Nurse Jackie exec producer Clyde Phillips intended to have the show’s fictional All Saints Hospital in Manhattan burn down in the series’ upcoming series finale, but he changed his mind.

Asked if he was a believer in happy endings, Phillips responded: “No, I’m not. I’m a believer in authentic endings, and I think the end is as authentic as can be and will be really satisfying to viewers.” He declined to elaborate.

Had the series been renewed for another year, “We could have delivered a terrific year,” Phillips said. Showtime called early on in production on Season 7 to tell them it would be the last, he recalled, and “it made sense” because the show had had its drug-addict nurse Jackie, played by Edie Falco, blast her “shrapnel” on colleagues and friends “in about as many ways as we could.” He assured TV critics the show was “ending in a graceful and authentic way this year.”

Nurse Jackie TCAPhillips joined Showtime’s Nurse Jackie after working many seasons on the network’s Dexter. There “definitely was a learning curve, and I made some mistakes along the way and made some really good decisions along the way,” he said. Turned out Dexter and Jackie were “not all that dissimilar” —  both kept “deep, dark secrets” from those closest to them and did unarguably terrible things to people closest to them, and yet those people continued to love them.

Falco said it wasn’t until Season 4 of Nurse Jackie that people stopped shouting “Carmella!” — her character’s name The Sopranos — when they’d see her on the street and started shouting “Jackie!” Her reaction?  “OK, they could imagine me playing someone else; that’s a good thing.” Nurse Jackie survived a major behind-the-scenes shakeup after Season 4, when co-creators/showrunners Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius left. Phillips has been at the helm since.

Showtime announced in September its hospital dramedy is ending with its coming season. The network ordered Season 7 last March; it’s the premium cable net’s longest-running current comedy and among it highest-rated. Falco won an Emmy in 2010 for her title role as Jackie Peyton, making her the only woman to win lead acting Emmys for a comedy and drama, following her three wins for HBO’s The Sopranos. Multiple Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) will guest on the coming season as Bernard Prince, a new ER doctor who has a great bedside manner, a special touch with the boss and offers Jackie something she desperately needs: a friend.