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ER: The Complete Fourth Season
ER season 4.jpg
Series ER
Country of origin United States
Network NBC
Original run September 25, 1997 – May 14, 1998
No. of episodes 22
DVD release date December 20, 2005 (Widescreen, Boxset)
Previous season ER season 3
Next season ER season 5

The fourth season of the American fictional drama television series ER first aired on September 25, 1997 and concluded on May 14, 1998. The fourth season consists of 22 episodes.

Contents

Plot

Season four starts out with the live episode "Ambush", which is performed twice (once for the east coast, once for the west coast). This episode is seen through documentary cameras, which accounts for the lack of the normal film quality. In this episode, Dr. Morgenstern, head of the ER, has a heart attack, deeply threatening his life. Weaver has agreed to temporarily step in until he recovers. Unfortunately, when Morgenstern does come back, he cannot perform surgery like he used to do because he now knows what it is like to be a patient. After a surgical accident that takes a man's life, Morgenstern decides to permanently step down as head of the ER and he leaves the hospital.

Season four also sees two new characters: Dr. Anna Del Amico (who made a three-episode cameo at the end of season three) played by Maria Bello and a new British surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Corday, played by Alex Kingston. Corday came to America under the fellowship of Dr. Robert "Rocket" Romano (played by Paul McCrane), but their relationship sours towards the end of the season. After she rejects Romano when he asks her out, he decides not to renew her fellowship. She is forced to choose whether she moves back to England or stays in America as an intern. She chooses to be an intern.

Meanwhile, as Greene copes with his beating, he and Ross take a vacation to Arizona to bury Ross's dad. While there, Greene visits his own parents, where he finds out that his mother is sick, and his relationship with his dad is estranged, at best. Back in Chicago, he begins to date new ER desk clerk Cynthia Hooper (played by Mariska Hargitay). The relationship is purely physical, and when Greene has to visit his parents again later in the season, she comes along, only to realize that Greene does not love her. After the awkward breakup, Cynthia leaves, but Greene stays to better take care of his ailing mother and begin to mend his relationship with his father.

Ross and Hathaway get more serious as the season goes along. Ross surprises Hathaway and proposes to her in front of the ER staff, which she accepts. She later has commitment issues when she kisses a vulnerable paramedic. She tells Ross, and he reacts angrily. After a short time, Ross forgives her and tells her he will wait until she is ready to be married. In addition, Hathaway is able to open a free clinic in the ER with the help of Carter's grandmother. Plus, Ross vies for a pediatric attending position in the ER.

Benton finds out that his son is hearing impaired. When he finds this out, he seriously considers trying to get it repaired surgically. After meeting with hearing-impaired people, he decides against it. In the meantime, a lonely Corday starts a relationship with Benton, which cause friction with Benton's family and Carla because she is white.

Weaver attends a Synergix seminar to see how to better manage the ER. She begins to date a Synergix representative, Ellis West, who advises her to fire a physician's assistant, which happens to be Jeanie Boulet. Jeanie fights for her job, claiming that she is getting fired because of her HIV status, and wins. Weaver begins to see Synergix's dark side, and breaks up with West because she felt he was using her, effectively cutting off all ties with Synergix. During all of this, Jeanie's ex-husband/current partner Al is forced to reveal his HIV status. This gets him fired and forces him to look to Atlanta for a job, and he asks Jeanie to join him. Jeanie refuses, and Al leaves her. Later in the season, Jeanie cares for Anspaugh's dying son, because she is the only person able to get through to him. After he dies, Anspaugh feels much gratitude and remorse towards Jeanie because he was willing to fire her.

Carter pretends to be poor in order to get in Anna's good graces, which fails because she finds out he was lying to her. But, the two still become good friends, and she helps Carter help his cousin Chase detoxify from a heroin addiction. She had experience in the subject, considering her ex boyfriend went through a similar experience. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain, because Chase started using again, eventually crippling him for life. At the end of the season, Anna's boyfriend comes to the hospital to access the ER, to see if it is in need of a peds attending. Anna is still in love with him, and she leaves with him between seasons four and five (presumably because actress Maria Bello decided not to come back to the show).

Production

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Cast

Starring cast

Maria Bello made her final appearance in the season finale, "A Hole in the Heart", but her departure was explained in the next season opener in the episode "Day Meets Knight".

Supporting cast

Doctors and Medical Students:

Nurses:

Staff and Paramedics:

Other:

Crew

Original executive producers John Wells and Michael Crichton reprised their roles. Lydia Woodward also returned as an executive producer and writer. Carol Flint became a fourth executive producer. Flint was replaced as co-executive producer by Christopher Chulack. Chulack was previously a regular director and a producer for the third season. Paul Manning left his supervising producer role but remained involved with the series as an executive consultant. Longstanding crew members Lance Gentile and Neal Baer were promoted to producers for the fourth season. Third season co-producers Wendy Spence-Rosato and Penny Adams returned to their positions. Jack Orman and David Mills joined them as new co-producers and writers. Mills left the show mid-way through the season. Following his departure Adams was promoted to producer and Richard Thorpe and Michael Salamunovich joined the production team as co-producers. Thorpe had previously worked on the series as both a cinematographer and director. Salamunovich was the series unit production manager for the first three seasons and continued to fulfill this role as a co-producer. Michael Hissrich continued to serve as an associate producer. Manning, Hissrich and Gentile all left the crew with the close of the season.

The series executive producers took a back seat to new writers in the fourth season. Wells's writing role was limited to just two episodes. Woodward wrote a single episode. Manning wrote a further episode. Flint wrote two episodes. Baer wrote two episodes while Gentile wrote a single episode and continued to serve as the series medical consultant. New co-producer Jack Orman contributed to four episodes as a writer. Mills wrote two episodes before leaving the series. New writer Walon Green wrote three episodes. Third season regular writer Samantha Howard Corbin became a story editor and wrote three more episodes. She was promoted to executive story editor mid-season. New writer Linda Gase wrote two episodes. Joe Sachs returned as technical adviser and wrote a further episode.

Chulack continued to serve as the series most prominent director and helmed a further four episodes. Thorpe directed three more episodes. Charles Haid returned to the series for the first time since the first season to helm two episodes. New director Darnell Martin was the season's only other repeat director with two episodes. Other directors making their series debut with the fourth season were executive producer John Wells, Christopher Misiano, TR Babu Subramaniam and Sarah Pia Anderson. Regular directors returning to the series for single episodes include Jonathan Kaplan, Felix Enriquez Alcala, Lesli Linka Glatter and Thomas Schlamme. Starring cast member Anthony Edwards moved behind the camera to direct a further episode of the series. Editor Jacque Toberen and producer Lance Gentile each directed a single episode of the fourth season.

Episodes

"Series #" refers to the episode's number in the overall series, whereas "Season #" refers to the episode's number in this particular season.

Season # Series # Title Writer(s) Director Original airdate
1 70 "Ambush (Live episode)" Carol Flint Thomas Schlamme September 25, 1997 (1997-09-25)

A PBS camera crew invades the ER to film a documentary. A new British surgeon, Elizabeth Corday, uses unfamiliar medical terms. Dr. Morgenstern suffers from a heart attack.

First Appearance of Dr. Elizabeth Corday.

Note: There are two versions of this live episode (an "east coast" version and a "west coast" version). Only the "west coast" version appears in the main Season 4 DVD set, though the "east coast" version was bundled free with Season 4 DVD sets sold by Target.[1]

Note: Nielsen Ratings: 42.7 million viewers (highest rated of season four)[citation needed] 
2 71 "Something New" Lydia Woodward Christopher Chulack October 2, 1997 (1997-10-02)
Still suffering emotionally from his beating, Greene misdiagnoses his cases. Benton and Carla finally name their son, who is recovering from his premature birth. Hathaway and Ross continue their secret affair. Carter deals with the loss of his seniority due to his move from surgery to the ER. 
3 72 "Friendly Fire" Walon Green Félix Enríquez Alcalá October 9, 1997 (1997-10-09)
Jeanie's ex-husband is forced to reveal his HIV-positive status to his employer and loses his job. Weaver is named the temporary replacement for Morgenstern, and informs Ross the terms of his fellowship are going to change. Carter is jealous over Maggie Doyle's rapport with Dr. Del Amico. Benton's son is circumcised against his dad's wishes. Greene has a date with a water polo player, but his trauma ruins things. The arrival of an arms-dealer couple as patients leads to mayhem and Jerry is advised to take a long sabbatical after accidentally firing a 40mm grenade launcher through the ER and into an empty ambulance. 
4 73 "When the Bough Breaks" Jack Orman Richard Thorpe October 16, 1997 (1997-10-16)
The after-effects of Greene's beating threaten his visitation rights with his daughter. Carter and Del Amico work with new med students. Both Jeanie and her ex-husband have job difficulties due to their HIV-positive status. Weaver suggests that Ross find a research grant to keep his job. Carter and Benton come to blows over Carter's switch to emergency medicine. The staff unites to treat victims of a bus crash, and a drug-addicted pregnant woman leads to a new direction for Carol. 
5 74 "Good Touch, Bad Touch" David Mills Jonathan Kaplan October 30, 1997 (1997-10-30)

Hathaway comes up with the idea of a pediatric clinic for the ER, and starts looking for funding. Ross and Del Amico do not mesh on a puzzling case involving a young athlete. Greene is deposed in a malpractice suit. Benton is having trouble juggling work and parenthood. Jeannie watches Al and his former best friend get in a violent brawl. Benton meets Dr. Corday's sponsor, Dr. Robert "Rocket" Romano.

First Appearance of Dr. Robert Romano. 
6 75 "Ground Zero" Samantha Howard Corbin Darnell Martin November 6, 1997 (1997-11-06)
Anspaugh asks Benton to work with Dr. Romano. Greene confides in Cynthia, the temporary ER Admitting Desk clerk, as his life continues to go downhill. After conferring with Synergix, a firm that helps streamline hospital operating costs, Weaver fires Jeanie for financial reasons. Hathaway meets with Carter's rich grandmother, Millicent "Gamma" Carter, about funding her clinic. Doug finds out that his father has died. 
7 76 "Fathers and Sons" John Wells Christopher Chulack November 13, 1997 (1997-11-13)
Greene and Ross travel to California to claim Doug's deceased father's belongings. Along the way the two visit the home of Greene's parents, and receive a surprise visitor. 
8 77 "Freak Show" Neal Baer Darnell Martin November 20, 1997 (1997-11-20)
Maggie Doyle helps Jeanie get assistance to get her job back. Romano, Benton, and Corday operate on a unique case involving a boy with reversed organs. Hathaway's clinic is forced to open early when Cynthia sends the advertisement for it too soon. One of Carter's incompetent former students returns to redo his clerkship, and ends up being a patient. Greene meets a lawyer who can end his legal troubles in exchange for spending a day observing the ER. 
9 78 "Obstruction of Justice" Lance Gentile Richard Thorpe December 11, 1997 (1997-12-11)
Synergix starts setting up shop at County General. Defending a patient he suspects is abused, Carter is arrested for refusing to cooperate with a cop. Weaver agrees to give Jeanie her job back. Cynthia rubs Greene's ex-wife the wrong way concerning Rachel. Greene's lawyer tours the ER and ends up saving a life himself. Corday operates to save the leg of a young woman named Alison Beaumont, and the patient goes into a coma, causing Corday to question her own ambitions. 
10 79 "Do You See What I See?" Linda Gase (story), Jack Orman (teleplay) Sarah Pia Anderson December 18, 1997 (1997-12-18)
On Christmas Eve, Benton and Del Amico develop a weird following after he apparently causes a blind man to see with his touch. Greene deals with an elderly rape victim. Corday continues her soulsearching regarding Alison's coma, but Romano helps her. Greene finds out that Cynthia has a child of her own, and finally puts his trauma in the past. Weaver develops a camaraderie with the Synergix representative, Dr. Ellis West. Gamma Carter tours the clinic with Hathaway and Jeanie, and grants extra funding. Dr. Carter discovers that his cousin, Chase, has a heroin problem. Doug and Carol reveal their romance to the ER. 
11 80 "Think Warm Thoughts" David Mills Charles Haid January 8, 1998 (1998-01-08)
On a particularly cold night, the ER is swamped with freezing homeless people. Weaver pushes hard for Synergix to take over ER management. Jeanie works with Dr. Anspaugh's son, Scott, who fears his cancer has returned. Corday earns Romano's ire while continuing to work with Alison, who now has a problem with her voice. Benton and Carter make a presentation to med students. Ross and Hathaway consider marriage but Carol's mom is not happy to learn her daughter's dating Doug again. 
12 81 "Sharp Relief" Samantha Howard Corbin Christopher Chulack January 15, 1998 (1998-01-15)
Weaver questions Synergix's management practices as Ellis' budget cuts tend to shut down trauma centers. Another elderly rape victim is found by Hathaway during a paramedic ride-along, prompting an alert for a serial rapist. Tension grows between Benton, Corday, and Romano. Jeannie lifts Scott's spirits as he faces a new battle against cancer. Carter and Del Amico work together to deal with Chase's withdrawal from heroin. Hathaway and a vulnerable paramedic relate their experiences regarding suicide (the medic's mother hanged herself), and kiss. Carol confesses to Doug, who storms out. 
13 82 "Carter's Choice" John Wells John Wells January 29, 1998 (1998-01-29)
The serial rapist is finally caught but needs treatment. A mentally challenged woman gives birth. Benton's son may be placed in day care, and he comes to terms with it with Corday's help. Ross and Hathaway, and Greene and Cynthia, have relationship problems. Carter's actions in treating the serial rapist cause tension between himself and Del Amico. 
14 83 "Family Practice" Carol Flint Charles Haid February 5, 1998 (1998-02-05)
Greene returns to San Diego to help when his mother is injured, prompting Cynthia to follow him. When his father gets ill as well, Greene finds himself assisting in a military hospital ER after a helicopter crash. Greene and Cynthia are forced to re-evaluate their fading relationship, while Greene and his father become closer. 
15 84 "Exodus" Walon Green and Joe Sachs Christopher Chulack February 26, 1998 (1998-02-26)
While Greene is gone, Carter has to take control when a nearby chemical spill sends the ER into chaos and knocks Weaver out of action. Ross and Hathaway take risks to save a sick girl. Corday risks her own life to save a man trapped in a collapsed warehouse. 
16 85 "My Brother's Keeper" Jack Orman Jaque Toberen March 5, 1998 (1998-03-05)
Weaver accuses Ross of presenting a flawed research study. Greene searches for Cynthia. Carter comes to his grandparents for advice about Chase's drug addiction, but it comes too late as Chase overdoses. Corday receives her first performance review from Romano and becomes closer to Benton. Scott and Jeanie continue their friendship. 
17 86 "A Bloody Mess" Linda Gase Richard Thorpe April 9, 1998 (1998-04-09)
Benton, Corday, and Reese are involved in a car accident. Scott's cancer worsens, bringing him back to Jeanie's care. Morgenstern returns, but is having difficulties on the job after his heart attack. Chase is left with severe brain damage after his overdose, and Carter watches over him. Hathaway works on animal rights activists after a protest gone awry. Benton surprises Corday by showing up at her apartment. 
18 87 "Gut Reaction" Neal Baer TR Babu Subramaniam April 16, 1998 (1998-04-16)
Benton and Morgenstern clash after a surgery is botched. Scott, with Jeanie's help, makes a choice about his cancer treatment. Carter helps Del Amico when she is found to be a potential bone marrow donor for a patient. Dr. Ross protects an ill child. Greene organizes the ramshackle but fun annual ER banquet. Gamma Carter may cut funding to Hathaway's clinic, forcing Dr. Carter to make a difficult decision. 
19 88 "Shades of Grey" Samantha Howard Corbin Lance Gentile April 23, 1998 (1998-04-23)
Benton and Corday's growing closeness causes problems with Benton's career. Alison Beaumont is back after being injured in a fire. Carter deals with life without his family's financial support. Jeanie helps Dr. Anspaugh through a difficult day. Benton is forced to take the blame for the botched surgery until Morgenstern makes a shocking revelation. Ross counsels a family about their injured, pregnant daughter's treatment and their shunning of her boyfriend. 
20 89 "Of Past Regret and Future Fear" Jack Orman Anthony Edwards April 30, 1998 (1998-04-30)
Romano makes an offer that Corday refuses. Reese Benton is baptised. Ross and Hathaway have to make difficult ethical choices concerning a baby addicted to methadone. Carter and Del Amico treat a man who cannot speak clearly. Carol treats a man who is going to die from chemical burns and comes to a decision about herself and Doug. 
21 90 "Suffer the Little Children" Walon Green Christopher Misiano May 7, 1998 (1998-05-07)
Del Amico's old boyfriend conducts a study at the hospital. A televangelist uses the ER to obtain money. Ross and Hathaway risk their jobs to do an unorthodox treatment on the methadone-addicted baby. Jeanie turns to Weaver for help with some personal problems. 
22 91 "A Hole in the Heart" Lydia Woodward Lesli Linka Glatter May 14, 1998 (1998-05-14)

As Josh, the methadone-addicted baby, recovers from an ultra-rapid detox, Ross' personal and professional relationships suffer. Hathaway has suspicions about a patient that attempted suicide. Corday's problems with Romano become critical. Carter's jealousy over Del Amico and her ex-boyfriend reaches a breaking point. Something is wrong with Benton's son.

Final Appearance of Dr. Anna Del Amico. 

Reception

Reaction to this season was still positive, although the reaction to the season premiere was mixed, with some seeing it as nothing more than a stunt.

References


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