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Chicago Hope
Chicago Hope.jpg
Chicago Hope cast photo
Genre Medical Drama
Serial Drama
Created by David E. Kelley
Written by David E. Kelley
David Amann
and more...
Starring Mandy Patinkin
Héctor Elizondo
Vondie Curtis-Hall
Barbara Hershey
Christine Lahti
Peter Berg
Mark Harmon
Thomas Gibson
Rocky Carroll
Adam Arkin
Jayne Brook
E. G. Marshall
Opening theme Theme from Chicago Hope
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 141 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Henry Bromwell
Bill D'Elia
David E. Kelley
John Tinker
Location(s) Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
Cinematography James R. Bagdonas
Running time approx. 42–44 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
David E. Kelley Productions
Distributor CBS
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run September 28, 1994 – May 4, 2000
Related shows House, MD

Chicago Hope is an American medical drama series created by David E. Kelley that ran from September 18, 1994 to May 5, 2000. It takes place in a fictional private charity hospital.



The show stars Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, a hot shot surgeon with emotional issues stemming from the psychiatric condition of his wife (Kim Greist) who drowned their infant son. Adam Arkin plays Patinkin's colleague and best friend. Peter MacNicol and Hector Elizondo feature as the house counsel and director of medicine, respectively. Christine Lahti joined in the second season as a talented cardiac surgeon with a feminist chip on her shoulder who vies with Geiger for the chief of surgery position.


The pilot episode of Chicago Hope was broadcast the day before NBC's ER in a special Sunday 8pm slot. After the first week, however, the two Chicago-based hospital dramas went 'head to head' in their primetime Thursday night slot. ER was the victor: its first season proved a ratings winner. Despite receiving critical acclaim, Chicago Hope was shuffled to Thursdays, and ultimately Monday nights in 1995 in a bid for higher ratings, while ER stayed in the same time slot.

The show stayed in that slot and performed well with ratings peaking at 11.9 and 20 shares. In the second season, however, Kelley and Patinkin decided to leave the show and Chicago Hope began its slow march toward cancellation. The show was moved to Wednesdays at 10pm in 1997 to make room for the Steven Bochco drama, Brooklyn South, on Mondays. In 1999, both Kelley and Patinkin returned with a revamped cast including newcomers Barbara Hershey and Lauren Holly but excluding Lahti, Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Stacy Edwards. They also moved the show back to Thursday nights against NBC's Frasier and ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; however, this proved too daunting a task, and the show was canceled in May 2000.

In the UK, seasons 1 and 2 originally aired on BBC One. More recently, all seasons of the show have been shown on ITV3. Starting on September 3, 2007, it began airing on Zone Romantica in the UK and Ireland.

Nielsen ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Chicago Hope.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Timeslot° Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st Thursday 10:00PM September 18, 1994 May 22, 1995 1994–1995 #29 11.161[1]
2nd Monday 10:00PM September 18, 1995 May 20, 1996 1995–1996 #24 11.412[2]
3rd Monday 10:00PM September 16, 1996 May 19, 1997 1996–1997 #30 10.185[3]
4th Wednesday 10:00PM October 1, 1997 May 13, 1998 1997–1998 #39 8.9
5th Wednesday 10:00PM September 30, 1998 May 19, 1999 1998–1999 #73 9.9
6th Thursday 9:00PM September 23, 1999 May 4, 2000 1999–2000 TBA TBA

°Times listed are in ET


With the exception of some infrequent on-location scenes, the vast majority of Chicago Hope was filmed on sound stages at the studios of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation located in the Century City area of Los Angeles.



Over its six seasons Chicago Hope was nominated for many accolades and won several, including seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.

Emmy awards

Year Award Recipient
1995 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mandy Patinkin
1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series Tim Suhrstedt for the episode "Over The Rainbow"
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for a Series Debi Manwiller
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Drama Series Jeremy Kagan for the episode "Leave Of Absence"
1997 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Hector Elizondo
1998 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Christine Lahti
1998 Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series Russell C. Fager, R. Russell Smith, and William Freesh for the episode "Brain Salad Surgery"


Chicago Hope has aired for six straight seasons and 141 episodes.


  • Many of the actors have appeared together in other TV shows since Chicago Hope. Three members of the show have been series regulars on the CBS hit show NCIS: Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Lauren Holly played Director Jenny Shepard, and Rocky Carroll plays Leon Vance, the new director after Holly's exit from the show. All three actors shared scenes together during the fifth season of NCIS. Jayne Brook guest starred in a season 4 episode once, sharing scenes with Harmon. Additionally, Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson worked together on the hit show Criminal Minds for two seasons. Vondie Curtis-Hall, Roma Maffia, and Roxanne Hart have all guest starred on that program, though Hart did not share scenes with Gibson. Stacy Edwards guest starred on both programs, and shared scenes with Mark Harmon on NCIS. Although she worked with both Patinkin and Gibson on Criminal Minds, they had only worked with her on Chicago Hope in the 100th episode, and Patinkin once more in the season 5 finale.
  • The name of the character that Stacy Edwards portrayed, Lisa Catera, is based on the phrase from the Cadillac commercials, "Lease a Catera".


  • The series broke a network television taboo by showing a teenager's breast after her character undergoes a reconstructive surgery. This was generally seen as relevant to the subject matter and went relatively uncriticized.
  • On November 18, 1999, Chicago Hope became the first regular series episode to be broadcast in HDTV.[4] The episode was entitled, "The Other Cheek".
  • Also, the series was the first to use the word "shit" on network television. It was spoken by Mark Harmon's character after a meeting, in which he says "shit happens"


  • Adam Arkin, Mandy Patinkin, and Christine Lahti (neurosurgeon Aaron Shutt, cardiothoracic surgeons Jeffrey Geiger and Dr. Kate Austin, respectively) all appeared in the 1991 film The Doctor.
  • The series has yet to be released on Region 1 DVD.

In Popular Culture

  • In the South Park episode "The Brown Noise," Kyle Broflowski asks Eric Cartman if he knows what he is thinking, to which Eric Cartman replies "that they should bring back Chicago Hope for another season?"
  • The show also appears once on Ally McBeal when Ling Woo turns on the television and says "Oooh! Chicago Hope" after a failed attempt at sexual intercourse with Richard Fish.

See also


External links

Simple English

Chicago Hope is a CBS Medical drama series created by David E. Kelley that ran from September 18, 1994, to May 4, 2000. It took place in a fictional private charity hospital.

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