ratched season 1 is out on Netflix from September 18, 2020.


Creators: Evan Romansky, Ryan Murphy
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Jon Jon Briones, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Amanda Plummer, Corey Stoll, Rosanna Arquette, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sophie Okonedo, Charlie Carver


In 1947, Mildred Ratched 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.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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