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ER, Season 8

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ALTHOUGH Season 13 of the popular American medical drama ER has recently concluded in Britain, Season 8 is now available on DVD. So come – let’s take a trip down memory lane….to the days of Carter (Noah Wyle), Benton (Eriq La Salle), Romano (Paul McCrane), Corday (Alex Kingston), Greene (Anthony Edwards) and Maluccu (Erik Palladino) – yes, I bet you’d forgotten him!!

However, Season 8 will probably be best remembered for the departure of Greene who’d been with the series since its inception and whose death from a brain tumour was sensitively played out in the penultimate episode On the Beach.

All in all, it was tough ride for Greene. Rachel, his wayward daughter, turned up unexpectedly (Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic) and almost immediately caused friction between her father and Corday. And when Ella (Greene and Corday’s baby daughter) was rushed to the ER after swallowing some of Rachel’s Ecstasy (Damage Is Done) Corday upped and left.

The pair were briefly reunited in Hawaii, Greene’s childhood home and the one place he thought might favourably influence Rachel – rightly so, as it turned out. The end, however, was inevitable and unashamedly moving; silent but for the subdued strains of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Malucci also departed – unceremoniously sacked by Weaver (Laura Innes) after she’d caught him in a compromising situation with a paramedic in the back of an ambulance! And stupid as he sometimes was, he nonetheless had Weaver sussed. Why else would he have called her a “Nazi dyke”?

Weaver’s coming out was, however, only a matter of time. Even so, it was forced upon her by ‘girlfriend’ Sandy Lopez (Lisa Vidal) who confronted her in the ER before brazenly kissing her in front of colleagues (A River in Egypt).

Also off to pastures new, in their case a suburb 40 minutes from Chicago, were Cleo (Michael Michele) and Benton; a move that followed Benton’s successful (in spite of a DNA test confirming he wasn’t the biological father) custody battle for Reese (I’ll Be Home for Christmas).

Season 8 did, of course, see the start of the Abby (Maura Tierney), Carter, Kovac (Goran Visnjic) triangle. Only Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) temporarily threatened its equilibrium by daring to indulge in a brief dalliance with Carter whose personal and professional lives collided when his beloved grandmother was brought into the ER following a fall. (Start all Over Again).

And then there was the messy little business of Nicole (the waitress with immigration problems from Luka’s favourite bar – you know, the one he tried to help!) and the abortion; not to mention Abby’s misguided involvement with her feuding neighbours which resulted in her sustaining a broken nose. And remember, Abby was still a nurse at this juncture.

Frenetically paced as always, Season 8 also delivered its share of uncompromising cases – an ectopic pregnancy, self-circumcision (ouch!), heroine injections via a portable catheter, a meningoccal outbreak, a bride allergic to her husband’s sperm and, in the season finale, two cases of suspected smallpox.

All of which is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. But whichever way you look at it, as trips down memory lane go, this is one that is certainly worth taking.