Ratched season 2: Everything we know so far

Ratched season 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

The psychotic nurse will see you now ... for Ratched season 2. Netflix's horror thriller will return to delve further into the insane world of Nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson). 

Ratched season 2 is definitely happening, since the Ryan Murphy-produced show started out by receiving a two season order from Netflix. The first season introduced the younger version of the iconic character from the 1975 classic film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Season 2 will continue telling the story until the timeline matches the movie.

The prequel series comes from co-creators Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky and begins with Mildred getting a nursing job at Lucia State Hospital, a leading psychiatric institution, where new and unsettling experiments are done on the human mind. 

Mildred presents a stylish, buttoned-up exterior that hides a growing darkness within. During season 1, Mildred is revealed to be the foster sister of serial killer Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock), who is being treated at the hospital. 

Meanwhile, California governor George Wilburn (Vincent D'Onofrio) funds the controversial experiments, hoping the project helps him get re-elected. 

Here's everything we know about Ratched season 2 so far.

Ratched season 2 release date speculation

Netflix has not announced a release date for Ratched season 2 yet. 

With the pandemic continuing to delay some film and television productions, it's unclear when filming on season 2 will begin. Last September, Paulson told Variety she is "going back to work soon, not on Ratched." That project was probably the new season of American Horror Story.

Both shows are Murphy creations, as well, which means the super-producer could be busy for quite awhile.

"Nobody knows anything about season 2 because Ryan, with the number of things he has going on," Paulson said, "Who’s to know when when that’s all going to begin, and you throw in the pandemic and then we think well who knows?" 

It seems likely that Ratched season 2 won't film until fall or winter 2021, or even possibly spring 2022. If that's the case, it may not be released on Netflix until late 2022.

Ratched cast

While the Ratched season 2 cast list is unconfirmed, it's safe to say that Sarah Paulson will be back as the title character, Nurse Mildred Ratched.

The other cast members expected to return for season 2 are:

  • Finn Wittrock as Edmund Tolleson, a serial killer inmate at Lucia State Hospital and foster brother to Mildred
  • Vincent D'Onofrio as Governor George Willburn, the governor of California
  • Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, Governor Willburn's press secretary and campaign manager, and Mildred's love interest
  • Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket, Head Nurse at Lucia State Hospital
  • Sophie Okonedo as Charlotte Wells, a patient with dissociative identity disorder
  • Amanda Plummer as Louise, a motel manager
  • Brandon Flynn as Henry Osgood, a psychotic killer

There are several notable Ratched cast members who won't be returning for season 2, since their characters are dead. It's possible, though, that they could show up in a flashback, dream or vision:

  • Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood, a wealthy heiress and Henry's mother
  • Jon Jon Briones as Dr. Richard Hanover / Dr. Manuel Bañaga, the director of Lucia State Hospital
  • Corey Stoll as Charles Wainwright, a hit man hired by Lenore Osgood to kill Dr. Hanover
  • Alice Englert as Nurse Dolly, a nurse trainee and Edmund's love interest
  • Charlie Carver as Huck Finnigan, an orderly whose face is disfigured from the war
  • Jermaine Williams as Harold, a security guard

Ratched season 2 plot and spoilers

While very little is known about the exact plot details of Ratched season 2, we can make some guesses based on the ending of season 1.

In the finale, Edmund escaped Lucia State Hospital with the help of fellow patient Charlotte and motel manager Louise. Meanwhile, Mildred has moved to Mexico to start over with her love Gwendolyn (who has been diagnosed from lung cancer).

Then, after a two-year time jump, Edmund called Mildred. Believing that she had previously planned to kill him, he tells her he's found her new hideout and he's going to kill her and Gwendolyn. Mildred's response: Not if she kills him first.

The overall idea for Ratched is to get closer to the time of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

"We’re definitely doing a second season, but if we were to go on, the plan would be to do about four seasons," Paulson explained to Elle.com. "And in the fourth season, we end up in the Cuckoo's Nest era. But I don't believe we will ever find ourselves in the hospital [from the movie], unless it's pre McMurphy being admitted, unless it's pre all those patients being there. Unless you want to see computer-generated Danny DeVitos and Jack Nicholsons acting with me, which, I don’t know that that’s the way to do it."

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.