ER: Your Favorite Moments
Parminder Nagra, John Stamos, Mekhi Phifer, Maura Tierney, Linda Cardellini, Scott Grimes
Now that you've seen ER's series finale, take a look at your favorite moments from NBC's groundbreaking medical drama. Out of the many fine suggestions, we've assembled this list of 16, one for — but not from — each season of the show, plus one we couldn't leave out. They are in no particular order, and each includes some of your thoughts and a link to a video clip to refresh your memory and to get the water-works started for your own tearful goodbye.
1. Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) misdiagnoses a pregnant woman with severe complications, and all ends tragically. A pre-West Wing Bradley Whitford guest-stars as the expectant father. (Apologies for the cheesy fan video.)
"Should be required to all med students to know when to ask for help" — couchpotatojsm
2. Gloria Reuben joins the cast as quiet, competent nurse Jeanie Boulet. Delving into her backstory, we learn that her husband's infidelities have left her HIV-positive. Her portrayal is hailed as a realistic, strong portrait of people living with the disease.
"Gloria Reuben's HIV storyline." — KevC1980
3. In Julianna Margulies' final episode, it's revealed that Nurse Carol Hathaway has taken off to Seattle to reunite with Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney, in a top-secret surprise cameo), the father of her twin girls. (Sorry, no video clip is available. It's still top-secret apparently.)
"The episode itself and the stories within it didn't exactly stick, but the final scene makes the whole episode worth it." —midnitetex56
4. A schizophrenic patient (guest star David Krumholtz) stabs both Dr. Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) and Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle) as a Valentine's Day party rages on in the ER.
"Even though Lucy Knight died, the episode was well-written and very action-filled." — charmdgrl
5. After Dr. Ross leaves County General for a position in a private practice, a freak accident on a rainy day finds him in a tuxedo, rescuing a boy who has fallen into a rapidly filling storm drain.
"It was the best example of the plot pattern in ER's early years: an almost trivial challenge that absorbs a series of complications while steadily ratcheting up its intensity and leaving you absolutely breathless before the payoff." — sweelips
6. After having already had one of his arms severed by the blade of a helicopter, cranky Dr. Robert Romano (Paul McCrane) dies when an entire helicopter plummets over the side of the hospital and lands on him, granting him a karmic exit scene.
"Laughed my a-- off at that." — csmith99
7. Though Dr. Neela Rasgotra (Parminder Nagra) had her share of boyfriends in the cast, it was always her pairing with roommate-turned-lover Dr. Ray Barnett (Shane West) that captured audiences. In the penultimate episode, Neela takes a position at a hospital in Baton Rouge, La., to be with Ray.
"I cried a lot last week for Neela's last episode." — lwftwt
8. A man who jumped in front of the El is brought into the ER for treatment. His beeper goes off, and in a startling moment, the entire staff realizes that the bloodied patient on the table is one of their own: Dr. Dennis Gant (Omar Epps).
"That final scene when they find out that he's the patient they're working on? Awesome." — bakeysale
9. Sally Field won an Emmy for her guest spot as Maggie Wyczenski, the bipolar mother of Dr. Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney). Nobody does unhinged like Field, and her scenes were harrowing to watch, especially in contrast to Abby's usual calm demeanor.
"Sally Field as Abby's mother." — KevC1980
10. The staff learns of the death of Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) when his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) sends a letter from Hawaii, which Dr. Carter reads aloud.
"I can never hear 'Over the Rainbow' without thinking about Mark's final episode and Carter reading the letter to the staff." — Jumper143
11. The gruff Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle) is a tough-love mentor for Dr. Carter, and their adversarial chemistry continues until the final season, when both actors return to the show for a final, though more amiable face-off.
"The relationship between those characters was really the heart of the show for me." — bossysheryl
12. Chief resident Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) skulks around the ER officiously, aided by a never-explained crutch. Her disability is incidental, though as such, is a meaningful addition to the always-diverse cast. (Bonus diversity points: It is later revealed that Kerry is a lesbian.)
"Kerry Weaver was my favorite character on this show, so anything she did I loved." —sharontatefan4ever
13. Though Dr. Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic) proposes to Abby three weeks into their reconciliation, when he learns she's pregnant, it's not until nearly a year later that the tempestuous couple actually tie the knot in a "surprise" (to Abby) ceremony. Which is when their troubles begin anew.
"I loved anything revolving around Luka and Abby — best couple ever." — Rusty227
14. The hospital receives word that Luka has died while serving in the Congo for Doctors Without Borders. Carter is sent to retrieve the body, but soon discovers that Luka is actually still alive. Instead, the two physicians learn about the challenges facing the war-torn, corrupt nation.
"The moment when the Mai-Mai mistake Luka for a priest gets me every time. I get chills just thinking about it." — tnhand1022
15. Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) suddenly becomes a mother when her sister, Chloe (Kathleen Wilhoite), abandons her baby daughter, and then, just as suddenly, returns a few months later to reclaim the child, leaving Susan heartbroken.
"The whole time she's working and doing her duties, she can hear the sound of the baby crying in her head. It was such a well-acted episode by Sherry Stringfield." — ssub
BONUS: Watch the flashback episode "Heal Thyself", in which we learn how current chief resident Dr. Cate Banfield (Angela Bassett) once required the services of Dr. Greene for her ailing son.
"The episode this season with the Mark flashbacks, I was bawling five minutes in." — indy500
Did we miss any of your favorites? Did Thursday's series finale yield any additions? Sound off in the comments section below, stat!