Pros: casting remains tight, scripts are complete, continuity
Cons: none for me
The Bottom Line: Michael Crichton 10/23/42 - 11/4/08
We are now up to ER - Season 9, with even more dramatic changes taking place. Many faces are still familiar but new ones always arrive, along with their problems and quirks. As always, there is a constant stream of guest stars on ER, along with a constant stream of the bizarre and unusual in the emergency room of County General, Chicago.
Season 9 episodes include: Chaos Theory: We left season 8 with a lockdown in the ER, ending in an evacuation. However, Abby, Carter, Chen, Pratt, and returning drunk Stan continue to be quarantined. With the evacuation in process, Luka and Romano are on the roof, arguing about whose patient is more critical and needs evacuated by the one helicopter. Demanding his way, as usual, Romano rushes forward - or, rather, stumbles backward, and into the tail rotor of the helicopter. Suddenly we know which patient is the more critical, Dr. Romano. His arm is severed at the elbow and surgery reattaches the arm but recovery is slow going. Elizabeth, after Mark’s death, has moved back to England and is working with her father but finds she is no longer comfortable in English shoes and they don’t care much for her American ways either, so she returns to Chicago. Dead Again: One of the other ER’s in town has closed, causing an overflow at County General, which greets not only the new wave of med students but also Elizabeth who has returned to her former position. Romano continues to suffer through physical therapy and Kerry is acting stranger than ever. Insurrection: A teen comes to the ER suffering from end-stage Huntington’s and is treated by Dr. Lewis, who forms a unique bond with him. Abby’s brother, Eric, an Air Force traffic controller, makes a sudden appearance. Pratt ticks off a guy looking for a drug fix who returns with a gun, demanding his treatment. Abby gives him the shot, at gunpoint, but deliberately OD’s him. Carter, remembering his own brush with death a few years back, stages a walk-out, demanding better security.
Walk Like a Man: Kerry makes an error on live TV, using the same needle on two patients, and covers it up. Later Susan and Abby find her in the bathroom with a syringe. She finally confesses to Susan she is taking hormones, trying to get pregnant. Luka gets caught, again, with a patient’s mother, in a compromising position.
A Hopeless Wound: Elizabeth has a new surgical med student, Paul Nathan, played by Don Cheadle, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Not the best thing for a surgeon, I would think. Romano’s recovery looks hopeless and he confesses to Elizabeth how he feels about her. Luka continues to work his way through the female population of the hospital, causing more problems.
One Can Only Hope: This episode has everyone at odds with each other; Elizabeth and student Paul, Abby, her brother Eric, and Luka, Pratt and Chen.
Tell Me Where It Hurts: Abby has concerns when Eric disappears and discovers he is AWOL. She enlists Gallant, who is currently still active in the service, to help locate his whereabouts. Carter and Chen treat a young Chinese nanny who they think was molested by her employer. Kerry discovers she is pregnant.
First Snowfall: Abby and her mother, Maggie, search for Eric and argue about his treatment after Abby obtains his medical records illegally and discovers he has the same disorder as Maggie. Elizabeth comes to terms, and understanding, of Paul’s situation and offers him advise.
Next of Kin: Luka treats an elderly woman and forms a bond with her, with unexpected rewards. Chen is having bad memories about the baby she gave up for adoption and Pratt’s adopted brother, Leon, gets fired from his job, causing Pratt even more problems.
Hindsight: Luka has taken a liking to med student, Erin, with devastating results. At the Christmas party he confesses to Abby that he misses her.
A Little Help from My Friends: Pratt arrives at work, with a gun in tow, causing problems. Kerry plans to keep her pregnancy secret, but she miscarries and Abby and Susan help her through the crisis. An aging man arrives in cardiac arrest, followed closely by his young and attractive wife, demanding he makes a sperm deposit.
Saint in the City: When Alderman Bright has a fall and arrives at the ER, Kerry discovers he has syphilis. She treats him, on the QT, and he rewards her silence with a sizable grant for the hospital, earning her a promotion. Carter treats a feisty doctor, Dr. McNulty, played by Ed Asner. Leon continues to cause Pratt troubles.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Carter continues to treat Dr. McNulty who runs a free clinic downtown and even gives him a sizeable donation from the Carter Foundation. Could it be a scam? Romano is at the end of his mental and physical edge as the news of his recovery continues to get more negative. Abby discovers Carter is considering a trip to Africa with Luka for Doctors Without Borders.
No Strings Attached: Carter has gone to the sun for a well needed vacation and while gone receives news from Abby that Eric’s private plane is missing. Susan, fed up with blind dates, takes off to Las Vegas for the weekend.
A Boy Falling Out of the Sky: Maggie shows up at Abby’s apartment and they actually have some good discussions. Carter tells Abby he wants to marry her but gets to response. Kerry and Luka, always at odds, have a huge blow up and Luka walks out … again. Chen confesses to Pratt, who she has been seeing, about her son. Sean Simmons, the Huntington’s patient, returns with pneumonia and seeks out Susan.
A Thousand Cranes: Three people are murdered at the greasy spoon, Doc Magoo’s, across the street from the ER. While driving to work, Gallant and Pratt are profiled and treated roughly because they vaguely match the description of the suspects in the murder. Later the same police are brought into the ER, in an unrelated incident, and must be treated by Gallant and Pratt, much to their chagrin. Sean, who is dying, spends a few hours with Susan, living out some dreams he’ll never get to realize and tells her the story of the terminal cancer patient that made origami cranes after hearing a folk story about their healing powers.
The Advocate: Alderman Bright is back and blackmails Kerry into treating his lover, another man from his office, for syphilis. All on the QT of course. When he has an allergic reaction to the penicillin, Kerry hides the fact that she had treated him. Kerry is appointed Chief of Staff, replacing Romano, further displeasing him.
Finders Keepers: Luka pleads with Kerry to take on the case of a Croatian boy that needs heart surgery. Things come up missing round the ER, including Kerry’s cane. Pratt buys Chen a birthday gift from a street vendor, which gets him in trouble and, holy moly, Susan’s husband shows up in the ER. She met him and married him all in the same week in Las Vegas and he is an EMT from the helicopter crew.
Things Change: Eric finally calls Abby and Dr. Gordana Horvat, from Croatia, shows up with the ill child from Croatia and Luka manages to convince several doctors to donate their time to help him. Gallant and Pratt get their match letter - Gallant requested and received County General, Pratt got Northwestern. Romano has a serious discussion with Elizabeth about the viability of his arm and, while treating a patient, Carter receives news that his beloved Gamma has died. In true form, he finishes treating the patient.
Foreign Affairs: The funeral for Carter’s grandmother is interrupted by an erratic visit from Eric, Abby’s brother. Carter discovers Gamma has left the family foundation, and all it implies, in his care instead of his father’s. Susan, although they both say they are determined, seems to be having trouble ending her marriage to Chuck. Romano, tormented after his arm catches fire while he is preparing dinner, decides to have it removed. Luka stops by to tell Abby he is leaving and heads for the Congo to treat the helpless there.
When Night Meets Day: It’s Pratt’s last night at County and we watch it play out, interspersed with the same shift during the day for Carter. In the middle of it all, Doc Magoo’s burns down. Luka calls Carter from the Congo asking for help and Carter decides to go.
Kisangani: Carter goes to the Congo, joining Luka. He quickly discovers he ain’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy and things are much different there. While helping at a remote clinic doing immunizations, they are caught between two warring segments and must leave the clinic. Luka refuses to move his extremely ill patients and stays behind to tend them. Carter returns to Chicago and Abby.
And that is the wrap-up for Season 9. I started this journey back in March and now, 9 months later, I have reached season 9. Things change yet they remain the same. The cast and crew is still outstanding and the storylines are current and relevant. A lot of attention is given to detail in this series, making is more believable.
This season gave us different perspectives on our staff. Some have grown more secretative, like who knew Kerry could be so devious? Some have grown more introverted and question their profession, like Luka. After loosing his Grandmother, Carter seems more insecure about his future and what he wants to do with his life.
Abby continues to wallow in one confusing situation after another with her family and Susan and her hubby Chuck have been a real high point of humor. I see Pratt, who decided not to leave County after all, move more toward a leadership role.
I enjoy the high drama of this series, the constant action. I remember, centuries ago, when the series first started I thought, this is way too busy, too much going on. Now I embrace the bustle and activity of the show. The continuity of the series remains complete and most stories, although we may not like the ending, are resolved.
Nothing's slowed down in this ninth season of ER, as the show's addictive mix of pulse-pounding medical procedures and personal dilemmas continue to reverberate through Chicago's County General Hospital. Things start off with a bang as a smallpox outbreak causes pandemonium among the staff. As the series progresses, Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) begins a love affair that may bite him in the back, while Dr. Kovac's (Goran Visnjic) hard-partying off-duty also starts to catch up with him. Meanwhile, there's much relief when the doctors learn that the abrasive Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) will soon be leaving the ER--that is, until Dr. Roman (Paul McCrane) steps in to fill her shoes. Split-second decisions, institutional battles, and human tragedy--it's all part of a day's work in this ninth season of the long-running medical drama.