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ER: Season 01 ()

The first season of the prestigious NBC medical drama ER is seen largely through the eyes of new third-year medical student John Carter (Noah Wyle) as he tries to survive his shakedown cruise in the Emergency Room of Chicago's County General Hospital. Carter is swiftly introduced to his ill-tempered, ultra-demanding supervisor Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), ER head Dr. Morganstern (William H. Macy), and his new co-workers, womanizing Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney), workaholic Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), and troubled Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield). Likewise appearing for the first time -- and almost the last -- is Ross' current amour, Head Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), a character who was supposed to have appeared only once before committing suicide, but who proved so popular that she recovered and returned to work. The many first-season plot strands include Greene's ever-growing domestic problems with his restless wife, Jennifer (Christine Harnos), the normally ice-cold Benton's anguish over the failing health of his mother (Beah Richards), and Lewis' tribulations with her irresponsible, drug-addicted sister, Chloe (Kathleen Wilhoite), who presumptively deposits her baby at Lewis' home and disappears. Showing up in mid-season during a major medical crisis is Dr. Angela Hicks (CCH Pounder), one of the few people who can match Benton in anger and imperiousness. Another character conflict develops between Lewis and rule-bound Dr. Kayson (Sam Anderson), who first brings charges of incompetence against her -- and then tries to date her! On a more salutary note, Greene is promoted to attending physician. The Emmy award-winning episode "Love's Labor Lost" dramatized a career turning point for Greene when a misdiagnosis causes the death of an expectant mother. Shortly afterward, new ER chief William Swift (Michael Ironside) makes trouble for the staff with his eccentric approach to medicine. Also introduced is another third-year med student, Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen (Ming-Na), who enters into intense competition with Carter -- with disastrous results. Another first-season recurring character, Lewis' erstwhile boyfriend Dr. Div Cvetic (John Terry), breaks under the pressure of the ER and runs naked into the streets, never to be seen again. Worth special notice is the episode "Motherhood," directed by no less than Quentin Tarantino; and the season finale, in which the marriage between Carol Hathaway and Dr. John Taglieri (Rick Rossovich) is scuttled at the last moment, leaving poor Carol with another emotional cross to bear. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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