The BEST Episodes of St. Elsewhere

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2019

Network: NBC

St. Eligius Hospital in South Boston was not exactly the world's best health care center. Despite its flaws, it featured some of the most caring doctors and nurses you could ever meet. Led by Dr. Donald Westphall (and later by Dr. John Gideon), the hospital nicknamed "St. Elsewhere" became a sanctuary for the underdog and the downtrodden. Originally a ratings flop, NBC picked it up for a second season for the sole purpose of grabbing some additional Emmy nominations. It eventually became a minor hit for the Peacock, running six seasons until burnout by the writers resulted in its 1988 cancellation. The series was nominated for 63 Emmy Awards and won 13. Its unusual ending, coming during a disruptive television writers' strike, became a watershed moment in television and years later sparked an internet meme: the Tommy Westphall Universe.

Breathless

#1 - Breathless

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 24, 1984

Dr. Caldwell performs plastic surgery on Manny while Jerry fights off cabin fever; Dr. Auschlander hires Joan Halloran as his new assistant; Axelrod becomes a hypochondriac; White reunites with his family; and a disturbed Daniels decides to do something about White.

star 9.81
31 votes
Writers: Joel Surnow
Dog Day Hospital

#2 - Dog Day Hospital

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 22, 1983

Helen returns to work following her mastectomy; Fiscus and Daniels visit his aunt Sirca; a pregnant woman invades the OR and holds Ehrlich and Dr. Craig hostage while demanding to see the doctor who performed her husband's vasectomy.

star 9.78
32 votes
Writers: John Ford Noonan
Sweet Dreams

#3 - Sweet Dreams

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 14, 1984

Dr. Westphall suffers sleepless nights; a young man from the Philippines is apparently frightened to death by his dreams; Luther dreams of sweet revenge with the help of some `ZZ Top' impersonators; Ehrlich dreams of being washed up on an island of Amazon women; and Morrison suffers from nightmares of Peter White when he and some other residents take part in a dream research project.

star 9.78
32 votes
Directors: Mark Tinker
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
My Aim is True

#4 - My Aim is True

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 31, 1984

Dr. Caldwell performs plastic surgery on Manny while Jerry fights off cabin fever; Dr. Auschlander hires Joan Halloran as his new assistant; Axelrod becomes a hypochondriac; White reunites with his family; and a disturbed Daniels decides to do something about White.

star 9.77
31 votes
Writers: Channing Gibson, Charles H. Eglee
Cheers

#5 - Cheers

Season 3 - Episode 24 - Aired Mar 27, 1985

Mrs. Auschlander faces major heart surgery; Dr. Craig is disturbed to see the ravages of time on his mentor, Dr. David Domedion; Ehrlich searches for a religion; the messiah shows up for a Celtics game; and Dr. Westphall announces his resignation at a friendly little bar called Cheers.

star 9.76
33 votes
Directors: Bruce Paltrow
Writers: John Masius, John Tinker, Tom Fontana
Bye, George

#6 - Bye, George

Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 16, 1985

Dr. Wyler puts Dr. Auschlander onto a new way of life; Halloran interviews Morrison's co-workers in an effort to build a case for him; Ehrlich takes the Craigs out for a disastrous dinner; and Mrs. Hufnagle loses a chance at a new life.

star 9.75
32 votes
Directors: Mark Tinker
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
Saving Face

#7 - Saving Face

Season 3 - Episode 16 - Aired Jan 16, 1985

Westphall places a new doctor in charge of the E.R., and she immediately clashes with Fiscus; Axelrod's visit to Mrs. Hufnagel's apartment sends her back to the hospital; Rosenthal and Richard reconcile; Dr. Craig celebrates his 30th wedding anniversary with a visit from his estranged brother; Dr. Caldwell begins treatment of a disfigured girl suffering from a massive facial fibromatosis; and a junkie admits his very pregnant, 14-year-old girl friend.

star 9.75
32 votes
Writers: Jorge Zamacona, Norma Safford Vela
Murder, She Rote

#8 - Murder, She Rote

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired Feb 27, 1985

Craig questions Mrs. Hufnagel's death; rejoining the staff, Daniels plays sick jokes; Caldwell coddles his patient.

star 9.70
33 votes
Tears of a Clown

#9 - Tears of a Clown

Season 3 - Episode 22 - Aired Mar 13, 1985

A young woman's multiple sclerosis worsens, threatening her life as a circus clown; Dr. Craig helps Dr. Westphall look for a condo; and Morrison feels the pressures of his responsibilities as a doctor and father.

star 9.70
33 votes
Strikeout

#10 - Strikeout

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 17, 1984

Luther and Warren do some plumbing for Dr. Craig during their temporary layoff; Papandrao leaves the picket line to help Ehrlich in an emergency operation; Dr. Caldwell tries to find new ways for the firefighters to deal with their continuing pain; and Martin finds herself confronting the rapist again.

star 9.69
32 votes
Writers: Steve Bello
Hearing

#11 - Hearing

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 1, 1984

Dr. Auschlander asks Fiscus and Luther to help him get some marijuana to relieve his pain; White and Daniels face the medical board hearing; Dr. Westphall defends a deaf employee against his impatient supervisor; and Ehrlich meets Roberta's snobbish parents.

star 9.68
34 votes
Writers: Steve Bello
Addiction

#12 - Addiction

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired May 3, 1983

Morrison's wife goes into labor; White loses a girlfriend and gains a wife, while falling under suspicion when drugs are stolen; Dr. Craig's son Steven arrives for a period of observation and cause problems for Ehrlich; Martin casts her spell over Fiscus again; and Dr. Auschlander and an old friend get into a fist fight as they reminisce about the past.

star 9.67
33 votes
Directors: Mark Tinker
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
Hello, Goodbye

#13 - Hello, Goodbye

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 16, 1984

The residents scatter as vacation begins; Morrison meets a charming young woman; the E.R. faces major structural repairs; Steven Craig returns home after licking his drug problem; and Luther tries to find a Cheshire cat for a skeptical little girl. Dr. Auschlander collapses in an elevator. Elliot Axelrod has an interview for a position as a resident.

star 9.67
33 votes
Directors: Linda Day
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
Playing God (1)

#14 - Playing God (1)

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 19, 1984

Morrison and Clancy argue over what to do about her unexpected pregnancy; Rosenthal and Dr. Auschlander fail to agree about anything as a nurses' strike looms; the emergency room receives three seriously burned firefighters; and Dr. Westphall collides with a strong-minded Mother Superior over life support for a critically ill nun.

star 9.67
33 votes
Directors: Bruce Paltrow
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
Two Balls and a Strike

#15 - Two Balls and a Strike

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 3, 1984

The rapist returns to St. Eligius; Daniels stays on the job as Rosenthal leads most of the other nurses out on strike; Ellen persuades Dr. Craig to go to a therapist about their marital problems; Luther learns one of the firefighters is fighting his pain in his own way; and Lizzie Westphall leaves for college.

star 9.67
33 votes
Writers: John Tinker
Give the Boy a Hand

#16 - Give the Boy a Hand

Season 3 - Episode 17 - Aired Jan 23, 1985

Dr. Woodley tries to help Maddy decide what to do after her baby is born while Dean sets up a disastrous drug deal; Ehrlich offends a disabled cafeteria worker with his `Health Spot' segment; and Lizzie runs away from pressures at college and tries to reunite her family.

star 9.67
33 votes
Writers: Marcus Ross, Mitchell Fink
Dr. Wyler, I Presume

#17 - Dr. Wyler, I Presume

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired Dec 19, 1984

An old friend of Dr. Auschlander returns from Africa to locate a kidney donor for a young African; Helen celebrates her birthday; removing a bullet in E.R. proves risky to both the patient and the doctor; and Mrs. Hufnagle returns to the hospital.

star 9.66
32 votes
Writers: Cynthia Darnell
Qui Transtulit Sustinet

#18 - Qui Transtulit Sustinet

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Nov 16, 1983

Dr. Craig performs the transplant amidst a publicity barrage; Morrison tries to adjust to his loss; Luther and Fiscus split an investment in silver futures; and Rosenthal counsels a group on breast cancer.

star 9.64
33 votes
Directors: Victor Lobl
Writers: John Tinker, Mark Tinker
All About Eve

#19 - All About Eve

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 14, 1983

Dr. Caldwell suffers for his work on Eddie Carson; Joan reveals a secret in the E.R.; Ehrlich meets a brand-new Roberta; Dr. Westphall's housekeeper announces she's returning to Italy; Eve Leighton takes a turn for the worse.

star 9.64
33 votes
Directors: David Anspaugh
Writers: John Masius, Tom Fontana
Cramming

#20 - Cramming

Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired May 2, 1984

Ehrlich tries to deal with his Aunt Charice and her romantic designs on Dr. Westphall as he crams for the National Boards; a stressed-out Armstrong makes a tragic misdiagnosis; White chooses to take a polygraph test before his trial begins; Shirley tells Cathy that she ""asked for it"", and Cathy's past is used to decimate her on the witness stand.

star 9.64
33 votes
Any Portrait in a Storm

#21 - Any Portrait in a Storm

Season 3 - Episode 18 - Aired Jan 30, 1985

A violent storm brings down a news helicopter; Dean takes off for Florida, leaving Maddy alone to face the future; Myra gives birth to a son, Peter; Hufnagel haggles over her latest bill; Rosenthal struggles with life in the ER; the phone repairman is electrocuted; Dr. Auschlander, angry about his portrait, cancels the dedication ceremony; and Martin returns to medical practice.

star 9.64
33 votes
Writers: Lyle Kessler
Rough Cut

#22 - Rough Cut

Season 2 - Episode 21 - Aired May 9, 1984

Fiscus poses in provocative attire for a newspaper feature; Dr. Caldwell and Joan try to take a spontaneous trip to Paris; Armstrong reacts to the pressures she faces; and everyone waits to hear about who will be dropped from the residency program.

star 9.61
33 votes
Writers: Mitchell Fink, Susan Kindner
Homecoming

#23 - Homecoming

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 5, 1984

Mrs. Wegener returns to find both her ex-husband and her daughter near death; Clancy moves in with Morrison after a burglary; Martin gives Fiscus a letter concerning Daniels; and Lizzie returns from Vassar with a boyfriend.

star 9.61
33 votes
Writers: Charles H. Eglee, Mark Tinker
The Children's Hour

#24 - The Children's Hour

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 12, 1984

Fiscus pressures Martin into taking a step outside the psychiatric ward; Judge Farnham questions Dr. Auschlander about the ethics of Mr. Wegener's role in his daughter's treatment while Mrs. Wegener decides to take the child back to Chicago; Tommy's school asks Dr. Westphall to withdraw him; an angry Mitzi confronts Rosenthal about the affair; and Ehrlich tries to help the nymphomaniac wife of a patient.

star 9.61
33 votes
Writers: Charles H. Eglee, Steve Bello
Amazing Face

#25 - Amazing Face

Season 3 - Episode 20 - Aired Feb 20, 1985

Dr. Westphall decides to sell his house; Andrea Fordham sees her new face for the first time; Shirley returns to the morgue where she shot Peter White; Rosenthal believes she's pregnant again; and Mrs. Hufnagle faces surgery.

star 9.61
33 votes