The staff changes keep coming at ER's County General. In fact, this fall, the NBC hospital drama will have more bodies checking in and out than a real emergency room!
Let's recap: Greene succumbed to a brain tumor two years ago, and Romano got crushed by a helicopter last season. This fall, Greene's widow, Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), will also be gone after a few episodes. "She'll leave in a smart, real way," says executive producer Dee Johnson, who adds that ER simply couldn't think of what else to do with the beleaguered Corday. Meanwhile, hunky Goran Visnjic — who plays love doctor Luka Kovac — has been making noises about leaving the series for a film career. So where does all this leave us?
For starters, expect big story lines for twentysomething actresses Parminder Nagra (Neela) and Linda Cardellini (Nurse Sam Taggert), who'll return to the hospital after quickie exits at the end of last season. As fans know, Neela gave up that residency at her alma mater in Michigan. (Like she was ever really gonna stay there....) Sam comes back, despite having gone into hiding from her troubled ex.
Speaking of the junior league, Once and Again cutie Shane West is this year's hot young thing. New cast member West plays Ray Barnett, a "rock and roll" medical intern whose charm takes him a long way. Expect him to do a lot of head-butting with the other doctors, though we'd much rather see some smooching!
In other news, Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) survives a bad case of road rage and a deadly dip in the river; Abby (Maura Tierney) makes the mental shift from caring nurse to arrogant doctor; Lewis (Sherri Stringfeld) comes back from maternity leave and Weaver's (Laura Innes) child-custody case is finally resolved.
Let's not forget about the show's longest-lasting survivor, Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle). This season, Carter — that lucky devil — will have two romantic interests on his hands. He'll try to work out his relationship with Kem (Thandie Newton), the beautiful African AIDS worker who bore his stillborn child. But he'll also be attracted to a hospital social worker named Wendall, played by Central Park West's Madchen Amick in a recurring role. "She's a triathlete, tough and drawn to the same social causes as Carter," says Johnson. "It seems like a perfect match."
ER kicks off its 11th season on Sept. 23 at 10 pm/ET on NBC.