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ER - Season 6

ER - Season 6

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BEING a die-hard fan of Casualty, ER came as something of a shock. For after the relative calm of Holby, the frenetic pace of Chicago County General left me breathless and, I must confess, more than a little sceptical. I mean, are they really that fast?

There was, however, something about it that made me stick with it and over the years, I became addicted – though probably for reasons I shouldn’t commit to paper.

Now, for all of you similarly afflicted, Season 6 is available to buy on DVD; and if, like me, you’ve forgotten story-lines, here’s a brief reminder.

Season 6 sees the departure of Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) who, after the birth of twin girls, heads off to Seattle and into the arms of Doug Ross, the delectable George Clooney who actually puts in a brief appearance.

It’s also the end of the road for Lucy (Kellie Martin). In a particularly shocking episode entitled Be Still My Heart, both she and Carter (Noah Wyle) are stabbed. And although Carter survives, the repercussions have a far-reaching effect on his life.

And there are new characters too. When Carol goes into labour (Great Expectations), she is cared for by part-time OB nurse/third year med student , Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney) who subsequently begins her ER rotation in an episode that cleverly borrows its title from the Beatles album, Abbey Road.

Two new doctors also put in an appearance – Cleo Finch (Michael Michele), a paedriatric resident; and Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic), a Croatian moonlighting in the ER.

Visnjic was, in fact, the first Croatian actor to star in an American television programme; and was chosen for the role by executive producer Jack Orman who saw him in Welcome to Sarajevo.

Even so, it was largely down to Orman’s wife who, Orman noticed, stopped what she was doing whenever Visnjic was on screen…..

Season 6 also sees the man you love to hate, Romano (Paul McCrane) become Chief of Staff; Weaver (Laura Innes) take on the role of Chief of ER; and Alan Alda guest in just five episodes as attending physician, Gabriel Lawrence, whose career is cut short by the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Together with issues such as breast cancer (Rebecca DeMornay guests as the young woman with the disease), anorexia, the harvesting of organs, sexual abuse, lung cancer (in this instance, Greene’s father is the victim in a storyline that is handled with both humour and sensitivity), plus the thorny issue of health care insurance, it’s easy to see why ER is such a success.