The Best Episodes of ER

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2019

ER follows the medical personnel and patients in the emergency room of Chicago's fictional County General Hospital. The doctors and nurses of County's ER confront the daily challenges of a busy urban hospital, including overcrowded waiting rooms, staffing shortages, and the impact of life-and-death decisions. While they teach the next generation of doctors, each must tackle the demands of their personal lives, at times unsuccessfully.

On the Beach

#1 - On the Beach

Season 8 - Episode 21

Mark decides to use his remaining time to help "fix" Rachel and takes her to Hawaii to show her where he grew up. He teaches her how to surf, and how to drive a stick shift. Mark catches her chasing one of his Vicodin with a shot of vodka and confronts her about wasting her life. One day after surfing, he has a seizure, and Elizabeth arrives with Ella in tow. She wants to take him home, but he refuses. Early in the morning, he dies. After the funeral, Rachel tells Elizabeth she'd like to visit Ella, and Elizabeth agrees.

star 8.23
115 votes
Directors: John Wells
Writers: John Wells
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Body and Soul

#2 - Body and Soul

Season 12 - Episode 13

Emmy-winner James Woods guest stars as a Dr. Nate Lennox, a former professor of biochemistry with ALS who was Abby’s early medical school mentor. As we follow the progression of his disease in reverse via a series of flashbacks, a different ER doctor treats him at each stage beginning with Neela as he must face the need for oxygen full time moving backward to Luka in the early stages. In the present, Lennox, now able to move only his eyes, and equipped with advance communication technology, is admitted with pneumonia. As Ray, Sam and Luka begin limited treatment under the proxy of his attendant, Abby believes Nate has communicated his own wishes, leading to a struggle to determine what course of action should be taken, and how long to fight the inevitable.

star 8.22
58 votes
Directors: Paul McCrane
Writers: Joe Sachs
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All in the Family

#3 - All in the Family

Season 6 - Episode 14

Weaver discovers Carter and Lucy. As police begin to arrive, Benton rushes between the two, being the only surgical resident on duty. Greene and Corday are paged to return to the hospital. Carter almost loses his kidney, but with quick thinking by Anspaugh, Benton is able to save it and Carter will be okay. On the other hand, Lucy has her chest cracked because her heart stops but she is stabilized. In the OR waiting room, while waiting for emergency surgery to fix a life-threatening blood clot, Lucy flatlines. Romano and Corday desperately try to save her life but she dies and the staff receives the news. Meanwhile, Paul Sobriki is found running naked down Michigan Avenue and is brought in. His wife arrives at the ER; incapable of believing her husband would be capable of such a violent act. And while Benton is busy with Carter, Cleo is forced to crack a man's chest open to save his life, resulting in Benton's ire.

star 8.19
118 votes
Writers: Jack Orman
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And In the End...

#4 - And In the End...

Season 15 - Episode 22

Gates works on a young teen brought in with alcohol poisoning after playing a deadly drinking game with friends. Dr. Carter opens a new medical facility for the underprivileged in Chicago and some old friends from County General all come to show their support. It’s Sam’s birthday and Alex and Gates surprise her with a special gift. Meanwhile, Carter works with an intern to save a mother in labor with twins.

star 8.15
71 votes
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#5 - Exodus

Season 4 - Episode 15

The ER must be evacuated when several workers at a chemical plant track benzine all over the floors. After Weaver is felled by the poison, Carter takes over, directing the evacuation. Dr. Corday does a ride-along with EMTs and rescues a man trapped under a building. Doug and Carol are trapped in the elevator with a sick child.

star 8.12
122 votes
Writers: Walon Green, Joe Sachs
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Such Sweet Sorrow

#6 - Such Sweet Sorrow

Season 6 - Episode 21

Carol resuscitates a terminal cancer DNR to say goodbye to her family, and realizes that life is too short. She runs out of the hospital after saying a quick goodbye to Luka and Mark and hops on a plane to Seattle to see Doug. Carter's mental status is dissipating rapidly to the point where he almost kills a woman. Chen notices and tells Mark her concern that Carter is bipolar. Weaver goes on the warpath after noticing ER staff taking shortcuts in their work, including Abby, who discharges a woman prematurely without running extra tests. Corday offers Malucci a sobering assessment of his performance. Mark prepares to bury his father and enjoys his daughter's company.

star 8.10
107 votes
Directors: John Wells
Writers: John Wells
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A Hole in the Heart

#7 - A Hole in the Heart

Season 4 - Episode 22

Greene and Weaver threaten Doug over his illegal treatment of Josh McLean. Dr. Rosher ingratiates himself with Anspaugh. Corday receives a letter from Romano informing her that he won't be sponsoring her for another year. A despondent patient shocks Carol with an unusually violent act. Kerry becomes upset when Anspaugh tells her that even though she has been Acting Chief of Emergency Medicine for a year, the hospital still plans a nationwide search for a permanent one. Carter accuses Max of taking some Percocet from a medicine cabinet. Benton arranges a hearing test after a day care worker tells him that Reese is unresponsive.

star 8.08
100 votes
Writers: Lydia Woodward
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The Long Way Around

#8 - The Long Way Around

Season 3 - Episode 15

Carol is held hostage in a bungled convenience store robbery. Her medical skills are put to their toughest test as she works feverishly to save the gravely wounded store owner.

star 8.06
124 votes
Writers: Lydia Woodward
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Love's Labor Lost

#9 - Love's Labor Lost

Season 1 - Episode 19

Greene misdiagnoses a pregnant patient, leading to a long and arduous surgery.

star 8.06
143 votes
Directors: Mimi Leder
Writers: Lance Gentile
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Life After Death

#10 - Life After Death

Season 15 - Episode 1

Abby awakens after the ambulance explosion and rushes to check on Pratt; Sam and Gates rush to the scene; Morris and Neela struggle to keep up with Pratt's injuries.

star 8.05
73 votes
Writers: Joe Sachs
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21 Guns

#11 - 21 Guns

Season 12 - Episode 22

Season Finale: In the aftermath of the tragedy befalling the ER, it’s a seemingly ordinary day with the usual collection of patients. But soon, the day becomes anything but ordinary as two prisoners intent on escape come to the ER for treatment, along with a hidden conspirator. Their desperate actions place one doctor in harm’s way, and forces one nurse to become a tool in their plan. Soon, gunshots ring out, another doctor hits the floor, and a staff member’s life is in jeopardy. The medical staff rush to the aid of the injured and quickly discover one of their own is missing!

star 8.04
78 votes
Writers: David Zabel
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A Shift in the Night

#12 - A Shift in the Night

Season 2 - Episode 18

Mark finds himself manning a very crowded ER on his scheduled night off, filling in while Doug is out with whiplash and Susan meets with her lawyer. He tries to juggle hunger pangs, 40+ patients in the waiting room and a never-ending stream of traumas.

star 8.02
123 votes
Directors: Lance Gentile
Writers: Joe Sachs
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Random Acts

#13 - Random Acts

Season 3 - Episode 20

The staff springs into action when Dr. Greene is violently beaten by an unknown assailant. Dr. Ross treats the son of a wealthy man, leading Carol to suspect Doug of giving the child special treatment. Greg demands that Jeanie choose between him and Al. Speculation runs rampant when a torrid novella, author unknown, is found at the admit desk. A new pediatrician arrives from Philadelphia. Olbes shows up out of uniform for a change, bringing in her grandfather, who has suffered a stroke. Carla is admitted to the hospital after she goes into premature labor; the contractions are stopped for now.

star 8.01
117 votes
Writers: Carol Flint
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Ground Zero

#14 - Ground Zero

Season 4 - Episode 6

Kerry investigates Synergix, an ER management group specializing in balancing budgets. She is later forced to fire Jeanie. In turn, Jeanie is asked by Al to move to Atlanta with him. Greene is still suffering from the aftereffects of his attack, snapping at patients and staff alike. Dr. Ross is stunned by a collect phone call from California informing him of his father's death. Benton clashes with Corday after she apparently "steals" a rare procedure out from under his nose. Carol meets with Carter's grandmother to pitch her idea for a free health clinic. Anna is perturbed when she discovers Carter's wealthy background.

star 8.00
110 votes
Directors: Darnell Martin
Writers: Samantha Howard Corbin
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Choosing Joi

#15 - Choosing Joi

Season 5 - Episode 13

Ricky Abbott returns to the ER. Doug forges papers to allow Joi to treat Ricky at home. Corday decides to back out of the Romano sexual harassment investigation after he threatens to expose her relationship with Benton. Romano is later named Acting Chief of the ER. Dr. Greene treats a Nigerian janitor for back pain and impotency. Carol and the nurses watch a bunch of dogs when their owner is hospitalized. Carter diagnoses a med student with Hodgkin's disease. Kerry initiates a search for her biological parents.

star 7.98
89 votes
Writers: Lydia Woodward
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Quintessence of Dust

#16 - Quintessence of Dust

Season 12 - Episode 14

An unexpected visitor puts Clemente in the middle of a domestic dispute, and things don’t look good. As the police sort out events, Luka, Abby and Sam try to save the victim in the aftermath of a shooting. Luka and Abby await important news about the baby. Pratt finds himself the centre of unexpected attention at a fundraising event.

star 7.97
65 votes
Directors: Joanna Kerns
Writers: Lisa Zwerling, David Zabel
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A Miracle Happens Here

#17 - A Miracle Happens Here

Season 2 - Episode 10

The ER staffers are in decidedly unfestive moods as Christmas arrives. Carol's spirits are lifted by a Santa-like patient. Mark is outraged when Jenn decides to stay in Milwaukee over Christmas. Benton and Carter score points with Vucelich when Carter convinces an older gentleman, Ruby, to include his wife in Vucelich's study. Mark gives a deposition in the O'Brien case. The death of a priest threatens to start a gang war. Weaver receives a surprise visit from an African friend. A Holocaust survivor, the victim of a carjacking, brings Chanukah to the ER.

star 7.97
125 votes
Directors: Mimi Leder
Writers: Carol Flint
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The Healers

#18 - The Healers

Season 2 - Episode 16

Shep and Raul respond to a massive fire without proper equipment, risking their lives to save addicts and their children. Shep will be okay, but Raul has third-degree burns covering his body; it's only a matter of time. The ER is flooded with burn victims. Chloe returns to Chicago. Doug is stood up by his father for a basketball game.

star 7.96
119 votes
Directors: Mimi Leder
Writers: John Wells
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The Peace of Wild Things

#19 - The Peace of Wild Things

Season 6 - Episode 6

Benton struggles with the idea of taking a DNA test to determine whether or not Reese is actually his son. As the signs continue to pile up, Kerry and Mark use a fake patient to convince Dr. Lawrence of his Alzheimer's. Carter has trouble persuading a woman from a nursing home fire to sign a DNR for her husband and later is asked to forge charts for a family with no insurance. Carol continues to meddle in Meg's life, having her arrested so that she can be detoxed. Cleo is blamed for an explosion in the suture room, but it may actually be Dr. Dave's fault.

star 7.96
92 votes
Directors: Richard Thorpe
Writers: John Wells
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#20 - Homecoming

Season 7 - Episode 1

Benton drops Carter off at rehab in Atlanta. Three months later, a custodial strike is making life difficult in the ER. Chen discovers she is pregnant. Carter prepares to leave rehab. Benton interviews with Romano for a surgical attending position; he later gets it. Carter makes a slow journey back to Chicago, and gets busted for smoking in the aircraft lavoratory. Due to her ex-husband failing to pay her tuition, Abby cannot continue med school until the beginning of the next quarter and confronts her ex-husband at the driving range making a big scene. The ER is swamped with participants from a riot at a high school football game. Carter arrives at the ER and leaves promptly.

star 7.95
101 votes
Writers: Jack Orman
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Great Expectations

#21 - Great Expectations

Season 6 - Episode 8

Carol goes into labor on the L. With the help of Luka, she makes it into the ER and delivers one twin, Tess, there. She is then moved to the OB and put in the care of OB nurse Abby Lockhart. Dr. Coburn delivers Kate through an emergency c-section but Carol and both babies turn out to be fine. When Mark has to leave Thanksgiving at her house to be Carol's Lamaze coach, Corday is stuck with his father and Rachel. Dr. Dave helps Carter with a diagnosis of a very rare disease.

star 7.94
90 votes
Writers: Jack Orman
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Hell and High Water

#22 - Hell and High Water

Season 2 - Episode 7

In the middle of a torrential rainstorm, Dr. Ross stumbles across a child trapped in a drainage pipe rapidly filling with water. Doug does everything possible to save the boy, Ben Larkin. Harper develops a bond with a young girl with separated parents.

star 7.94
142 votes
Writers: Neal Baer
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#23 - Freefall

Season 10 - Episode 8

A helicopter crashes on the roof, falling into the ambulance bay where it lands on Romano and causes a huge explosion. Pratt and Morris are pretty lucky: Romano had just fired Pratt and caught Morris smoking weed in the ambulance bay. Susan worries that Chuck was onboard, although it turns out he wasn't, even though he does have some internal injuries. He'll be fine though. Abby daydreams about what Carter's up to in Africa. Luka enjoys Thanksgiving dinner with Sam and her son Alex.

star 7.93
85 votes
Writers: Joe Sachs
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Graduation Day

#24 - Graduation Day

Season 13 - Episode 2

As their infant son's fate hangs in the balance, Luka and Abby struggle to make the right decisions and keep the faith. Maggie arrives, determined to help. Luka's status seems uncertain as the hospital board considers a permanent solution to the Clemente affair. Sam returns, unsure of what the future holds for her. The ER struggles to get back to normal, as old staffers play new roles, and new personnel come on board.

star 7.93
70 votes
Directors: Joanna Kerns
Writers: Janine Sherman Barrois, Lisa Zwerling
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Orion in the Sky

#25 - Orion in the Sky

Season 8 - Episode 18

Mark serves his final day in the ER overseeing the first day of Gregory Pratt, a cocky yet eager new intern. Through observing his patients, he decides to forego chemotherapy, and spend his remaining days in peace. He also meets with his ex-wife, tells Weaver to live a little and leaves. Meanwhile, Abby plans to move back into her apartment when her landlord lets her know that Brian's moved out.

star 7.93
98 votes
Writers: David Zabel
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