Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?

It appears that at least in some EMS circles, the premiere of the new A&E series called ‘Nightwatch’ on Thursday (1/22) was a highly anticipated event. I don’t know if it was just a coincidence that it was also the opening day of the NAEMSP conference held this year in New Orleans, where the EMS-themed reality show was filmed, but I am sure that viewing the first episode at Manning’s restaurant with the NOLA EMS crew must have been quite a party. For me, it was a quiet night of watching the show along with the simultaneous #Nightwatch Twitter stream for live commentary from my fellow medics.Nightwatch-respond-to-call

Overall, everyone seemed to be very impressed and pleased with the portrayal of EMTs and Paramedics (with some almost “cameo-like appearances” by NOLA firefighters and police.) I felt the realism was refreshing especially when compared to the stylized public safety shows like the drama of Chicago Fire or the satire of Sirens, in fact, it was much closer to the seminal classic of Emergency! than I would have expected. The incidents were definitely real, clearly they were “cherry-picked” to find interesting moments, but absolutely no doubt that we were witnessing actual history in that town. There were the edited interview commentaries interspersed with the action reminiscent of The Office cast “breaking the fourth wall.” However, there were also a few things missing. Not a single hairy, sweaty chest that needed a 12-lead; no non-emergency transports; no lift assistance; and only a single call for EtOH. It is rare in my rural EMS experience to see a GSW, let alone multiple shots and even multiple victims over the single shift, but we are talking about the “Big Easy” here, not my hometown.

While I was pleased with the general realism as a accurate portrayal of our profession to the public, I did notice the almost non-stop use of lights and sirens. While Code 3 responses make the best television, it also feeds the impression that we are all adrenaline junkies that like to drive fast and “We do everything an emergency room can do,” as Holly the paramedic tells the camera, “but we do it at 70 miles an hour riding through the streets of New Orleans.” Hardly the stuff of “community paramedicine.”

I look forward to future episodes, perhaps they will find a creative and exciting way to communicate the value of SSM posting. I’ll be watching for it!



  • Rob says:

    Just speaking from experience living and working here in New Orleans, New Orleans EMS runs code 3 to and from most calls because of the high call volume in the city. So As far as that service, they in fact do run emergency traffic everywhere, they do not do non emergency calls since they are the 911 provider. As far as the rest of the observations, this is just the first episode…i’m sure there is more to see…

  • Kylee says:

    I kept in mind that it was a season premier. I am cautiously optimistic that they’ll continue the realism and maybe they will be and be to interspersed those calls in there over time.

  • Theaudric Davis says:

    Brace yourself

  • keeley says:

    My last 12hr shift i worked 2 codes and a gsw so it happens at NOEMS more often then people realize and again every city is different unfortunately we see GSWs almost on a daily basis. ..enjoy the season NIGHTWATCH 🚑🚑🚑

  • Steven says:

    As a brother to one of the medics in the show, and also a fellow paramedic in new orleans, I can’t stress enough that the fact that they only displayed one ETOH call is perfect to me. As you said, “this is the big easy” we run a cast majority of drunk calls, so many that they could easily overrun the show and make it seem repetitive and boring. I’m intrigued to see where the show goes from here. Stay safe guys.

  • Sean Cerny says:

    We run lights and sirens mandatory to most calls. There’s a lot of non emergent calls as well and ALOT of etoh calls. Also on every shift almost there is a GSW somewhere if not multiple. It’s a high volume service. The tv aspect Is certainly there but I think they did a good job.

  • Rob Lawrence says:

    i hope someone got patient consents. Did the GSW victim sign the forms? Hate to wake and anger the HIPPO monster!

  • JMatt says:

    This is so over dramatic.They Give EMS workers super powers and give them a Medical degree.They are not even nurses. They perform a hard job with some skill but cardiac message and opening up chests and make shift surgery ,inflating the lungs!! Come on!!! The comments by the EMS workers are very AWKWARD. ” WE CAN DO ANYTHING AN ER CAN DO” WE NEVER LOOSE A PATIENT IN THE RIG THEY DIE AT THE HOSPITAL” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

  • EJS says:

    What they said is pretty much true. Medics do the majority of things the er will do. I do ems and lots of time in an er. The er for about 90% of pts er will do the same stuff ems will do except just having a doctor tell the pt they are healthy. Yes nurses sit through more years of college but if my family of I have an Emergency I want a medic on scene not a nurse. And legally even if a pts goes from living to being dead in ambulance IT IS ALWAYS DOMCUMTED THAT THE PT. DIED AT THE ER cause once the transport is initiated the body has to be brought to the er were the
    Pt will have CPR then be declared dead at the hospital. So the pt always dies on scene or at the hospital.

  • Sally S says:

    I really, really, really like this show NIGHT WATCH—I sooooo hope you bring it back for another season—–PLEAS! PLEASE! PLEASE!

  • Elizabeth Nicholas says:

    Some of the EMTs on the show also have a nursing degree. Dan Flynn also works as an ER nurse, I believe.

  • Marcelo Bahl says:

    Hello, work in the EMS system in Brazil and whenever I can, I watch the episodes that leave recording to watch later, you show the reality of day-to-day of your city, which is very good and has no censorship as the shocking images that we see every day, because here everything is censored.
    One more question, how could I get a Hat of you like this that is pictured above.
    Keep running this excellent work and God Bless always

  • Bo says:

    Its freakin AWSOME

  • Collins says:

    Can someone please tell me what type of ANSI jacket the driver is wearing in that picture? I have been looking all over and cannot find that style jacket

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