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) 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 - Now What?
For the overburdened doctors and emergency room personnel of County General Hospital, an urban Chicago teaching hospital, the difference between life and death often depends on split-second decisions. The staff of heroic healers includes Attending Physician Dr. John Carter (series star NOAH WYLE), nurse Abby Lockhart (series star MAURA TIERNEY), Attending Physician Dr. Luka Kovac (series star GORAN VISNJIC), Chief of Staff Dr. Kerry Weaver (series star LAURA INNES), intern Dr. Gregory Pratt (series star MEKHI PHIFER), recent medical school graduate Michael Gallant (series star SHARIF ATKINS), Attending Physician Dr. Jing-Mei Chen (series star MING-NA), Attending Physician Dr. Susan Lewis (series star SHERRY STRINGFIELD), Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Robert Romano (series star PAUL McCRANE), trauma surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Corday (series star ALEX KINGSTON) and newcomer Neela Rasgotra (series star PARMINDER NAGRA), a British-Indian medical student.
With the emergency room undergoing major physical renovations and a multivehicle catastrophe happening right outside the ambulance bay, the chaos inside is more pronounced than ever. Carter's return from Africa goes almost unnoticed, as does the arrival of Neela Rasgotra, a brilliant young woman now working and studying at County General. Pratt, who is dating Chen, immediately causes tension between the two women by flirting with Neela. Still becoming accustomed to the procedure and layout of the hospital, Neela is devastated when she doesn't monitor an elderly patient closely enough, resulting in death. However, Neela's extensive knowledge of molecular biology allows her to contradict a roomful of doctors and save the life of a mother injured in the car accident.
Meanwhile, Lewis continues dating the guy she impulsively married in Las Vegas and subsequently divorced. Romano feels impotent in his new nonsurgical capacity. And Abby rebuffs Carter's weak attempt at apologizing for abruptly leaving her to volunteer in The Congo with Kovac. Just as the lovers seem to be reconciling, shocking news comes from Africa, prompting Carter to leave for the continent again.
02 - The Lost
Carter returns to the Congo to search for the body of a fellow doctor and reunites with several associates from his previous trip. But the chaos, stench and hazards of the country's long civil war threaten to curtail his efforts, and Carter is placed in immediate danger. Meanwhile, still in the strife-torn country, Kovac is seen in flashbacks as he battles debilitating malaria while he ministers to the sick and dying.
03 - Dear Abby
A frustrating day for Abby gets even worse when she receives an upsetting letter from Carter, who is still in the Congo. Her fellow nurses protest work conditions, and her opinions are ignored. Abby is chastised for trying to inform a teenaged girl, Ellie (STEPHANIE LINEBURG), whose heart and lungs are failing, that Ellie's life is in grave danger. Meanwhile, Romano's mood gets nastier when he tries on a prosthesis with an antiquated hook to replace his missing arm. Enraged, he terminates several much-needed nurses. Three new second-year residents, including self-assured Dr. Nick "Coop" Cooper (recurring guest star GLENN HOWERTON), join the staff. An apprehensive Pratt meets Chen's old-fashioned parents for dinner. And the playful Dr. Dorset (recurring guest star BRUNO CAMPOS) makes a positive impression with his style and substantial skills.
04 - Shifts Happen
Confident second-year resident Pratt wants to prove his abilities when he works the graveyard shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.), but his heroics sometimes backfire. Pratt shows contempt for a man, Ed Gamble (PAUL CASSELL), who presents no symptoms of disease but temporarily loses his speech. As Weaver decries the "incompetence" of her staff, she also makes a grievous error. A screaming man with a broken leg waits several hours for treatment, and Neela deals with a little girl who arrives with her beloved grandmother whose status is DNR ("do not resuscitate"). Meanwhile, Abby is desperate for money and credit. Later, she meets both Kovac and his new girlfriend. And Corday begins to appreciate Dr. Dorset (recurring guest star BRUNO CAMPOS).
05 - Out of Africa
Lewis fears for a distraught architect, Ben Hollander (recurring guest star, Emmy Award winner BOB NEWHART - "The Bob Newhart Show"), whose degenerating eyesight makes him despondent. A spirited new nurse, Samantha Taggart (new series star LINDA CARDELLINI), replaces Abby, who has decided to return to medical school. Meanwhile, the doctors suspect a mother is abusing her child. Corday learns something shocking about the charismatic Dr. Dorset (recurring guest star BRUNO CAMPOS). And an inexperienced medical student is overwhelmed by the chaos and grisly conditions of life in the emergency room.
06 - The Greater Good
Pratt and Kovac clash over a miscarriage-prone young woman, Denny (ALLISON SMITH), who arrives to deliver a premature baby. Pratt wants to make heroic efforts to save the unborn child, while Kovac is adamantly against spending vast amounts of money to keep the forever sickly baby alive. A distracted Kovac also runs afoul of a psychiatrist who overmedicates an abused foster child who wants to go back to his drug-addled mother. Meanwhile, Lewis enjoys the company of sarcastic patient Ben Hollander (recurring guest star, Emmy Award winner BOB NEWHART - "Newhart"), who once threatened suicide over his impending blindness. A chatty, upbeat pharmaceutical representative, Terra (SARAH SHAHI), peddles her wares. A man turns violent over an exorbitant hospital bill. And Dr. Nick "Coop" Cooper, a second-year resident, makes romantic advances towards Chen.
07 - Death and Taxes
To everyone's amazement, Lewis makes a date to share a home-cooked dinner with the elderly Ben Hollander (recurring guest star, Emmy Award winner BOB NEWHART - "Newhart"), her depressed patient who is going blind. Lewis also treats a stressed housewife, makes plans to meet with the Internal Revenue Service for a tax audit and even finds time to hide Romano's prosthetic arm. Meanwhile, Neela and Pratt treat a vulnerable 18-year-old who was attacked in jail, and Gallant gambles with a risky hospital transfer to help a young septic cancer patient. Kovac clashes with Corday over the treatment of a patient who Corday suspects needs an appendectomy, and nurse Sam leaves her precocious son, Alex (recurring guest star OLIVER DAVIS), in the emergency room-where the boy gets an advanced education in medicine-for a day.
08 - Freefall
On Thanksgiving, the harried staff struggles with a shortage of doctors. Abby treats an HIV-positive woman, Loren (AMY PIETZ - "Caroline in the City"), who is hemorrhaging and may be pregnant. A horrifying accident very nearby threatens to engulf everyone in the hospital. Nearby, Lewis is unaware that her ex-husband, Chuck (recurring guest star DONAL LOGUE), is involved in the flaming disaster. Meanwhile, Romano threatens to file a serious complaint against the brash Pratt and continues to taunt Abby with tough medical questions--even as she wonders what Carter might be doing that same day in Africa.
09 - Missing
Two distinctive cultures commingle when Neela treats two Amish teenagers who were in a car accident and are exploring the outside world to determine if they want to return to their reclusive society. Corday and a few others mourn the loss of a talented colleague. Meanwhile, Sam clashes with sympathetic Kovac after he gives too much attention to her trouble-prone teenaged son, Alex (recurring guest star OLIVER DAVIS). Lewis becomes upset when an unconscious 5-year-old girl cannot be traced to any parent or guardian. And Pratt notices the beautiful Valerie (recurring guest star JOY BRYANT), who is visiting her nervous brother Gallant.
10 - Makemba
On Christmas Eve, the chilly emergency room staffers do their best to observe the holiday while a crusading Carter does the same-half a world away in a rundown Congolese medical clinic. Flashbacks reveal his relationship with Makemba "Kem" Likasu (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON - "Mission: Impossible 2"), a beautiful African AIDS worker, as their clashes over meager resources slowly give way to a deep love affair. As Carter adjusts to the heat, filth and dangers of the region, he keeps in touch with his Chicago friends and embarks on a personal mission to help a pregnant mother who is dying of AIDS. Despite the anti-American sentiments of his French comrades, Carter remains determined to bring the joy and love of Christmas to the local children of Kisangani. Emmy Award-winning executive producer John Wells wrote the episode.
11 - Touch and Go
Carter returns to County General to hearty welcomes. Although Abby is shocked to learn that Carter's beautiful African girlfriend, Kem (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON), is already pregnant with Carter's child, Abby has moved on with her life as well, going back to medical school. Meanwhile, Pratt's day starts off badly when Gallant finds out that Pratt has been having sex with Valerie (recurring guest star JOY BRYANT), Gallant's attractive sister. Frustrated Pratt is repeatedly overruled on medical decisions until he heroically keeps an accident victim alive while a vital MRI is taken. But Pratt then rashly attempts to intubate the patient's son, who suffers from osteoporosis, and ends up breaking the young man's neck, permanently paralyzing him. Also, Kovac informs Weaver that he is quitting to return to Africa. And Sam feels like she neglects her young son, who is misbehaving in school.
12 - NICU
In a special episode focusing on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), medical students Abby and Neela serve a three-week rotation in the unit and gain a new perspective on emergency care. Among their small patients are a brain-dead baby whose mother leads a daily prayer circle around his hospital cradle, an infant suffering overwhelming heart problems and newborn twins, the son and very sickly daughter of a traditional Chinese couple. Meanwhile, Abby and Neela cope with the driven director of neonatology, Dr. Meagan Raab (L. SCOTT CALDWELL), and a humorless veteran NICU nurse, Virgie (JOANNE BARON). And Abby is surprised to find Weaver in the NICU, accompanying her lover, Sandy Lopez (recurring guest star LISA VIDAL), who gives birth to their son. Although she was initially intimidated by Neela's ease in this setting, by the end of her time in NICU, Abby is becoming a confident, skilled doctor. But Neela questions her own fortitude in such an oftentimes tragic place. Series star LAURA INNES directed the episode.
13 - Get Carter
Carter makes the mistake of bringing his naïve girlfriend, Kem (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON), to observe the emergency room. Kem makes an impact-wanted or not-almost everywhere she wanders, ranging from an AIDS ward to the classroom and even in an unsanctioned ride with the paramedics. Pratt experiences a difficult night and questions his abilities as he treats a variety of patients, including a young boy who broke his back while sledding in the snow and an elderly man with fluid in his lung. Meanwhile, Gallant accompanies the paramedics and is nearly shot in a violent domestic dispute, during which he befriends a frightened boy. And Weaver dedicates a new center to Romano that has everyone talking.
14 - Impulse Control
Sam treats an abused and newly pregnant teen, Layla (RHEAGAN WALLACE), as well as a woman, Kathy (MARIN HINKLE - "Two and a Half Men"), who could lose her entire family after a car accident. Carter takes the day off to show Kem (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON) the wonders of a wintry Chicago. Meanwhile, a risk-assessment expert, Arnie Nadler (RICHARD KLINE), is hired to observe the emergency room and is shocked at the abounding mayhem-especially when Sam gets violent with Layla's obnoxious boyfriend. Abby and Pratt restrain an undocumented man, Miguel (F.J. RIO), who wants to leave despite testing positive for tuberculosis. And Sam is quizzed by her son, Alex (recurring guest star OLIVER DAVIS), about her interest in Kovac.
15 - Blood Relations
Carter misses his pregnant girlfriend who has returned to Africa. A family of four is rushed to the emergency room after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from their faulty furnace-forcing the claustrophobic Neela to accompany a newborn baby into an extremely uncomfortable hyperbaric chamber. Meanwhile, Lewis is upbeat about her future with Chuck, while Sam has reason to ponder her relationship with Kovac. In addition, Lewis and Abby treat a maniacal man who's covered in blood, while Weaver counsels a mother whose young son tests positive for leukemia. Amid the chaos, Chen returns from China with her sick father in tow.
16 - Forgive and Forget
A psychotic patient vows to punish the medical staff and steals an army tank, grinding his way across Chicago towards the hospital. Meanwhile, Kovac is startled at the lack of concern among some 13-year-olds who are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. Sam is jealous of Kovac's visiting French friend, Gillian (SIMONE-ELISE GIRARD), and ponders the odd relationship between a concerned teenaged girl and her sick father who is in full cardiac arrest. One of the emergency room staffers suffers a heart attack. And Corday becomes enchanted with a charming fellow surgeon.
17 - The Student
Carter defends his protégée Neela when Weaver and other doctors rate the residents. Carter urges his student to be more proactive in the emergency room, but Neela goes too far in treating a patient with a brain injury-and sympathetic Gallant errs further by falsifying a medical report. Meanwhile, Chuck (recurring guest star DONAL LOGUE) protects pregnant Lewis from a pervert who is harassing her. Kovac treats a disoriented young boy whose dad fears that tests will reveal he is not the boy's biological father. Chen is unable to find a caretaker for her combative father. And Corday is uneasy about dating two men at once. Former series star PAUL McCRANE directed the episode.
18 - Where There's Smoke
Weaver rushes to the aid of her female life partner, Sandy Lopez (recurring guest star LISA VIDAL), when the firefighter is severely injured while working and must now battle for her life. Frightened Weaver whispers hope to Sandy by reminding the victim of their newborn child. A pregnant Lewis suffers labor pains and is confined to bed rest. Tension remains between Gallant and Neela as an investigation begins into the suspicious death of a patient. In addition, Corday gets a pleasant surprise. Neela and Abby receive news about their medical board scores. And Chen and Pratt treat a frustrated senior citizen who does not want to burden his family.
19 - Just a Touch
Pratt struggles to diagnose a woman who suffers mysterious chronic seizures. An attractive woman, Campbell (ASHLEY LAURENCE), informally accuses flirtatious Pratt of sexual harassment. Abby ponders how to get her contentious patients' attention during her psychiatric department rotation. And Neela studies strokes in a lab populated by brainy but bizarre graduate students. Meanwhile, Sam tries to resist the appeal of her son's "reformed" father, Steve (recurring guest star COLE HAUSER), when he temporarily moves into her apartment-making Kovac concerned. In addition, Weaver vows to fight for her baby son, and Chen is tested when she brings her combative, ailing father home.
20 - Abby Normal
A panic-stricken Weaver is ordered to give her son to the Lopez family. Carter greets the returning Kem (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON), but their meeting with his father, Jack (MICHAEL GROSS - "Family Ties"), gets tense after Carter announces plans for his grandmother's estate. During her psychiatric rotation, Abby tries to help a seizure-prone mother, Jordan (JULIANNE NICHOLSON), with a controversial drug treatment. Meanwhile, Neela impresses everyone with her lab research, especially when she helps one of the reckless students, Yuri (recurring guest star ARCHIE KAO), after he experiments on himself. In addition, Kovac's relationship with Sam and her son, Alex (recurring guest star OLIVER DAVIS), becomes awkward when the boy's father, Steve (recurring guest star COLE HAUSER), returns.
21 - Midnight
When Carter suspects a problem, he rushes his pregnant girlfriend, Kem (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON), to the emergency room. Corday gets a jolt from the past when the late Greene's teen daughter, Rachel (recurring guest star HALLEE HIRSH), shows up with her boyfriend, looking for a haven-and some "morning-after" pills. Meanwhile, Neela prepares for her medical school graduation by welcoming 20 family members, and Abby-who hasn't passed the boards (state medical licensing written exam) yet-prefers not to attend. Neela and Pratt seek out an overweight teenager whose blood pressure could indicate deadly heart disease. Sam is uneasy about her son's father, Steve (recurring guest star COLE HAUSER), moving back to her apartment, and Frank (recurring guest star TROY EVANS - "China Beach") loudly returns to work after recovering from his heart attack.
22 - Drive
In the season finale, Good Samaritan Kovac helps a stranded female motorist and her young son who then get struck and gravely injured by a car-forcing the doctor to use all of his skills to keep them alive until specialists can operate on them at the hospital. Abby waits for her medical board results and treats a curmudgeon, Richard Gould (BILL MACY - "Maude"), who feels forgotten by the hundreds of students he taught. Meanwhile, pensive Neela leaves for the University of Michigan to begin her internship; Chen's co-workers worry about her bruised face; Pratt treats a young heart patient, Elgin Gibbs (JAMES EARL), but remains disdainful toward his gang-member patient, Antwan Coles (SAM SARPONG - "Love Don't Cost a Thing"); Weaver hopes to gain custody of her son; and Sam takes action when it appears that Steve (recurring guest star COLE HAUSER) isn't leaving, and she worries about his negative influence on their impressionable son.