Combining the extraordinary talents of best-selling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) with Peabody, Humanitas and Emmy-winning producer John Wells (The West Wing, China Beach), Emmy nominee Jack Orman (JAG) and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, the multiple Emmy Award-winning ER provocatively explores the chaos of an urban, public hospital emergency room and the lives of its devoted doctors and staff.
When the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions, only one thing endures - the power and passion of these dedicated medical professionals in the ER.
01 - Chaos Theory
For the emergency room personnel and doctors of Chicago's County General Hospital, the difference between life and death often depends on split-second decisions. The staff of heroic healers includes Chief Resident John Carter (series star NOAH WYLE), Chief of Emergency Medicine Kerry Weaver (series star LAURA INNES), Dr. Elizabeth Corday (series star ALEX KINGSTON), Dr. Robert Romano (series star PAUL McCRANE), Attending Physician Dr. Luka Kovac (series star GORAN VISNJIC), nurse Abby Lockhart (series star MAURA TIERNEY), Dr. Susan Lewis (series star SHERRY STRINGFIELD), Attending Physician Dr. Jing-Mei Chen (series star MING-NA), fourth-year medical student Michael Gallant (series star SHARIF ATKINS) and intern Dr. Gregory Pratt (series star MEKHI PHIFER).
The hospital remains in lockdown while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention probes a mysterious and deadly illness that requires Carter, Abby and others to be quarantined. Left alone, Lewis fights to save a patient. Carter and Abby discuss their future together as they idle away several days in quarantine with Chen and Pratt, along with chronic patient Stan the Can (recurring guest star HARRISON PAGE). Meanwhile, newly widowed Corday returns to her native London and struggles to adapt to a new medical practice and decide what to do with her life. She is tended to by her parents, Dr. Charles (recurring guest star PAUL FREEMAN) and Isabelle (recurring guest star JUDY PARFITT) Corday.
02 - Dead Again
Chaos takes over the emergency room when another hospital is shut down, overloading County General with patients. Corday makes an emotional return for the first time since her husband's death and clashes with the overstressed Weaver. Aggressive Pratt enrages his colleagues when he bypasses authority and resuscitates a heart attack victim who had been pronounced dead. The patient lives but is severely brain damaged. Meanwhile, Carter and Abby hardly attempt to conceal their growing romantic attraction to each other. Gallant gets a surprising education when he works a shift in the psychiatric unit. And Romano confronts a daunting new challenge.
03 - Insurrection
After an enraged drug addict points a gun at Chen and other staff members, the exasperated Carter leads a divisive walkout. He is frustrated that his request for metal detectors has been delayed, endangering lives. Meanwhile, Lewis counsels an exhausted elderly woman, Mrs. Berk (SHIRLEY KNIGHT - "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"), whose adult son is dying from Huntington's Disease, the same affliction that killed Mrs. Berk's husband. Pratt cares for his developmentally disabled brother, Leon (MARCELLO THEDFORD), and comforts Chen after the gun incident. Kovac treats an HIV-infected child and becomes curious about the boy's parents. And Abby's brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT - "That Thing You Do!"), witnesses more than he expected when he visits the hospital.
04 - Walk Like a Man
Young Gallant gets upset over the callous treatment given by his colleagues to an addled elderly patient, Stella (recurring guest star DIANE DELANO), under his repeated care. He also confronts Pratt for reporting a suicidal army ranger, Felix Hernandez (DAVID BARRERA), whose secret Gallant promised to protect. Meanwhile, Carter becomes agitated when he discovers that Abby drank alcohol while out with her girlfriends. Weaver uncharacteristically makes a series of embarrassing mistakes. Kovac flirts with Janet Wilco (KATHERINE LaNASA), the married mother of a little girl, Marlene (ALEXANDRA KYLE), dealing with possible kidney failure. And Corday treats Margaret Evans (MAE MERCER), whose husband cannot cope without her because of his Alzheimer's Disease.
05 - A Hopeless Wound
A suspicious fire on Halloween fills the emergency room with many costumed victims-some of whom offend Pratt. Romano lets his recent traumatic injury interfere with his good judgment when he directs Corday during the surgery of a man with a flesh-eating infection. Meanwhile, Marquez (recurring guest star LAURA CERÓN) threatens to file a grievance against Kovac. A middle-aged mother, Simone Phipps (ASHLEY GARDNER), can't accept that her newborn baby will not survive. The staff greets an older but wiser surgical intern, Paul Nathan (recurring guest star DON CHEADLE - "Ocean's Eleven, Fail Safe"), who must overcome a daunting physical handicap. And Abby and Carter playfully dress up in suggestive Halloween costumes. Series star LAURA INNES directed the episode.
06 - One Can Only Hope
Corday clashes with new surgical resident Paul Nathan (recurring guest star DON CHEADLE) regarding his intervention into the treatment of a sickly young woman, Alison (NORA ZIMMETT), who has signed a "do not resuscitate" order. Abby wonders about the erratic behavior of her visiting brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT). She also feels conflicted over a nurse's official complaint against Kovac, Abby's former lover. Meanwhile, Pratt comforts Chen after a patient threatens her, and Corday suspects that an unconscious, 14-year-old female patient has been sexually assaulted.
07 - Tell Me Where It Hurts
Abby fears the worst when her brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT), suddenly disappears. Carter and Chen treat a frightened Chinese immigrant nanny, Tong-Yi (MICHELLE KRUSIEC), whom they suspect was impregnated by her employer. Meanwhile, new surgical resident Paul Nathan (recurring guest star DON CHEADLE), who is struggling to overcome a physical disability, tries to help in the emergency room-but his fellow doctors do not appreciate his advice to patients. Unable to quench his sexual appetites, Kovac also gets into trouble in his professional life, despite his admirable resolve to find an eye specialist to treat a young gunshot victim. Gallant and fellow medical student Erin Harkins (recurring guest star LESLIE BIBB - "Popular") engage in an escalating competition of medical knowledge. And Weaver gets some much-needed good news.
08 - First Snowfall
Abby's family nightmare continues as she and her mother, Maggie (recurring guest star SALLY FIELD - "Norma Rae"), search for Abby's missing brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT), who Abby suspects is suffering from serious mental problems. The two women go to a Midwestern air force base, hoping to prevent Eric from being court-martialed for being absent without leave. Carter struggles to get out of Chicago to join Abby. Meanwhile, Corday treats a family of patients who, while building a snowman, were severely injured after being struck by a truck driver. She must help the father, Stuart (JEFF KOBER), make a life-or-death decision. Corday also sympathizes with troubled surgical resident Paul Nathan (recurring guest star DON CHEADLE) as he struggles with the increasing symptoms of his physical handicap.
09 - Next of Kin
Abby is distressed when her troubled mother, Maggie (recurring guest star SALLY FIELD), interferes with the treatment of Abby's bipolar brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT), at a psychiatric hospital. Pratt treats a frightened young girl, Morgan Brenner (MEGAN RYAN VINT), who has been injured in an auto accident and desperately wants to hide a secret. Meanwhile, dissolute Kovac forms an unlikely bond with a lonely elderly woman, Matilda (MARY CARVER), who makes him a surprising offer; Chen is overcome with upsetting memories when a baby is abandoned in the emergency room; and Pratt takes action after his luckless brother, Leon (recurring guest star MARCELLO THEDFORD), is terminated from his menial job. Series star PAUL McCRANE makes his "ER" directorial debut.
10 - Hindsight
In this unique episode, events leading up to Christmas are shown in reverse chronological order. Kovac's troubled life turns tragic when he gets into a car accident on an icy road-and his passenger, young medical student Erin Harkins (recurring guest star LESLIE BIBB), is seriously hurt. Earlier, Kovac struggles to help a young man, Rick (MICHAEL EALY - "Barbershop"), fight for life as his condition worsens unexpectedly. Also, Abby and the emergency room staff attend to a pair of belligerent "elves" and a young female hockey player, Jane (BRITTNEY LEE HARVEY) with a head wound.
11 - A Little Help from My Friends
When Pratt is witnessed bringing a gun into the emergency room, Carter feels compelled to defend him. However, Pratt's erratic behavior makes Carter reconsider. Meanwhile, Weaver hopes to keep her pregnancy a secret, but physical complications might compromise her plans. Lewis warily watches a self-destructive patient, Chip Mealy (ROB MOORE), who admits to molesting young boys. Romano warns guilt-stricken Kovac not to admit to a grieving mother that his miscalculation caused her son's death. Chen treats high school students who overdosed on Ritalin. And Gallant confronts the scheming young wife, Koko (SOFIA MILOS), of an aged, dying man.
12 - A Saint in the City
Weaver confronts a dilemma when an influential alderman, John Bright (Emmy Award winner BRUCE WEITZ - "Hill Street Blues"), seeking treatment after a fall, tests positive for syphilis-potentially damaging information that could become public. Meanwhile, Carter is impressed by an irascible, old doctor, McNulty (recurring guest star and Emmy Award winner ED ASNER - "Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show"), who oversees an inner-city medical clinic. A sympathetic Kovac defies conventional ethics when he tricks a seriously injured patient, Tom (JAMES COLBY), who refuses to leave his dying wife's side, into believing that she has already expired. Pratt unilaterally allows a drug-addled man to be with his terminal mother. Pratt also keeps a wary eye on his mentally challenged brother, Leon (recurring guest star MARCELLO THEDFORD), as he starts a new job. And Weaver and Kovac differ on what to do with a young boy whose medical history suggests repeated child abuse.
13 - No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Pratt is overwhelmed when his developmentally disabled brother, Leon (recurring guest star MARCELLO THEDFORD), persuades him to treat a gravely wounded robber who duped Leon into participating in a crime. Carter stuns Abby by deciding to go to Africa, where the medical needs are greatest. Meanwhile, Carter attends to the sickly Dr. McNulty (recurring guest star ED ASNER), the curmudgeon he recently met who runs a storefront medical clinic. Emotionally fragile Romano receives negative news regarding his recovery. Kovac's relationship with Weaver deteriorates, culminating in a threat from Kovac. Weaver's former patient, influential alderman John Bright (recurring guest star BRUCE WEITZ), returns bearing financial gifts of gratitude. And a bold doctor, "Fast" Edward Dorset (BRUNO CAMPOS - "Jesse"), startles Corday by asking her on a date.
14 - No Strings Attached
Abby is distraught upon learning that her emotionally troubled brother has gone missing while piloting an airplane. Desperate Romano receives some depressing news. The emergency room is inundated with numerous teenage girls who were run over by a fellow female student who suffers from a rare disease that may have caused the tragedy. Meanwhile, Chen's relationship with Pratt changes radically. A daughter wants to take extreme measures to keep her elderly mother alive. Weaver gets a promotion from grateful alderman John Bright (recurring guest star BRUCE WEITZ). And Lewis ponders her pending date with a handsome man.
15 - A Boy Falling out of the Sky
Abby becomes disturbingly close to a mental breakdown as she copes with a multitude of problems, including her missing pilot brother and needy mother, Maggie (recurring guest star SALLY FIELD). Meanwhile, Carter returns from Africa. Abby and Carter try vainly to keep a brain-dead boy alive a few minutes longer for the sake of his grieving parents. Weaver confronts a man who stole her purse. Pratt gets a big surprise after accompanying paramedics to the scene of a comatose homeless man on the street. Kovac arrives at the hospital in time to aid an overdosed teenager. And Lewis is flattered by a young cancer patient who admires her-but she must still deliver grim news.
16 - A Thousand Cranes
Pratt tries to keep Gallant from overreacting when they are apprehended and questioned as possible suspects in a murderous rampage at the diner near the hospital. Lewis befriends a teenage cancer patient, Sean Simmons (PATRICK FUGIT - "Almost Famous"), who fears he might not have long to live. Meanwhile, Carter must endure a long trip to the bus station with Abby's inquisitive mother, Maggie (recurring guest star SALLY FIELD). He also ponders a major life-changing decision. And troubled Kovac ruminates on his tragic life when he is forced to consult a psychologist.
17 - The Advocate
Weaver gets into trouble when she agrees to secretly treat the lover of her powerful new patron, Alderman John Bright (recurring guest star BRUCE WEITZ), for syphilis. When the patient suffers a severe allergic reaction, Weaver desperately tries to prevent her actions from becoming public, further compromising her ethics in the process. Meanwhile, Weaver's career continues to advance-at the expense of Romano's. Carter and Abby reassess their relationship. Kovac ruminates on his troubled career path while ministering to a rebellious teenage girl who claims she was sexually abused at a camp for wayward youths. And Carter cares for a nasty middle-aged woman who is slowly being poisoned.
18 - Finders Keepers
Newly transferred to Chief of Emergency Medicine-and furious about it-disabled former surgeon Romano expresses his disdain and lack of detailed knowledge of emergency room procedure, angering almost everyone around him and endangering a patient's life. Carter unsuccessfully confronts the bitter Romano. Now performing his job, Weaver sympathizes with Romano but is not immune to his attacks. Meanwhile, a visitor to the emergency room reveals Lewis' surprising secret. Lewis also underestimates a deceptively healthy-looking woman's condition. An automobile accident victim claims that his children were with him in the car, but the police cannot find them. Kovac pleads with Weaver to allow a Croatian boy to come to Chicago for treatment. Corday's end-stage cancer patient must choose her life or that of her unborn baby. And Pratt desperately searches for a gift for Chen after pretending he knew it is her birthday.
19 - Things Change
An overmedicated psychotic patient, James (JOHNNY SNEED), threatens Abby. Also, Abby learns news about her missing brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT). Meanwhile, Romano continues to make rash judgments-and enemies-when he tries to perform a surgery in the emergency room. Kovac welcomes his longtime friend Gordana Horvat (NINA SABLICH), a fellow Croatian doctor, who wants to observe the chaos of an inner-city American hospital. While Carter guides a group of eager medical students-who witness him tenaciously try to save a cardiac patient-he receives some emotional news from home.
20 - Foreign Affairs
Kovac defies the rules to get a dying Croatian boy to Chicago in a race to save his life. Despite receiving tragic news, Carter tries to prevent a grieving gang member, Curtis (CORY HARDRICT), from seeking vengeance. Carter's sad family gathering is interrupted by Abby's mentally troubled brother, Eric (recurring guest star TOM EVERETT SCOTT), who has left his voluntary care facility. Meanwhile, Lewis has trouble ending her relationship with Chuck (recurring guest star DONAL LOGUE), a man whom she impulsively married recently. A baseball player, Perez (RICKY LUNA), with a serious heart ailment is treated on the eve of his pitching debut with the Chicago Cubs. And a tormented Romano makes a dramatic decision about his mangled arm.
21 - When Night Meets Day
In the Emmy Award-winning series' landmark 200th episode, an innovative dual storytelling device contrasts Pratt's night shift with Carter's day shift. On the night scheduled to be his last in the emergency room, Pratt treats a woman whose unborn child was brutally cut out of her, prompting a search for the baby. He also takes care of a burned firefighter and victims from a mass cult poisoning related to the day's unnerving solar eclipse. Pratt relays the patients to Carter, whose frustration grows as he treats two of the cult members, a wounded gang member, a dying Buddhist nun and a heart attack victim. Meanwhile, Romano experiences what it's like to be a patient when he undergoes surgery.
22 - Kisangani
In a special episode, Carter travels to the war-torn Congo as part of a voluntary medical program. He finds primitive Third World facilities, a few heroic staffers and woeful patients overflowing the tiny hospital while a bloody civil war threatens to engulf them all. After Carter ventures deeper into the jungle to reunite with Kovac, they risk their lives manning a crude outpost used for a vaccination campaign-and soon find themselves in the line of fire between the warring tribes.