Abby wakes up after the ambulance explosion and, though she realizes she has a broken wrist, quickly rushes to check on the others in the ambulance. A mother and daughter are also rushed in from the explosion and Abby misdiagnoses the case. Meanwhile, Morris and Neela struggle to keep up with the injuries sustained from the explosion.
It's just another day in paradise, as Dr. Catherine Banfield's (new series star ANGELA BASSETT) arrival and tough attitude causes the whole ER staff to feel defensive. Gates (series star JOHN STAMOS) and the new interns fight to save the life of a terrorist while risking their own lives. Neela finds an unlikely advocate in her fight to get Dr. Dubenko (series regular LELAND ORSER) back on the surgery staff.
Neela is disappointed when she finds out Abbys good news secondhand. When a gunshot wound victim comes into the ER, the new chief, Catherine Banfield, and Abby butt heads on how to treat the patient. Abby comes to Sams (series star LINDA CARDELLINI) defense when she goes before a nurses disciplinary board.
Morris takes Chaz (SAM JONES III) under his wing and teaches him some risky medical procedures much to the chagrin of Dr. Banfield. Neela gets upset when Dr. Banfield undermines her authority with her intern. Meanwhile, Gates oversteps his bounds with Sam.
Sam becomes frustrated with Gates when he becomes obsessed with finding a homeless war hero. Meanwhile, Neela is upset at her intern after he involves the entire surgery department in a nasty lawsuit. A husband and wife come into the ER after someone tried to burn down their home. And after Brenner loses his cool with a patient, it gets physical.
Banfield treats two brothers that come into the ER with serious injuries after a drug deal goes bad. Gates is upset with Sam over the fact that she never told him that Alex (guest star DOMINIC JANES) was released from the hospital. Neela considers pediatric surgery after treating a young girl with sickle cell anemia. Meanwhile, Dr. Banfield and her husband make a critical decision about the future of their family.
In the overburdened emergency room of the urban Chicago teaching facility County General Hospital, a Level One Trauma Center, the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions -- and the pressure, joy and guilt are often overwhelming. On staff are Dr. Abby Lockhart who made the professional transition from nurse to doctor and is making a serious effort to turn her personal life around; Dr. Gregory Pratt now an attending, whose checkered background won't stop haunting him.
Moretti (recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI) continues to institute new measures that cause many of the emergency room doctors to despise him. When a teacher and student come into the emergency room after a car crash, Morris and Sam are shocked to find out why they were together. Abby treats a patient with a simple stomachache, but she learns that he has a much bigger problem. Meanwhile, Neela can't wait to get released from the hospital.
When a teenage wrestler comes into the emergency room with severe vomiting, Pratt quickly tries to solve the problem, but he finds out that the cause is much more serious. While working in the intensive care unit, Gates attempts to help a young kid with a deadly disease. Meanwhile, Abby and Morris jump in to save two volunteer cops brought in with gunshot wounds.
County General Hospital is turned into a beauty parlor for a day when a gracious former patient provides free beauty treatments. Meanwhile, Abby becomes distraught when her child is brought in after taking a serious fall off a jungle gym. Gates makes a baseball dream come true for a young boy with a terminal illness. And Pratt tries to stick up for his brother but seems to just make matters worse.
Moretti (recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI) decides that Gates has done an impressive job in the intensive care unit and is now ready to return to the emergency room. Meanwhile, Neela learns how to manage people when she is assigned to mentor a gifted young intern. With his girlfriend away, Morris has a hard time resisting the ladies. And Abby struggles to keep her life together without Kovac (former series star GORAN VISNJIC), who has gone to Croatia.
When Moretti (recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI) brings in a new attending physician, Skye Wexler (recurring guest star KARI MATCHETT), to help with the workload, Morris and Pratt find the time to cram for their medical board examinations. Meanwhile, Sam and Abby treat an attention-hungry young woman who comes into the emergency room with elusive symptoms. And an intern, Harold (recurring guest star STEVEN CHRISTOPHER PARKER), tries to get tips from Neela on how to please the ladies.
In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, Morris buys an energy-efficient smart car. Meanwhile, Abby and Pratt try to treat a fussy baby but disagree on the diagnosis. And Abby falls back into old habits and gives into temptation while her husband is in Croatia. Recurring guest star REIKO AYLESWORTH appears as Julia Dupree.
Gates and Julia (recurring guest star REIKO AYLESWORTH) nurture their newfound romance but are soon interrupted by a troubled phone call from Gates' ward, Sarah (recurring guest star CHLOE GREENFIELD). Meanwhile, Abby continues to be off her game, and the other doctors are starting to take notice. Harold (recurring guest star STEVEN CHRISTOPHER PARKER) saves the day in a critical situation -- and still makes his date. And Kovac (former series star GORAN VISNJIC) surprises Abby by returning home a day earlier than expected. Recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI appears as Moretti.
When Kovac's (former series star GORAN VISNJIC) brother visits from Croatia, Abby feels crowded in her own home. Meanwhile, Gates starts to experience the pressure of fatherhood after Sarah (recurring guest star CHLOE GREENFIELD) decides to have a sleepover with her friends. And Pratt becomes upset when a new temporary emergency room chief is named. Recurring guest star KARI MATCHETT ("24") appears as Skye Wexler.
In this special 300th episode, Kovac (recurring guest star GORAN VISNJIC), Abby and baby Joe quickly make plans to go to Croatia after Kovac's father unexpectedly passes away, yet something still seems off with Abby. At the ER, a husband (guest star PETER FONDA - "3:10 to Yuma") rushes in when he hears about his wife#s car accident and is shocked to meet someone from his past. Meanwhile, Julia (recurring guest star REIKO AYLESWORTH) decides to hold a service to bless the ER and the patients that have been lost.
When a young woman comes in with a badly hurt ankle, Sam is shocked to learn how much they have in common. Jeanie Boulet (former series star GLORIA REUBEN - "The Agency") rushes into the ER after her son takes a fall during gym class. Meanwhile, when the higher-ups at the hospital don't take him seriously, Pratt finds himself wanting to quit his job. Recurring guest star KARI MATCHETT ("24," "Heartland," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") also makes an appearance.
Abby checks out of rehab and makes her way back to the ER, but she finds herself being questioned by the other doctors. And when multiple victims of a fire come into the ER, Abby thinks that one of the little girls is suffering from LCA, a degenerative eye disorder. Meanwhile, Harold (recurring guest star STEVEN CHRISTOPHER PARKER) finds new confidence after a big night with Neela's cousin.
Pratt gets cold feet when Bettina (recurring guest star GINA RAVERA) tries to take their relationship to the next level. Neela joins the Ortho's hockey team and is shocked to see who their opponents are in the first game. Meanwhile, a prison doctor comes into the ER after trying to save a young boy from a freezing lake. After revealing to Julia (recurring guest star REIKO AYLESWORTH) that he gave lethal injections to criminals on death row, she tries to help him get rid of his guilt. And Gates gets irritated with Sam when she undermines his decisions.
Pratt and Dr. Brenner (recurring guest star DAVID LYONS - "Sea Patrol") get off to a rocky start when Brenner refuses to teach the interns. Gates treats a young transplant patient with major heart trouble. Abby contemplates telling Kovac (former series star GORAN VISNJIC) the truth about her affair as she heads for Croatia. And Sam finds out that Gates and Julia (recurring guest star REIKO AYLESWORTH) have broken up.
Neela has a strange daydream during work after pulling an all-night shift. Plus, she makes a quick decision about a patient with a torn aorta (recurring guest star AIDA TURTURRO - "The Sopranos"). Sarah's (recurring guest star CHLOE GREENFIELD) grandfather (guest star BILL BOLENDER - "CSI: Miami," "Alias," JAG") is rushed to the ER after collapsing during a game of air hockey. And Gates tries to let Sam know that he is serious by sending her flowers.
Neela is upset after she finds out the aorta surgery on Sheryl Hawkins (recurring guest star AIDA TURTURRO) has caused an infection. While treating a severely beaten Korean teen, Abby discovers an even more serious condition. Kovac (former series star GORAN VISNJIC) struggles to forgive Abby for her indiscretion. And Dr. Brenner (recurring guest star DAVID LYONS) continues to ruffle feathers in the ER.
Pratt decides to fight for his relationship with Betina (recurring guest star GINA RAVERA) despite her reluctance. Neela treats a young injured couple, but when one of them pulls a gun (guest star JOSH STEWART - "Dirt"), she quickly finds out about their criminal status. Abby sees signs that her relationship may be over and it scares her.
Morris meets with the hospital psychologist for a debriefing after his traumatic run-in with the jewelry thieves. Neela is frustrated when Sheryl Hawkins (recurring guest star AIDA TURTURRO) must go in for a fourth surgery to fix the infection. Meanwhile, Abby struggles to make a decision after she is offered a new job.
In the overburdened emergency room of Chicago's County General Hospital, a Level One Trauma Center and teaching hospital, the difference between life and death often rests on split-second decisions. As a third-year resident, former nurse Dr. Abby Lockhart continues to assert her authority and responsibility in the emergency room, but the stress and complications of raising a child cause a rift between her and Attending Physician Dr. Luka Kovac. Chief of Staff Dr. Kerry Weaver remains a tough and determined hospital administrator who finds herself at a personal crossroads as she tries to strike a balance between her life as a doctor and the life she now wants as a woman and a mother. Nurse Sam Taggart tries to be a good mother to her own son, who is acting out as a result of his traumatic life.
Abby's overbearing mother, Maggie (recurring guest star SALLY FIELD - "Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart," "Forrest Gump," "Steel Magnolias," "Brothers & Sisters"), arrives at the hospital to comfort Abby and Kovac as their newborn son's life hangs in the balance. Sam returns to Chicago but fears that the police will arrest her, despite her claims of self-defense. Paramedic Gates makes a risky decision with an overdosed teen. And later, Gates escorts a very drunk Neela home after she drowns her sorrows at the local bar.
Pratt assumes his new role as attending physician but gets stuck with the task of dealing with all the new interns. When an older man is brought in to the emergency room with congestive heart failure, Pratt assigns Gates to assess his condition. Later, the man's partner, Bennett Cray (JOHN MAHONEY), comes to visit and must fight with the patient's family to help keep him alive. Meanwhile, Neela meets the new surgical chief, Dustin Crenshaw (recurring guest star J.P. MANOUX), and quickly finds out that he plans to make her life a living hell.
Gates copes with his complicated living situation. After trying to juggle work and a new baby, Abby and Kovac contemplate hiring help. Now that he is the new attending physician, Pratt strives to keep all the interns and residents on track. And Neela is disappointed when Crenshaw (recurring guest star J.P. MANOUX) assigns her menial tasks instead of the surgery she was hoping to perform.
Returning to work after her maternity leave, Abby worries that she has lost her skills. Abby and Pratt try an unconventional method for treating a heart patient in the hope of avoiding a more invasive procedure. And Kovac tries to recall his treatment of a stroke patient, Curtis Ames (recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER - "Bird," "Door to Door"), who is charging him and County General with negligence.
Fearing the worst, Kovac anxiously awaits the decision of a jury in the case pitting him against Curtis Ames (recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER). Meanwhile, Neela is tired of minor duties and tries to prove to Crenshaw (recurring guest star J.P. MANOUX) that she is worthy of scrubbing in for surgery. Morris prepares for his big television debut in the ambulance bay but ends up being upstaged by Weaver. And Ray becomes jealous when he sees Neela and Gates flirting.
Abby and Kovac finally decide to hire a nanny to care for their son, but they are troubled by the potential candidates. During a trip to the park with her child, Abby inadvertently meets Curtis Ames (recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER). Meanwhile, Morris and Sam try to treat a belligerent patient who comes in with what seem to be simple flu symptoms. However, when they discover that the patient's condition is much more complicated, he refuses treatment. Also, Gates and Neela argue with each other at a hospital board meeting.
Abby and Kovac argue about a diagnosis when a woman comes in with signs of spousal abuse. After a group of confused homeless kids enters the emergency room, Gates, Abby and Neela must quickly determine one child's ailment before it is too late. Meanwhile, Weaver is unexpectedly called into action while doing a news report at a school.
Although it's Thanksgiving, the emergency room is far from quiet. Abby is about to head home when she is forced to respond to a bus crash on the side of a ravine. Meanwhile, Neela accepts Gates' invitation to visit his house after work, but they are soon interrupted by an unwelcome guest. And Pratt discusses his brother with Weaver.
Pratt has a tough time coming to terms with the discovery of his brother's sexual orientation. Outside his apartment, Kovac spots Ames (recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER), but Kovac chooses not to tell Abby. Gates begs Neela to give him a chance. And Kovac and Gates treat a young girl who appears to have been assaulted.
With the holiday spirit in full effect, romances heat up the emergency room. Meanwhile, after a homeless boy convinces Gates and Ray to help his friend, who is in critical condition, Gates breaks his promise and calls children's services. Ames (recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER) issues a restraining order against Kovac. And Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) gives Neela the opportunity to be part of a very special holiday miracle.
When a patient dies after being prescribed the wrong medication, Pratt and medical student Hope (recurring guest star BUSY PHILLIPS) wonder if they are responsible. Gates' roommate, Meg (recurring guest star PAULA MALCOMSON - "Deadwood"), with whom he has a complicated relationship, comes to County General and angrily confronts Gates and Neela. And Kovac is forced to make budget cuts that could affect one of the doctors.
Kovac gets jealous when Abby gives too much attention to a patient, Eddie Jackson (recurring guest star FRED WARD). Gates' roommate, Meg (recurring guest star PAULA MALCOMSON), pulls a deadly stunt when Gates moves out of the apartment. After one of his patients dies, Pratt discovers that the police want to arrest him. And Weaver makes a decision that will change the emergency room forever. Recurring guest star FOREST WHITAKER appears as Curtis Ames.
Gates and Neela try to revive Meg (recurring guest star PAULA MALCOMSON) after they find her unconscious in her car. Sam suspects she may know who set fire to her home. And tensions mount as Ames (recurring guest star Forest Whitaker) gets more and more desperate to seek revenge.
Abby and Sam try to treat an obnoxious aspiring comedian, Simon (FREDDY RODRIGUEZ), with mysterious symptoms. Pratt gets into trouble as he is questioned about the death of a patient. And Neela is thrilled when Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) allows her to scrub in on a kidney donor surgery.
When a woman comes into the emergency room with acute liver failure, Gates and Kovac are faced with a moral dilemma. Neela also ponders right and wrong when a patient offers to donate a kidney to a complete stranger. Meanwhile, Ray fights to investigate the accidental fall of a squad of cheerleaders.
Abby and Pratt race to save a family that got stranded in the snow and is now suffering from frostbite. Meanwhile, Neela gets jealous when Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) brings in a new surgical intern. And Gates struggles with the reappearance of his father, Mike (recurring guest star STACY KEACH - "Prison Break"), and the possibility of losing the deceased Meg's daughter, Sarah (recurring guest star CHLOE GREENFIELD).
Sam and Morris are caught off guard when a photographer, Diana Moore (recurring guest star ANNABELLA SCIORRA - "The Sopranos"), comes into the emergency room taking photographs alongside a terminally ill patient. Meanwhile, Neela continues to feel upstaged by the new surgical intern, who seems to be Dr. Dubenko's (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) new favorite. Also, on her birthday, Sam can only think about her son, who is away at school.
When a young man, Danny Rutley (ANDY PROSKY - "Law & Order"), comes into the emergency room with heart failure, Kovac and Gates must deal with Danny's helpless father, Wayne (ROBERT PROSKY - "Hill Street Blues"). Meanwhile, an Armenian man, Zakar (KEN DAVITIAN - "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"), takes time out of his schedule and risks his life to be a Good Samaritan. Pratt takes the high road and attempts to make amends with his brother. And both Abby and Gates deal with the constant challenges of parenthood. Recurring guest star STACY KEACH appears as Gates' father, Mike.
In a busy emergency room, Kovac feels the pressure to take care of the overflow of cases before the area is shut down for renovations. A lonely Sam befriends terminally ill photojournalist Diana Moore (recurring guest star ANNABELLA SCIORRA), who has a negative outlook. Pratt gets a scare when his brother unexpectedly shows up in the emergency room. And the tension between Gates and his father, Mike (recurring guest star STACY KEACH), reaches a boiling point.
All of the emergency room staffers are surprised when they arrive for the department dinner and find out that surprise nuptials are about to happen. Meanwhile, Ray can't seem to handle seeing Neela and Gates together. But the romantic atmosphere seems to bring everyone together.
Kovac and Abby get used to their new roles as husband and wife, while Hope (recurring guest star BUSY PHILLIPS) and Morris enjoy Kovac and Abby's unused honeymoon suite. Pratt hopes to change his womanizing ways as he tries to win over someone new. Meanwhile, there's a new physician, Dr. Kevin Moretti (recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI - "The Devil Wears Prada"), in the emergency room--and he means business.
In the 13th season finale, to the chagrin of the County General staff, the new chief, Moretti (recurring guest star STANLEY TUCCI), makes some major changes in the emergency room. Meanwhile, Kovac puts his honeymoon on hold when he must travel back to Croatia to be with his ailing father. Gates is urgently called home when Sarah (recurring guest star CHLOE GREENFIELD) panics that she might be taken away. And after a patient convinces her to attend an antiwar rally, Neela finds her life in peril.
In the 12th season premiere, Sam and Kovac report to the police that her diabetic son, Alex (recurring guest star DOMINIC JANES), is missing and is possibly trying to find his father. The boy mistakenly thinks his dad is in Colorado, but the man is actually incarcerated. Unfortunately, Alex left without his insulin. And Neela, Ray and Abby struggle with their first shifts in charge of the new interns.
Ray attends to Claire (ERIN COTTRELL), a surrogate mother who goes into premature labor after being involved in a car accident. Claire refuses a cesarean section even though the unborn baby is in fetal distress, forcing the doctors to make an emotional decision. Pratt deals with his feelings from the past and the possibility of embracing the family of his future after he encounters his estranged father, Charlie (recurring guest star DANNY GLOVER - "Lethal Weapon" films, "The Royal Tenenbaums"). Despite Kovac's objections, Sam finds a new apartment and starts to pack. SAM JONES III ("Smallville") guest stars as Pratt's half-brother, Chas.
The emergency room is jolted when a new nurse manager, Eve Spellman (recurring guest star Emmy Award winner KRISTEN JOHNSTON - "3rd Rock from the Sun"), enforces her strict and efficient new procedures. Kovac and Sam are uncomfortable working together on the same shift. Meanwhile, Abby treats a breast cancer patient who is having a hard time accepting her condition.
A patient who has been in a coma for nine years suddenly awakens in the emergency room, and Kovac struggles with whether he should reveal to her the truth about her past. Abby comforts Dr. Otis Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER - "The Bone Collector," "Daredevil") after he finds out some troubling news. New Nurse Manager Eve (recurring guest star KRISTEN JOHNSTON) disturbs the work environment when she implements her strict methods. Former series star PAUL McCRANE directed the episode.
Pratt gets a surprise when the new attending doctor, Victor Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO - "Spawn," "Moulin Rouge!"), poses as a patient to test the knowledge of doctors in the emergency room. Meanwhile, Kovac bonds with his former coma patient and contemplates bending the rules for her. A breast cancer patient convinces Abby to get her first mammogram. And Pratt's father, Charlie (recurring guest star DANNY GLOVER), tries to convince his son that he has become a responsible family man.
Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO), Abby and Neela secretly care for a very important patient while Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) tortures the emergency room staff via a robotic television camera from his home. Sam is coerced into accepting a management role and is given a dreadful task. Meanwhile, Pratt is visited by his half-brother, Chaz (recurring guest star SAM JONES III), and emotions from the past remind Pratt of how his father, Charlie (recurring guest star DANNY GLOVER), abandoned him.
Neela prepares for Gallant's (SHARIF ATKINS, not appearing in this episode) homecoming from the war, but her plans change when she receives a call from Iraq. Meanwhile, when Kovac and Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) disagree on how to save a patient's life, Abby gets caught in the middle. A police officer and a little girl are victims of a shootout, and Neela is conflicted about whether or not she should save the gunman's life. Recurring guest star JOHN STAMOS appears as paramedic Gates.
Neela rides along with ambulance driver Gates (recurring guest star JOHN STAMOS). They respond to a huge emergency after two commuter planes crash in midair and land on a densely populated area of Chicago. Many passengers and pedestrians are injured, and other victims are trapped inside a burning building. Meanwhile, County General treats trauma victims of the plane crash, and Sam struggles with an executive decision that could have serious repercussions to her employment. Neela's bravery wins the respect of her co-workers--especially Gates--but her day is not over when she receives a surprise.
After returning from Iraq, Gallant (recurring guest star SHARIF ATKINS - "Eve," "The Big Time") surprises Neela by telling her he wants to take their relationship to the next level. Kovac and Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) vie for the same job--increasing the obvious tension between them. Meanwhile, Sam convinces a patient's mother to get her son the medical attention he desperately needs. Morris shocks everyone when he stands up to Weaver during a medical procedure.
After a little girl is mistakenly shot, Pratt and Weaver desperately try to revive her. Meanwhile, Haleh (recurring guest star YVETTE FREEMAN) holds her annual choir tryouts, and everyone is surprised by who is chosen to sing the solo. Eve's (recurring guest star KRISTEN JOHNSTON) treatment of a patient causes management to get involved. Abby and Kovac exchange Christmas gifts, but Abby's gift to him is bigger than expected.
Abby struggles with the decision of whether or not she is ready to become a mother. Meanwhile, Neela and Kovac help a religious teenager weigh all of her pregnancy options. Ray gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with his band, and everyone is shocked at the outcome. Clemente's (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) past catches up with him when the police search for him in the emergency room.
Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) is missing, and Dr. Dubenko (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) volunteers to take the dayshift but ends up feeling overwhelmed. Ray is put in a very awkward situation when his young former girlfriend comes into the emergency room with serious abuse-related injuries. With a child in their future, Kovac and Abby venture out for some baby shopping. Meanwhile, Neela receives word that she has been selected for the surgery elective she had been hoping for.
When an abandoned patient with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) arrives at the emergency room, many of the doctors are shocked to recognize former medical school professor Dr. Nate Lennox (JAMES WOODS - "Salvador," "Ghost of Mississippi," "Be Cool"). Abby and Kovac try to understand Nate's wishes after the professor is struck with pneumonia in addition to the nerve degenerating disease. As the malady continues to cripple Nate, Abby struggles with the prospect of losing the man who made her a doctor. After a controversial decision to help Nate breathe, Abby and Nate's caretaker, Fran (ALLY WALKER - "Profiler"), wonder if they made the right decision.
Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) and his girlfriend, Jodie (CALLIE THORNE), have a great time together until they are suddenly interrupted by Jodie's husband, Bobby (SHEA WHIGHAM). When Jodie threatens divorce, Bobby takes matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, Abby and Kovac anxiously await the test results indicating the health of their unborn baby. And after Pratt is put on the auction block for a bachelor charity event, everyone is surprised when a man wins the bid.
Dr. John Carter (former series star NOAH WYLE) is joined by Dr. Dakarai (recurring guest star EAMONN WALKER - "Oz") in the Sudanese desert as they treat hundreds of disease-infested and famine-stricken people. Carter and Dakarai spring into action to save a woman who was raped by a militant group. Meanwhile, back at County General, Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) returns from New Jersey with wounds. Pratt and Neela quickly save a 14-year-old involved in a hit and run accident, but Pratt becomes infuriated when he discovers who hit the teen. MARY McCORMACK ("The West Wing") recurs as Debbie, one of Carter's fellow aid workers.
Weaver contemplates hip replacement surgery after she finds it hard to do her labor-intensive job. Meanwhile, Kovac tries to ease Abby's fears about raising a child together. Neela decides to attend a support group for military spouses, but when she offers her opinions on the war, the meeting turns into a debate. After Sam treats a wealthy fainting victim, Richard Elliot (recurring guest star Emmy Award winner ARMAND ASSANTE - "Gotti," "The Mambo Kings"), she finds herself with an intriguing job offer.
When a 21-year-old woman is brought into the emergency room with stab wounds to the neck, Abby and Kovac desperately try to keep her alive while they wait for a surgeon to operate. As the victim's condition begins to deteriorate, Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) steps in and attempts a risky procedure in order to save her life. Meanwhile, Neela prepares all night long for a speech at a surgeons convention, but she is disappointed when her discourse goes awry. Ray treats a suicidal man claiming to have swallowed a bottle of pills. And Sam decides to take a part-time job with wealthy Richard Elliot (recurring guest star ARMAND ASSANTE) to help pay for her childcare. SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO ("House of Sand and Fog") guest stars as Riza Kardatay.
When police bring in two teenagers involved in a car accident, Abby and Morris struggle to figure out what is wrong with the unconscious girl, while police try to interrogate the other teen. Meanwhile, Neela gets a visit from her in-laws, Colonel James Gallant (recurring guest star ERNIE HUDSON - "Ghostbusters") and Mrs. Gloria Gallant (recurring guest star SHERYL LEE RALPH - "Barbershop"), and receives some troubling news. Kovac tells Abby that he plans to go to Africa, but when he realizes she is not pleased by the idea, he decides to send someone else in his place. Sam starts her new job with Elliot (recurring guest star ARMAND ASSANTE)--and begins enjoying the perks.
Abby becomes suspicious when a woman, Mrs. Pooler (DIANE LADD), and her 12-year-old granddaughter arrive at the hospital. When Sam's imprisoned ex-husband is brought into the emergency room, the doctors assume he is faking his condition, but further tests prove otherwise. Meanwhile, tensions run high as Morris and the chief surgical resident clash over a patient. Also, Pratt heads to Africa to help Carter (former series star NOAH WYLE) and quickly realizes how difficult life will be.
Pratt settles into his new job in Darfur but is troubled by the astounding number of people needing care. When a sheik and his pregnant wife come into the camp, Carter (former series star NOAH WYLE) and Dakarai (recurring guest star EAMONN WALKER) operate on the man's gunshot wound--but they are quickly interrupted by government officials trying to arrest the patient. As Carter works on delivering the woman's baby, it becomes apparent that the mother is suffering from delivery complications. Pratt and Dakarai are forced to journey at night to a nearby hospital at the risk of being stopped by armed militants. Meanwhile, Debbie (recurring guest star MARY McCORMACK) tries to convince Dakarai to seek proper treatment for his medical condition.
Having just returned from Darfur, Pratt struggles to get the real story from two abused boys who came into the emergency room with their injured father. Neela becomes nervous when she is urgently called up to Dr. Dubenko's (recurring guest star LELAND ORSER) office, but she is quickly relieved to hear what he has to say. When two U.S. Army officers arrive, the staffers worry that there is bad news. Behaving strangely, Clemente (recurring guest star JOHN LEGUIZAMO) puts his patients in jeopardy, and Kovac forces him to take a break.
Chaos strikes when two injured convicts come into the emergency room and try to escape the authorities. With the help of an accomplice posing as an emergency medical technician, the fugitives involve one of the nurses in the melee. As the gunmen get more and more desperate to make it out of the hospital, they resort to extreme measures, putting Kovac in harm's way. Gunshots ring out in the lobby, and Abby slips to the ground. Meanwhile, Pratt tries to comfort Neela as she copes with Gallant's grieving parents.
After 10 years at Chicago's County General Hospital, Attending Physician Dr. John Carter (series star NOAH WYLE) has risen to a role of respect and moral leadership in the emergency room. His recently graduated colleague Abby Lockhart (series star MAURA TIERNEY) proudly dons a doctor's white lab coat for the first time. Newly promoted to chief of staff, Dr. Kerry Weaver (series star LAURA INNES) remains as tough as ever, but chinks have appeared in her armor, especially after the loss of her life partner and the resulting bitter custody battle over their son. Attending Physician Dr. Luka Kovac (series star GORAN VISNJIC) carries on a complicated romance with streetwise, seasoned nurse Samantha Taggart (series star LINDA CARDELLINI), whose 10-year-old son, Alex (recurring guest star OLIVER DAVIS), looks up to Kovac as a role model, friend and, sometimes, substitute father.
Lonely, Carter struggles with his unfulfilled dreams in the wake of his girlfriend's departure--and lurches towards a dangerous temporary solution. New doctor Abby deals with resentful nurses and tends to a tearful, injured young woman kidnapped from Mexico and forced into sexual slavery. Meanwhile, Kovac makes a confession to a fleeing Sam. Neela's domineering, old-fashioned Indian parents arrive and are upset that she abandoned her Michigan medical assignment. Later, Carter treats an Iraqi war veteran who was disfigured in combat; Weaver suggests to new intern Ray (new series star SHANE WEST) that he tone down his alternative-punk look in deference to frightened patients; and two staffers recover from their injuries.
On a busy Fourth of July weekend, Carter oversees an understaffed hospital that is flooded with patients. An HIV-positive biker remains brain dead as the result of a robbery, and his girlfriend wants to donate one of his organs to his friend, who is also infected with HIV. After several surgeons refuse, Carter persuades Corday to perform the organ transplant. Meanwhile, Ray is upset with Abby because she bypassed his orders and requested a drug test on his patient, a bicycle messenger. Abby later asks Carter to dinner in hopes of talking to him about his past problems. Pratt performs below his normal capabilities when he returns to work too early after having a craniotomy--a type of brain surgery in which the doctor removes part of the bone from the skull to get to the brain.
Two small children are rushed to the emergency room after falling out of a third-floor window. The medical staff believes an abusive father is responsible for the tragedy, but the truth is later revealed. While treating a man who complains of an unsightly rash, Pratt diagnoses the real problem--the patient has lung cancer. Corday is disciplined by hospital administrators for ignoring Proper protocol when she performed an organ transplant on an HIV-positive patient. Instead of being terminated, Corday is offered a position that will not lead to tenure. Sam contemplates moving in with Kovac. Neela decides to leave her job at the mini-mart after Lewis, newly promoted to chief of emergency medicine, offers her a position at the hospital.
Neela starts a new job in the emergency room after working at the convenience store near the hospital. On Neela's first day, Pratt expects the interns, Abby, Ray and Neela, to take on a large patient load during their shifts. Pratt turns processing the patients into a competition, in which Ray is clearly going to be the winner. In his rush to remain in the lead, however, Ray makes a big mistake and donates a patient's organs against the family's wishes. Ray helps Abby obtain HIV medication from the pharmacy--against hospital policy--for a patient who had unprotected sex. And Carter pursues Wendall (recurring guest star MÄDCHEN AMICK - "Twin Peaks," "Gilmore Girls"), who works in child protective services.
This groundbreaking episode traces real-time events in the emergency room as Kovac, Abby and Sam struggle to save the life of Charlie Metcalf (RAY LIOTTA - "GoodFellas," "Field of Dreams"), a man who complains of stomach pain but is later diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
Sam and Kovac treat a woman who was brutally beaten and raped and wants to help the police--although she can barely speak. Lewis schedules a surprise JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) emergency drill. Carter and Abby tend to a girl complaining of kidney problems, but that's just the beginning of her adventure.
When a police officer shot during a robbery is rushed to the emergency room, Lewis, Neela and Ray stabilize him, but the injuries to his carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain, leave him in a coma. The stricken officer's 15-year-old son must decide whether to authorize a risky operation that may save his father's life or to leave him permanently comatose. Abby tries to convince a girl with appendicitis to have surgery at County General, but her father wants her transferred to another hospital because his father died during an operation at County.
On Christmas Eve, the emergency room staff scrambles to finish work and go home for the holiday. While Abby treats a dialysis patient who is in critical condition, she can't reach his personal physician because he doesn't want to be disturbed during the holidays. Meanwhile, after much effort, a distraught Chen finally finds someone to work her shift so she can take care of her ailing father. Concerned for her, Pratt stops by her house and finds her struggling with her father's worsening health. Carter and Wendall (recurring guest star MÄDCHEN AMICK) grow closer and share an awkward kiss as they wish each other a merry Christmas.
Recently promoted to Chief of Emergency Medicine, Lewis finds out how hard it is to be in charge of her colleagues. Patient satisfaction scores are down from the previous years, and it's primarily because the residents are not spending enough time listening to the patients--especially Neela, which surprises Kovac. When Lewis confronts Abby about instances when Abby has circumvented accepted procedure to help patients, Abby angrily goes outside for a break. An SUV zooms in and a frantic boy, Little C (KENDRE BERRY), begs her to look at his wounded older brother, CJ (EDWIN MORROW). But when Abby bends to look into the car, she is pushed in and abducted by the gang members, with no witnesses.
In an effort to raise plummeting patient satisfaction scores, Lewis directs Kovac to teach the residents effective patient communication. Two teenagers are brought to the emergency room with gunshot wounds. Kovac, Neela and Sam treat one victim while Lewis, Pratt and Ray attend to another. When one of the patients dies, Neela does a poor job of informing the grandmother--who becomes hysterical. A personal injury attorney sets up a mobile office outside the emergency room, infuriating Lewis as the lawyer attempts to turn dissatisfied patients into clients. Abby returns to the ER even though she is still experiencing the trauma of her recent abduction.
When a 16-year-old girl who had received a kidney transplant from her father arrives at the emergency room feeling dizzy, Carter traces the problem to a new drug that the girl was taking to control seizures related to her kidney dysfunction. Her father feels guilty because he pushed for her to take the new drug, and its side effects may force his daughter to go back on dialysis. The doctor who prescribed the medication, Dr. George Henry (CHAD LOWE - "Life Goes On"), is Carter's former student. Carter asks Neela to post information about the drug's side effects on the Internet, which causes an uproar when the pharmaceutical company finds out. After Abby and Neela complain about their lackluster dating lives, they are assigned to work with Jake (recurring guest star EION BAILEY - "Almost Famous," "Band of Brothers") and Kovac--men they each find attractive.
While examining a young boy, Pratt finds a suspicious gash across his chest and calls Wendall (recurring guest star MÄDCHEN AMICK) for a consult. Kovac and Pratt examine a man who was shot when he confronted his boss with a gun. Jake (recurring guest star EION BAILEY) tries to convince Abby to date him despite his being a student.
Weaver encounters an evasive patient, Helen Kingsley (FRANCES FISHER - "Titanic," "House of Sand and Fog"), who shocks her by revealing that she is her birth mother, who at the age of 15 delivered Weaver and put her up for adoption. As they share life stories, their budding relationship withers when Weaver confesses to the evangelical Christian that she's a lesbian. Meanwhile, Pratt warily assigns Jane (recurring guest star SARA GILBERT - "Roseanne") to attend to a confused elderly woman, while Carter causes a commotion when he confronts a scheming couple hoping to get some painkilling drugs.
When Ellie Shore (CYNTHIA NIXON - "Sex and the City"), a young mother of three, is brought in with symptoms of a potentially fatal stroke, Kovac and Sam fight the odds to save her life. Knowing that a controversial surgical procedure is his wife's only chance at a full recovery, Ellie's husband must make the unenviable decision to risk her life in order to save it. Meanwhile, Neela and Ray discover a dark secret when three ostensibly neglected children show up in the emergency room. And Carter is in the midst of a love triangle when Wendall's (recurring guest star MÄDCHEN AMICK) professions of love force him to either cut ties to his ex-girlfriend in Africa or lose Wendall.
In Iraq, a young girl is wounded in a car bombing, and local hospitals are not equipped to help. Michael Gallant (former series star SHARIF ATKINS), who is stationed in Iraq, enlists Neela's support to secure the necessary treatment at County General, but getting the girl to the United States proves to be extremely difficult. With time running out, Gallant resorts to calling in a favor to bring the young girl to Chicago. Meanwhile, Neela is redefining her role at the hospital and rediscovering her romantic feelings for Gallant.
Neela is surprised when she hears that Gallant (former series star SHARIF ATKINS) came to the emergency room with a young Iraqi burn victim. Sam is troubled by a visit from her ex-husband. Pratt treats a child whose gun discharged, and the doctor learns that the boy received the weapon from an unusual source.
The staff treats a woman suffering from the effects of a hunger strike, but the patient refuses to accept food or help until she has proof that the INS (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service) will grant her son's deportation case a new hearing. Neela, Sam and Lewis are unable to treat her as long as she and her lawyer refuse aid--which goes against all of their training. Meanwhile, Abby suspects that a 72-year-old woman, Birdy Chaddock (Academy Award winner LOUISE FLETCHER - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), is a victim of elder abuse but is unable to prove it.
Eighty-five-year-old Jules "Ruby" Rubadoux (recurring guest star Academy Award winner RED BUTTONS - "Sayonara," "The Poseidon Adventure") is wheeled into the emergency room and erroneously accuses Carter of killing Ruby's wife 10 years ago. Although Abby believes Ruby is too old to undergo surgery to correct a heart murmur, the attending doctors opt to perform the operation. Meanwhile, Pratt treats a domestic violence victim and makes a date with the social worker assigned to the case. As Pratt arrives for the date, he realizes he has gotten himself into more than he bargained for. Former series star PAUL McCRANE directed the episode.
Much to everyone's chagrin, Dr. Archie Morris (recurring guest star SCOTT GRIMES - "Band of Brothers") is appointed as the new chief resident and immediately challenges Pratt as they treat casualties from an apartment building fire. Frustrated at not achieving tenure, Lewis is short-tempered with Carter. Weaver tries to pacify Lewis but only makes things worse. Ray heeds the advice of several doctors at the hospital and discharges a teenaged sickle-cell anemia patient.
Pratt loudly reprimands Neela for performing a complicated procedure on a baby; Abby misdiagnoses a patient; and Ray's procedural misstep on a victim who was stabbed produces terrible results. Meanwhile, Carter travels to Paris after learning that Kem's (recurring guest star THANDIE NEWTON - "Mission: Impossible 2") mother has been hospitalized. Once there, Carter makes some life-altering decisions.
On Carter's final shift at County General, four new interns begin their medical careers. After completing their rounds, Carter, Kovac and most of the emergency room staff attend Carter's surprise going-away party. Ray leaves to go to another event where the revelry is interrupted by a disaster that truly tests his triage abilities. The casualties are taken immediately to the hospital where a skeleton staff, headed by Abby and Neela, must overcome their lack of experience and treat the patients. Meanwhile, Pratt finally gets the courage to confront his father, Charlie (recurring guest star DANNY GLOVER - "Lethal Weapon" films, "The Royal Tenenbaums"). And Sam and Kovac search for Sam's son after he runs away in search of his imprisoned father.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Weaver returns to the emergency room after a self-imposed sabbatical of three weeks, wondering how her newfound lesbian identity will affect her workplace relationships. Having purposely allowed a mass murderer to die, Greene must keep the secret amidst the scrutiny of his superiors. Carter attends his grandfather's funeral, along with his wealthy parents, Jack (recurring guest star MICHAEL GROSS) and Eleanor (recurring guest star MARY McDONNELL), and Abby. While attending to Cleo, who may have infected herself with AIDS-tainted blood, Benton tries to comfort his sister, Jackie (recurring guest star KHANDI ALEXANDER), whose yearlong grief over the death of her son threatens her marriage.
Carter is overwhelmed by patients from a rock concert riot. Benton's former girlfriend is killed in a car accident. Newly promoted to chief resident, Chen panics and misdiagnoses a patient. Kovac angers Abby by flirting with a waitress (JULIE DELPY).
Greene's daughter comes to live with him and Corday. Carter and Abby become more intimate. Chen must prove her skills while saving a baby. Weaver terminates Malucci after witnessing him having sex in an ambulance.
Dr. Susan Lewis arrives, looking for work in the Chicago area again. Greene hires her, over Weaver's objection. Chen nervously attends a risk management review, accompanied by the unforgiving Weaver, to discuss a patient who recently died under Chen's supervision. Upset that Weaver, who was unreachable at a crucial moment in Chen's unsuccessful surgery, supports demoting her from chief resident, Chen quits. Meanwhile, busy with a lifesaving surgery, Benton must ask Roger to take care of Reese after school. Corday struggles with the desperate case of a young, abandoned boy with a rare and chronic disease. And Kovac is surprised when Nicole, the beautiful French waitress with whom he flirted, comes to the emergency room looking for him.
Lewis faces a hectic first day back at County General. Benton and Roger become frantic when they can't locate Reese. Carter's grandmother is brought to the emergency room. Carter and Abby deal with inept medical students.
Corday's ordeal, caused by the recent infection-related deaths of several of her patients, worsens when she is closely observed by a stern taskmaster. Corday is outraged when a county investigator accuses her of deliberately euthanizing the patients, who all happened to be elderly. Upon arriving home, the stressed-out Corday yells at Rachel. Lewis treats two college-age patients with flu-like symptoms. She later finds out that they were attacked by a fast-acting and lethal virus, and they have spread it to other students. Kovac arranges for the emergency room to hire Nicole, to help with minor tasks--with near-disastrous results. Benton clashes with Roger over visitation rights for Reese. And Abby flirts with a wounded fireman but tells an unreceptive Carter that she would rather date him than the fireman.
Corday desperately searches for whoever is secretly murdering her elderly patients, implicating her. Greene must deal with overstressed Corday and unruly Rachel (recurring guest star HALLEE HIRSH), who is in trouble at school. Benton reluctantly agrees to a paternity test to prove he's really Reese's father. Carter copes with disappointing news regarding his ailing but headstrong grandmother, Millicent (recurring guest star FRANCES STERNHAGEN), who still intends to live an active life--even if it kills her. Carter and Lewis treat a young, self-abusing woman, Grace (BELLAMY YOUNG), who has been cutting herself. A brilliant and inquisitive new fourth-year medical student, Michael Gallant (recurring guest star SHARIF ATKINS), impresses the curious staff. Although resentful, Abby comforts new staffer Nicole (recurring guest star JULIE DELPY) after a traumatic event. Series star LAURA INNES (Dr. Kerry Weaver) directs.
When a torrential rainstorm pounds Chicago, patients deluge the emergency room while Weaver speeds to an accident site. There, she finds a pregnant woman, Vicki lying injured inside a wrecked ambulance while live power lines spark. Fourth-year student Michael Gallant makes a dangerous decision in order to help. Meanwhile, a nervous Benton receives the lab reports that indicate whether or not he is Reese's father; Kovac's new girlfriend, Nicole gets into trouble and gives Kovac some unexpected news; Carter's grandmother, Millicent, is wheeled in after she breaks her hip in a hit-and-run car accident that injured a young woman, Jill; and Greene tends to a guilt-ridden boy, Daniel Pendy, who feels responsible for the disappearance of his younger brother in a flooded river in which they were playing. Recurring guest star LISA VIDAL appears as Sandy Lopez.
Benton and his attorney, Janice Prager (recurring guest star ROMA MAFFIA - "Profiler"), begin an arduous court fight for Benton to take custody of his son from Roger (recurring guest star VONDIE CURTIS-HALL). Corday waits for a distraught husband to decide if surgeons can remove his fatally injured wife's organs for transplant before it's too late. Greene and Lewis treat a brain-damaged teenage boxer whose guilt-ridden brother hurt him while sparring.
As Christmas nears, Benton endures bouts of rage and frustration when the custody trial for his son, Reese (recurring guest star MATTHEW WATKINS), reaches a critical stage. Benton must choose between his job and his child unless cranky Romano agrees to tailor Benton's work schedule. Benton finally quits County General, along with his girlfriend, Cleo, to work at a clinic that will allow him the hours necessary to care for Reese properly.
On her birthday, Abby receives a few unwelcome surprises, including the news that Kovac plans to leave town for two months to work in Bosnia. She also finds out that her ex-husband is engaged to remarry. Despite Abby's efforts to prevent it, Carter has an uncomfortable encounter with the patient, Paul Sobriki who stabbed him and killed a fellow doctor two years ago. Abby cares for a young boy, Douglas Leeman, after his mother dies in the hospital. And she shares a drink with her neighbor Joyce one of the few people who acknowledge Abby's birthday.
Lewis clashes with Weaver over the treatment of an injured condemned murderer, Mike Kinney (CYRIL O'REILLY), who wants to die in the emergency room rather than wait for his execution. Abby urges her battered next-door neighbor, Joyce (recurring guest star CHRISTINA HENDRICKS), to seek shelter from Joyce's abusive husband, Brian (recurring guest star MATTHEW SETTLE). A weary Carter must endure the warring of his parents, Jack (recurring guest star MICHAEL GROSS) and Eleanor (recurring guest star MARY McDONNELL), as they plan their divorce. Carter also diagnoses an aspiring rapper who tests positive for HIV but refuses to tell his naïve girlfriend.
Greene and Corday are terrified when their helpless baby daughter is brought in, suffering from an accidental overdose. Lewis treats a father and daughter who were injured after opening a letter bomb. Weaver seethes when Romano gives some of her numerous duties to Lewis. Carter meets a dying 12-year-old leukemia patient, Mickey (COLTON JAMES), brought in by Carter's charitable mother, Eleanor (recurring guest star MARY McDONNELL). The doctors marvel at a 13-year-old girl, Stacy (JEANETTE BROX), who crashed her mother's car while trying to drive the inebriated woman home.
With their baby daughter still fighting for her life, Greene and Corday argue after she orders Rachel out of their home. Abby regrets championing her battered neighbor, Joyce who refuses to charge her husband, Brian with abuse. Tainted snacks cause food poisoning among several staffers. Carter confronts his mother, Eleanor , over issues of emotional abandonment and gets a surprise visit from his father, Jack. The emergency room team treats an elderly swimmer with heart problems, a fearful 15-year-old girl with vaginal bleeding, a recent lottery winner who was unlucky enough to have been stabbed by a falling icicle and a diminutive stripper, Ginger who accidentally swallowed a customer's wedding ring.
As Greene's medical problems reappear, Corday lives in a hotel room with the baby, angry at Greene for the way he dealt with Rachel (recurring guest star HALLEE HIRSH) following the infant's overdose. Greene treats a father, Ian Nevinger (BRANT COTTON), who severely burned himself while experimenting with illegal drugs. With the patient's life in immediate jeopardy, Greene is further tormented by Ian's refusal to let his family see him in his horrific condition.
After a dominatrix, Medusa (PATRICIA THIELEMANN), inadvertently leaves a bag of sex toys in the emergency room, causing a few moments of hilarious but inappropriate behavior amongst the overworked staff, Weaver angrily orders Abby, Carter, Lewis, Kovac and Gallant to attend a day-long sexual harassment seminar. Waiting for the tardy instructor, the five share intimate details about their relationships while alternately mocking and challenging one another. Abby and Lewis frankly discuss their problems with Carter and Kovac, and the two men have a fencing match--literally and figuratively--that reveals much about their respective attraction to Abby.
Still living apart from each other, Corday and Greene find it awkward to work together in the emergency room. Corday suspects that Greene is romantically involved with Lewis. Greene is confused by the reaction of Terry, the sister of a severely ill woman, Joanne, after he asks her to donate part of her liver to save Joanne's life. Greene also chastises the uncaring adoptive parents of a young boy who almost dies after experimental therapy. Weaver treats victims of a raging inferno, not knowing whether or not the fire has killed her intimate friend, firefighter Sandy Lopez. Chen is followed by a deranged man, Martin, the victim of severe psychological trauma. The doctors treat two college students after one claims that they were attacked by a maniac on campus. And two elderly adulterers cause trouble in the emergency room.
While Greene tries to distract himself from his worsening brain tumor by working hard, he reluctantly recognizes that his debilitating illness is hampering his ability to perform the job. Watching other terminally ill patients struggle with their treatments also has a sobering effect on him. Greene has a poignant reunion with his ex-wife, Jenn, and mediates between the staff and a stubborn but deluded homeless man, Al Ervin. Confident, young first-year intern Gregory Pratt, who has transferred from another hospital, hopes to become a resident at County General soon--but first he must heed advice from Greene about his bedside manner as they treat a family man, Stan Seidel who receives the terrible news that he has advanced prostate cancer.
Extremely disturbed after receiving a traumatic call for help from her 6-year-old niece, Lewis rushes from Chicago to New York to search for the child. Lewis tracks down her trouble-prone sister, Chloe , and enlists the aid of police officers Faith Yokas and Maurice "Bosco" Boscorelli and paramedics Kim Zambrano ("Third Watch" series star KIM RAVER) and Alex Taylor. Sergeant Swersky also helps with the situation.
Carter reads a letter from the ailing Greene to the emergency room staff and feels helpless when a terminally ill homeless man, Al Ervin (PAUL BENJAMIN), keeps requesting Greene's help. Carter also tries to coax a drunken Abby to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with him. Meanwhile, Weaver berates a psychiatric patient. Obnoxious Pratt learns that he will be assigned to County General for his residency. And Romano struggles to save the life of a young girl, Melissa Rue (KAY PANABAKER), after a dangerous malignancy is discovered during her treatment for injuries sustained in an auto accident. MEKHI PHIFER and LISA VIDAL guest star.
As Greene lives his final days, he takes the reluctant Rachel (recurring guest star HALLEE HIRSH) to his childhood home in Hawaii, along with Corday. There, he indulges in life's simple pleasures and tries to impart memories, some of which are bittersweet, and family history to his distant daughter. But their arguments escalate as Greene's health deteriorates. Finally, Greene and Rachel reconcile before he dies. Greene's colleagues and loved ones attend his funeral in Chicago.
In the season finale, Chicago residents become fearful of an epidemic. When Carter and Abby treat two children with ominous symptoms, the emergency room is placed under quarantine until disease experts from the federal government can arrive. As Carter fights to save the youths, the staff is trapped with the suffering patients and a busload of injured and irritable senior citizens. Reporters surround the hospital, and police block the exits, prompting the restless victims to stage a minor riot in an attempt to escape the dangerous and stifling conditions inside. Meanwhile, Pratt (recurring guest star MEKHI PHIFER) and Chen--who may have contracted the disease--ignore their own symptoms as they labor to save the life of a homeless man, Stan the Can (recurring guest star HARRISON PAGE), who is a frequent patient at the hospital.
Greene and Corday contract poison ivy after a romantic outing together. Dr. Chen keeps her pregnancy a secret. Carter finishes a drug rehabilitation program. Romano appoints Benton as a new surgical attending physician. Because Abby's husband failed to pay her medical school tuition, she gets temporarily deleted from the program. Members of two rival high school football teams and some of their fans cause a disturbance in the ER while a player gets treated.
Carter encounters Abby at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and, later, Abby reluctantly agrees to serve as his sponsor. An elderly diabetes patient who refuses to be consistent with dialysis appointments needs surgery. Romano refuses to treat the man. Benton clashes with Romano over this decision. Chen divulges her pregnancy to Weaver. Kovac and Weaver are frustrated when the life partner of a comatose woman is unable to legally make a decision about the woman's care. Dr. Greene proposes to Corday and surprises her with a new house. Abby spends time with a couple and their extremely premature baby, who they are aware has only a few hours to live.
Romano vindictively terminates Benton after being fined for a matter that Benton reported to the county inspector. Abby and Kovac share a kiss. Malucci insists on finding out the father of Chen's baby. Carter takes care of an amazingly competent young paraplegic. An accident at a science-fiction convention sends an eccentric group of patients into the ER. And a new desk clerk causes trouble by telephoning his policeman friend and having patients arrested for outstanding warrants.
Benton is unable to find a job after Romano negatively influences local hospitals. He reluctantly agrees to accept Romano's demeaning offer of a per diem job at County with no benefits. Kovac and Abby are attacked by a mugger with a steel pipe. Injured, Kovac protects Abby and smashes the robber's head on the ground repeatedly. Later, the man dies in the emergency room. Benton's sister, Jackie, worries about the dangerous teenagers that her son, Jesse, is associating with through his girlfriend.
Greene flies in a helicopter to a remote area of Indiana to rescue a heart transplant patient. The helicopter develops problems, and Greene arranges for paramedics to transport the patient to County. Because Weaver is gone for the day, Romano appoints Benton in charge of the ER. Kovac is plagued by the death of the mugger. Abby comforts Kovac and makes love with him. Carter treats a teenage boy who is unaware that he is HIV positive.
Corday rushes through a surgical procedure in order to take off on a romantic weekend with Greene. She is later called back to the hospital after her patient suffers complications. Abby's mother, Maggie (SALLY FIELD), who suffers from bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) and refuses to take her medication, unexpectedly visits Abby at the hospital and wreaks havoc on Abby's life. Benton's nephew dies from a gunshot wound. Chen decides that she will give her baby up for adoption after it is born.
Tests reveal that Greene has a brain tumor, but he hides the news from Corday. Corday finds out that she is being sued for malpractice. She also reveals to Greene that she is pregnant. Abby's mother refuses to leave. Abby expresses resentment over her difficult childhood to her mother but resignedly brings her home for Thanksgiving dinner. Weaver shares an intimate dinner with a female psychologist from the hospital. The psychologist reveals that she is a lesbian.
Maggie's emotional instability worsens. She refuses her medication, becomes combative and flees the hospital. Abby finds solace with Kovac. The gang member girlfriend of Benton's deceased nephew knows who killed the dead boy who was hated for his antigang stance. Corday undergoes questioning in a malpractice suit and lies under oath to hide her error. Greene finds out that his brain tumor is malignant and inoperable, giving him eight weeks to live. He is forced to reveal his devastating news to Corday.
Chen gives birth, but insists on breastfeeding the infant before she gives it to the adoptive parents. Greene and Corday consult a brain specialist in New York City who believes the tumor can be safely removed. Stressed and tired, Carter impulsively swallows two painkiller pills but intentionally vomits them. He confesses to Abby. After Legaspi receives a gift from Weaver, Legaspi confesses she wants more than friendship from her and kisses her.
An overbearing father (JAMES BELUSHI) is guilt-ridden after injuring his son in a car accident. But the accident is a result of the father's undetected heart condition, and he undergoes heart bypass surgery. In New York City, Corday comforts Greene as a brain specialist removes the tumor. Although Greene experiences a minor seizure, the operation is a success. The gang members who killed Benton's nephew receive a 10-year sentence.
Benton and Cleo clash over his deceased nephew's girlfriend. They finally agree to call a social worker. Benton confesses his love to Cleo. The spinal surgery malpractice suit is settled by employing a technicality: the equipment used was later recalled by the manufacturer. But Corday now doubts her abilities as a surgeon. A bishop (JAMES CROMWELL) becomes interested in Kovac's faith. After receiving a splendid review from Weaver, Carter finally admits he almost violated his drug treatment. Weaver confesses to Legaspi that she is romantically interested in her.
Greene returns to work but confuses words and displays uncharacteristic anger. Eager to get out of his per diem situation, Benton agrees to a full time position. Carter visits his cousin, who became paralyzed after a drug overdose. A workplace disaster results in numerous injuries and fatalities among illegal immigrants. Corday regains her self confidence after she successfully performs a difficult surgery. After an unpleasant day, Weaver finds comfort with her new lover, Legaspi.
Weaver becomes concerned about Greene's cognitive skills and surrepticiously calls for an official evaluation of his competency. Corday plans her wedding to Greene. Bishop Stewart (JAMES CROMWELL) returns, and Kovacs realizes the man has a terrible disease. Dateless for a charity function, Carter invites Abby to attend with him. Kovac pretends he's not jealous. While there, Abby has a terrible encounter with her ex-husband and his young girlfriend.
As the new director of diversity, Benton studies medical school applications and discovers that his own academic record did not qualify him--he was admitted because of affirmative action. Weaver feels uncomfortable amongst Legaspi's lesbian friends. Carter treats an unvaccinated child who contracted measles. Kovac undergoes an epiphany as he administers to the terminally ill Bishop Stewart. An investigator recommends extensive physical and mental compentency tests for Greene.
In the series' 150th episode, a massive train wreck mobilizes the emergency room doctors. Corday, Carter and Kovac rush to the scene. Corday falls and injures her back, bringing on contractions in only her 25th week of pregnancy. While amputating the legs of a fallen firefighter, Corday stops because of her pain. She accompanies an injured boy and rides back to the hospital in a helicopter. Meanwhile, Carter finished the amputations. Abby helps the contractions safely subside. The bishop helps Kovac reconcile with his past before the bishop dies.
Weaver fears for her own reputation when Legaspi is accused of sexual harassment. Afraid to reveal her relationship with Legaspi--for both personal and professional reasons--Weaver fails to support her during the investigation. An infant is abducted from the hospital and later found on a train platform. Greene and Corday are overjoyed by his competency assessment: Greene is deemed capable of working.
A demented patient causes a shootout in the emergency room. After terrorizing people in the ER with a gun, she gets shot by a policeman. She soon dies. Benton later discover her dementia was caused by an aftereffect of his surgery that he and Cleo should have detected. Carter pursues a cute intern. After a particularly long surgery, Corday decides to take her maternity leave. And April Fool's pranks abound in the ER.
Numerous mishaps threaten to mar Corday and Greene's wedding day. As the very pregnant Corday becomes increasingly agitated, the presence of her bickering divorced parents does little to improve her mood. With the intense rain, Greene has a difficult time making it to the church. But, evenutally, he arrives and they joyfully wed. The emergency room is inundated with female prisoners whose bus crashed.
Abby and Carter travel to Oklahoma to rescue Abby's mentally ill mother (SALLY FIELD) and bring her back to Chicago. In Chicago, Maggie suffers from a sleeping pills overdose. At County General, Kovac frantically revives her. Benton treats a college student injured in a fraternity prank. Benton also treats his former high school teacher, who first awakened his interest in science. Corday gives birth to a beautiful girl, Ella.
Maggie contests Abby's attempt to institutionalize her. Weaver treats a few bizarre patients. When Legaspi returns to work after being exonerated of sexual harassment, Weaver tries to reconcile with her. Benton injures his hand while transporting his former teacher to the hospital and must contend with the teacher's wisecracking elderly buddies (TOM BOSLEY and TOM POSTON). Carter treats a young woman who is bleeding profusely. Carter is outraged when he learns that the patient's boyfriend secretly gave her herbs to induce a miscarriage.
Cleo and Carla clash after Reese gets hurt while in Cleo's care. Weaver and Kovac cannot save the life of a developmentally challenged woman's only caregiver. Abby goes to a therapy session with Maggie. Later, Abby confesses to Maggie that she is afraid to bear children because they might be bipolar like her mother. Weaver tells both Carter and Chen that they will not be chief resident next year. Weaver is hurt to learn that Legaspi is already dating another woman. And Greene has a 7-year-old child abuse victim placed in protective custody, infuriating the boy's father Derek Fossen.
Cleo breaks a vial of AIDS-tainted blood, which pierces her skin. Carter gives Chen a good peer review and applies for a job elsewhere. Kovac submits Abby's application to reenter medical school without informing her. A rampaging gunman kills and injures over one dozen children and adults. Greene realizes the killer is Derek Fossen, the father of the little boy Greene had placed in protective custody. The vengeful Fossen killed his son's foster caretakers and shot a cab driver en route to his next destination--Greene's house. But police wound Fossen and bring him to County General. Greene transports Fossen to surgery. Alone with the conscious but restrained mass murderer in an elevator, Greene purposely allows him to go into cardiac arrest and die.
When Anspaugh decides to retire as chief of staff and return to surgery, he appoints Romano as his replacement. Greene expresses reservations about the decision, but Weaver does not support Greene. Romano makes Weaver the new chief of emergency medicine. Carter has a rendezvous with Elaine Nichols (REBECCA DE MORNAY), the former wife of one of Carter's cousins. Jeanie and Dr. Cleo Finch treat an end-stage AIDS patient whose 9-month-old son is also HIV positive. Jeanie's boyfriend, police officer Reggie Moore, proposes marriage. Croatian transplant Dr. Luka Kovac impresses Hathaway with the gentle way he treats a young patient. Benton and Carla attend a meeting with a family mediator concerning their son, Reese. Greene's mother dies.
After his mother's funeral, Dr. Greene comforts his father (JOHN CULLUM) in San Diego. In Chicago, Romano surprises Corday by appointing her associate chief of surgery. Corday treats Elaine, Carter's lover, for breast cancer. Elaine becomes furious when Carter discovers her secret. After hearing that the AIDS-infected mother of the Ortega baby died, Jeanie volunteers to become his foster parent but gets rejected. She realizes she really wants to marry Reggie. A vindictive Carla tells Benton that Reese may not be his son. Greene returns from his mother's funeral and argues with Weaver over the wishes of a dying patient.
A recommendation from Weaver allows Jeanie to have temporary approval as a foster parent for baby Carlos. Reggie and Jeanie get married. Lucy and Kovac talk with a young woman whose husband they believe is very dangerous. Benton starts to wonder if he should get a DNA test to prove his paternity. Corday successfully performs a mastectomy on Elaine. Weaver introduces Greene to Dr. Gabriel Lawrence (ALAN ALDA), a distinguished-looking physician reputed to be a founding father of emergency medicine. Weaver hires him without consulting Greene. Greene and Corday have sex together for the first time.
Hathaway befriends an out-of-work waitress, Meg (MARTHA PLIMPTON ). Seven-months pregnant, Meg cannot afford prenatal care. Hathaway invites her to the hospital, performs free tests and helps her interview for a job in the cafeteria. Lucy notices that Lawrence's memory is failing. A four-year-old girl that Cleo misdiagnosis dies.
A prank in a high school science class goes terribly awry, injuring a teacher and several students. Hathaway discovers Meg's drug addiction. Weaver and Greene notice Lawrence gets easily confused. Dr. Dave Malucci, an obnoxious second year resident, treats a girl with a facial burn. Elaine returns to the hospital and tells Carter that she's leaving the country to recover after her upcoming breast reconstruction surgery. Later, Carter visits Elaine at home and proves he still finds her sexually desirable.
Benton informs Carla that he is Reese's father no matter what. Jeanie resigns because she wants to stay home and take care of her son. Greene and Weaver use a fake patient to convince Lawrence that he needs help. Lawrence resigns. Hathaway has Meg arrested in an effort to get her off of drugs. Hathaway's co-workers give her a party for the babies.
Weaver tries to save the life of a rape victim while Corday struggles with feelings of disdain as she is forced to save the rapist. Cleo treats a teenage alcoholic boy whose alcoholic mother refuses to recognize her problem or his. Lawrence treats his last patient. Weaver offers Kovac a permanent position as Dr. Lawrence's replacement. Hathaway visits Meg and her new baby in the hospital jail.
Complications arise as Hathaway delivers twins, Tess and Kate. Greene, Hathaway's Lamaze coach, rushes to the hospital to be with her during the delivery, leaving a disappointed Elizabeth to spend Thanksgiving alone with Greene's father and Rachel. Nurse Abby Lockhart (MAURA TIERNEY) helps with the births. Malucci impresses Carter with his knowledge of a strange ailment and admits he attended a less-than-stellar medical school in Grenada.