Samantha (vanillabean) wrote in _er_,

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yahoo's 15 most dramatic er moments

After 15 years of excitement, romance, mishaps, and miracles, the longest-running primetime medical series in television history, "ER," comes to an end this month. Though the cast may look a lot different than it did 15 years ago and a good chunk of the show's fan base has moved on, a trip down memory lane quickly reminds us why we fell in love with "ER" a decade and a half ago. Long before DVRs and TiVos, during the heyday of NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV," "ER" became appointment viewing -- an hour of greatness that delivered some of the best drama we've ever witnessed, some of the most fascinating and flawed characters in fiction, and some of our fondest TV memories. No topic was off limits and, season after season, the series managed to use the patients and staff of Chicago's County General Hospital to drive home how controversial issues, from war to abortion to AIDS to child abuse, were more than just stories on the front page; they impacted real people every day. To pay homage to the departing series and to celebrate the end of an unforgettable era, we've compiled a list of the top 15 most dramatic moments that made "ER" the standout series that it was.

15. Though it wasn't the perfect relationship, every "ER" fan was rooting for nurse Carol Hathaway and Dr. Doug Ross to make it as a couple. But when he took off for Seattle in the middle of the fifth season and Carol stayed behind (and eventually learned she was pregnant with twins), the prognosis wasn't good. Though Carol attempted to raise the babies on her own and even tried dating someone else -- another hunk, Dr. Luka Kovac -- it was clear her heart belonged to Doug. At the end of the sixth season, with little notice to her colleagues, she took off for Seattle where she found a rugged-looking, but hot-as-ever Doug thrilled to see her (as indicated by their passionate kiss). And as we learned from the recent "Old Times" episode, the couple truly did live happily ever after, just like we wanted. ("Such Sweet Sorrow," 5/11/2000)

14. Since Dr. Luka Kovac had already asked fellow doctor Abby Lockhart to marry him once before and didn't exactly get the answer he was looking for, there was only one way to pull this off. After all, the two did have a son together and seemed like they planned on being together forever, so why not make it official… even if the bride hasn't agreed? When Chief of Staff Kovac was charged with throwing an annual staff dinner, everyone was surprised at what a nice party it was. (Ice sculptures! Open bar!) But the real surprise came when it turned out Luka had actually arranged for his and Abby's wedding, going so far as having a wedding dress he knew Abby liked ready and waiting. After some hesitation -- not to mention shock -- Abby did indeed agree to let Luka make an honest woman out of her once and for all. ("I Don't," 5/3/2007)

13. After Carla, the mother of Dr. Peter Benton's son, Reese, died in a tragic car accident, a vicious custody battle for the child erupted between Benton and Carla's recently widowed husband, Roger. As Reese's devoted dad, Peter undoubtedly had the upper hand… until the eighth episode of the eighth season when the results of a disturbing DNA test revealed an ugly and unfathomable truth: Peter wasn't Reese's biological father! The shocking news sent Peter into a tailspin… and kept viewers interested in the then past-its-prime program for the remainder of the season. ("Partly Cloudy, Chance of Rain," 11/15/2001)

12. It's no secret that nurse Sam Taggart's ex, the father of her son, is no good. Besides getting Sam pregnant at 15, the guy was a criminal who'd landed himself in jail. But his most deplorable actions began on the Season 12 finale, when, after being treated for wounds sustained from a prison fight, he and some fellow prisoners shot up the ER and took Sam and her son, Alex, hostage. Things took an even more gruesome turn on the 13th-season premiere. With Alex asleep in the car, Steve insisted he wanted his family back before raping a frightened Sam. Later, with Steve passed out on the ground, Sam managed to make it back to the car with the intention of escaping. But before she left, she decided to finally take her revenge. In a gripping scene, Sam grabbed her sleazy ex's gun and shot him dead at point-blank range before fleeing with her son and never looking back. ("Bloodline," 9/21/2006)

11. After a season-long romance, nurse Abby Lockhart and Dr. John Carter were getting pretty serious. He'd been by her side as she dealt with her troubled family and he even told her mom he wanted Abby to be his wife. But the couple's relationship came to an abrupt end while Carter was in Africa for a second time. (His first trip was for a medical mission and his second was to track down an assumed-dead Dr. Kovac). John not only sent Abby a "Dear John" letter while abroad, but eventually returned to County General with his beautiful new African girlfriend -- who also happened to be pregnant with his baby. If that doesn't say "we're broken up," nothing does! ("Touch and Go," 1/8/2004)

10. It was a tragic situation that mirrored what thousands of American military families were facing in their own lives: Dr. Michael Gallant, an Army reservist who had been deployed again to Iraq shortly after marrying his County General colleague, Dr. Neela Rasgotra, died in a roadside bomb explosion. But the most painful scene came when Neela spotted the soldiers who had come to the ER to deliver the news… and knew what had happened before they even spoke a word. A video Michael had recorded for Neela in the event of his death only upset her more, and the guilt and confusion she felt over her prior flirtations, her anger at Michael for going back to Iraq, and her mixed feelings about the war gave viewers a glimpse at the searing and complicated pain that comes with losing a loved one in the service. ("The Gallant Hero and the Tragic Victor," 5/11/2006)

9. Luka and Abby's marriage didn't exactly start off on the right foot. After their surprise wedding, the couple's honeymoon had to be canceled when Luka learned that his father had fallen ill in Croatia on the Season 13 finale. By the time Season 14 picked up, Abby was at the end of her rope caring for baby Joe all alone, which prompted the recovering alcoholic to hit the bottle again. She finally lost it after Luka refused her requests to leave his dad and return home, and after several after-work drinks on a steamy night with her nemesis Dr. Moretti, Abby did the unthinkable and ended up sleeping with him. Viewers couldn't help cringing when Abby woke up in a panic after blacking out in Moretti's bed, and realized she was in jeopardy of losing just about everything. ("Blackout," 11/8/2007)

8. Towards the end of the 13th season, Ray (Shane West) got drunk and started a fight with Dr. Gates over Neela at Luka and Abby’s wedding. After Ray stormed out, Neela broke up with Gates and called Ray, who looked down at his phone as he stumbled into the street and was immediately hit by an oncoming truck. We didn't know the extent of Ray's injuries until the season's finale when Neela visited him in the hospital only to find that he was missing both of his legs from the knees down. Even though the image of a legless Ray was shockingly gruesome, it was definitely unforgettable and achingly memorable. ("I Don't," 5/3/2007 and "The Honeymoon Is Over," 5/17/2007)

7. Who would dare leave TV's top-rated show at the height of its popularity? What about $70,000 per episode? Nobody, right? Well, nobody… except for Sherry Stringfield. When Stringfield's character, Dr. Susan Lewis, hopped a midnight train to Phoenix, leaving a distraught Dr. Greene standing all alone on the platform, she sent shockwaves through the ER and through the television industry. Luckily for Dr. Lewis' fans (and for Sherry Stringfield's personal bank account), she returned to the show in the fourth episode of Season 8, mere months before her former flame, Dr. Greene, succumbed to brain cancer. ("Union Station," 11/21/1996)

6. Midway through the show's sixth season, Dr. Carter was stabbed by a schizophrenic patient in an exam room and as he fell to the ground he saw (as did the audience) that intern Lucy Knight had already been stabbed too. Seeing Carter and Lucy lying in pools of their own blood, unable to call out for help, and wordlessly gazing at each other while the County General staff is happily celebrating Valentine's Day just beyond the door in the lobby was arguably one of the most haunting and powerful moments of the series. The following episode, which garnered 39.4 millon viewers (the highest rated episode of the season), found all the doctors fighting desperately to save Lucy and Carter's lives. And when they were unable to save Lucy, we saw a tender side of Dr. Romano as he ushered the nurses aside and sewed her up himself. Absolutely heartbreaking. ("Be Still My Heart," 2/10/2000 and "All in the Family," 2/17/2000)

5. We never got too much information on hard-nosed Dr. Kerry Weaver's love life during the first several seasons of the show. She had a boyfriend here and there, but always seemed more in love with her work than any man. We eventually discovered why: Dr. Weaver was actually gay. The revelation was hardest on Kerry herself, who at first resisted advances from the Amazonian psychiatrist Dr. Kim Legaspi, but eventually found herself in love with her gorgeous colleague, though she kept their relationship a secret. Ironically, Kerry first came out of the closet to the homophobic Dr. Romano during the seventh season in order to get him to stop discriminating against Kim. Though Kerry and Kim couldn't make it work, Kerry moved on to a serious relationship with firefighter Sandy Lopez, had a son, Henry, with her, and eventually faced blatant discrimination herself when Sandy's parents tried to take Henry away from Kerry after Sandy died. ("Rampage," 5/17/2001)

4. Midway through the second season, Dr. Doug Ross was considering a private practice position following a violations-of-ethics charge and numerous battles with his boss, the chief of pediatrics. However, the heartthrob changed his mind after he rescued a drowning boy from a storm drain, while a local TV crew captured and broadcast the nail-biting footage. That night, not only did Doug become the emergency room's resident hero, the insanely dramatic episode garnered 42 million viewers for NBC (a Season 2 high!) and solidified George Clooney's status as THE star of the show. ("Hell and High Water," 11/9/1995)

3. After learning that her husband, Al, was HIV-positive, the soft-spoken physician assistant Jeanie Boulet, and the man she was cheating on Al with, Dr. Peter Benton, both got tested. Peter's test was negative. Jeanie's wasn't. The news led to plenty of questions and controversy for seasons to come. Was Jeanie obligated to tell her higher-ups at County General? Did they have the right to limit what kind of procedures she could perform? And how should Jeanie have dealt with her husband who put her life in jeopardy? That storyline proved early on that "ER" wasn't afraid to explore tough issues and show viewers that people don't always react in politically-correct ways. ("Dr. Carter, I Presume?" 9/26/1996)

2. Love him or hate him (or love to hate him!), the crass and offensive Dr. Romano, who butted heads with nearly all of his colleagues, was one heck of a surgeon. But his career hit a major roadblock during the ninth-season premiere when he accidentally got his arm caught in a helicopter rotor while trying to evacuate patients. Though it was surgically reattached and prosthetics helped him operate again, it seems helicopters weren't about to let the crabby doctor off that easy. The following season, a chopper crashed on the roof of County General and promptly fell to the ground, crushing Romano to death in the ambulance bay. For once, the surgeon full of biting zingers didn't get in the last word. ("Chaos Theory," 9/26/2002 and "Death and Taxes," 11/13/2003)

1. It was perhaps the most emotional episode in the history of the series when viewers who had come to love the caring Dr. Mark Greene over the past eight years had to say farewell to the good doctor who had been with the series since the beginning. With his marriage on the rocks, a new baby at home, his teen daughter Rachel spiraling out of control, and a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Dr. Greene spent his last days in Hawaii, the place he'd grown up, where he tried his best to teach Rachel life lessons and work things out with wife Elizabeth. As he became weaker, he said his goodbyes before dying peacefully in a house on the beach, far from the chaotic hospital that had become his home, prompting tears from viewers around the world. ("On the Beach," 5/9/2002)


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