[[quoteright:282:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/st_elsewhere_dvd_cover_6430.jpg]]
Airing on Creator/{{NBC}} from 1982-88, ''St. Elsewhere'' was the first prime-time MedicalDrama in almost a decade to use {{continuity}} for CharacterDevelopment. It would be a model for many shows that followed it, including ''{{ER}}''.

It was about the staff, and to a lesser extent the patients, in the rundown Boston teaching hospital St. Eligius (nicknamed "St. Elsewhere"). The show was {{Soap Opera}}tic at times with frequent doses of BlackComedy, and had numerous {{Very Special Episode}}s. It ran for six seasons, appeared to have strong {{continuity}} for the most part, was written well enough for the most part that people got attached to the characters, had crossed over with numerous other network properties (most notably sister series ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet''), and it was both popular and critically acclaimed while it was running. It was truly Must-See TV.

...Well, until the [[AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame controversial]] GrandFinale. At the end, as the camera zoomed out to show snow falling on St. Eligius, America discovered the horrible truth about the events they had witnessed over the past six years. This final scene continues to enjoy debate to this day, thanks mostly to the proliferation of crossovers both ''Elsewhere'' and ''Homicide'' enjoyed.

As a result, ''St. Elsewhere'' is now remembered as the definitive [[spoiler:AllJustADream]] series, although it can also be seen as [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaking the fourth wall]] (with the [[spoiler:snow globe containing the hospital]] representing the television set containing all the fictional events, as a metaphorical way to finish the story).
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!!This show contains examples of:
* AbsenteeActor: Dr. Chandler goes to training in Missouri shortly after being promoted to Chief Resident to accomodate Denzel Washington's movie work.
* AccidentalPublicConfession: a Type 3 example, when Roberta tells the page nurse about her marital problems with Victor, not realizing she had just turned the hospital's PA mic on while looking for a pencil.
* AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame
* AndStarring: William Daniels gets an "and starring as Dr. Mark Craig" credit in the open.
** Subverted, however, during the final season, in which he's given top billing following the departure of Ed Flanders.
* AnnoyingPatient: Mrs. Hufnagel manages to insult, belittle, annoy or offend every single prominent character.
* AnyoneCanDie: Not even [[spoiler:Santa Claus]] and [[spoiler:Mimsie, MTM Enterprises' adorable kitten mascot,]] are safe.
* AscendedExtra: Dr. Jackie Wade (Sagan Lewis) goes from a character with one line in the pilot to recurring character in the same season before getting promoted to the opening titles in Season 6.
** Lucy Papandrao (Jennifer Savidge) has a similar arc: she's an uncredited nurse in the pilot's OR scene who appears as a recurring character the same season, with more prominent appearances in the following years
* BarBrawl: in the episode "Remembrance of Things Past" between Chandler, Fiscus, Caldwell, Erlich, and some rude drunks. Includes a BarSlide.
* BearTrapBed
* BillingDisplacement: Denzel Washington is front and center on the DVD box, despite being a supporting player.
* BreakTheCutie: Poor [[spoiler:Cathy Martin]]. After being [[spoiler:raped twice and beaten by Peter White]], she is irrevocably broken.
* BreakTheHaughty: Dr. Craig. His [[spoiler:son dies]], his [[spoiler:artificial heart patient regrets his surgery and then dies]], he punches a mirror and injures his hand, leaving him unable to operate, and [[spoiler:his wife leaves him and begins an affair with another man. They eventually reconcile]]. Oh, and in one episode, he's mistaken for being homeless.
* BrickJoke: Throughout Season 5, Dr. Auschlander makes reference to a news, sport, or cultural event in his conversations with other doctors, with the references going back three years each subsequent episode. By the end of the season, the references are close to the time Auschlander was born. Not coincidentally, his mental state has also degraded to the point where he is like a helpless child.
** This was done so subtly in the scripts, Norman Lloyd didn't even catch on until the producers told him.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: The nymphomaniac HospitalHottie, pathologist Dr. Cathy Martin.
* ButtMonkey: Boomer Morrison, ''literally''.
** Let's see, his wife [[spoiler:dies tragically]], his toddler son disappears (but eventually is found), he gets raped during a prison riot by the husband of a former patient in an especially brutal CallBack to Season 1, and then later said rapist escapes prison, stalks Boomer, and finally takes him and his new wife and kids hostage, only to be saved when [[spoiler:Boomer's son, who's around six by now, shoots the rapist dead]].
* TheBusCameBack: Shirley Daniels, twice.
* BusCrash: [[spoiler:Bobby Caldwell]]'s (off-screen) death from AIDS in season six's "Heaven's Skate".
* CallBack: Early in Season 1, a sociopathic domestic terrorist detonates a bomb in a bank, killing and wounding many, including the bomber. The causalities are brought to St. Eligius, including the bomber. The husband of one of the victims comes to the hospital, and after his wife dies ends up wandering around aimlessly throughout the episode. Finally, when the time comes to transfer the bomber to the US Marshals, the distraught husband appears out of nowhere and shoots the bomber dead. Roll credits. Now, flash forward several seasons. Boomer Morrison is volunteering at a prison clinic, where he ends up treating the husband who's been serving hard time for murdering the bomber. Somehow during the episode, a prison riot breaks out, Boomer ends up being taken hostage by the husband who then proceeds to make with the prison rape. It's stuff like this that makes the show memorable for its continuity.
* CatchPhrase: Dr. Craig. "Oh, for crying out loud!". And, occasionally, "This is all you're fault, Ellen".
* CelebrityParadox: Sort of. In the Season 2 episode "Hello and Goodbye", Morrison takes his son to "the bar that inspired ''{{Cheers}}''", but then in the Season 3 episode "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Cheers]]", Dr. Craig and Dr. Westphall visit the bar from ''Cheers'' where they interact with the characters from the show!
* CharacterDevelopment: Many characters went through this as the show went on, most notably Victor Ehrlich (who matures enough to marry nurse Lucy Papandrao in the last season) and Luther Hawkins (who becomes a protege of sorts to Dr. Auschlander, and ends up becoming a physicians' assistant by series end).
* ChristmasEpisode: A particularly heartwrenching one following the death of [[spoiler:the Craigs' son]], which is also the one where they actually kill off '''[[spoiler:[[AnyoneCanDie Santa Claus himself]]]]!'''
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Dr. Ben Samuels and Dr. Annie Cavanero disappear without explanation.
* CPRCleanPrettyReliable: Sometimes played straight, but often averted.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Dr. Cathy Martin.
* CrossOver: The show had connections with a number of other shows and had minor crossovers with others...including ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', of all things.
* CuckooNest: Either a subversion, or a really hardcore example.
* DiggingYourselfDeeper: Erlich is an expert at this trope.
* DownerEnding: The finale's reveal that it was an [[spoiler:"AllJustADream" MindScrew]], although that evidently wasn't enough since the credits ''make it worse'' by '''[[spoiler:killing Mimsie, the kitten mascot]]'''. YouBastard. [[note]]To be fair, they just used a photo of a different (not dead) cat lying on its side. Mimsie [[FunnyAneurysmMoment did die later that year, though.]][[/note]]
* DrJerk: Dr. Craig and Dr. Erlich.
* DrugsAreBad: [[spoiler:Dr. Peter White]]. Also, [[spoiler:Helen Rosenthal]] went into drug rehab due to an addiction to prescription pain killers.
* TheEighties
* EverybodySmokes: Especially in the early episodes. Patients smoke in their rooms and doctors smoke in the hallways, and it's all quite jarring for a modern audience.
** Even series regular Dr Mark Craig finds it disturbing.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: Every episode ends with the picture freezing on the last few seconds of action.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Dr. White]].
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: When Westphall leaves the hospital temporarily in the season 4 premiere, a frazzled Lucy Papandrao tells one of the characters she feels like screaming. When the character has a conversation with another doctor, Lucy is seen behind them in the nurse's lounge, screaming.
* FurryFandom: The Birdman of St. Elsewhere is probably the UrExample in mainstream media. Ironically, he's written with considerably more nuance and sensitivity than most people who think they're animals are written on TV today, now that furry fandom is more widely known and heavily associated with squickiness. The show still used him mostly for laughs, although it avoided making viewers look down their nose at him; so when the Birdman decides [[spoiler:he can fly away from the hospital by jumping off the roof]]...nobody's laughing.
* GainaxEnding: One of the most famous examples; [[spoiler: the whole show was just the imagination of an autistic kid]]. [[FlatWhat What]].
* GratuitousRape: Dr. Morrison couldn't catch a break.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Dr. Craig's [[spoiler:artificial heart patient]] ended up feeling like a freak, with a side of WhatHaveIBecome.
* HahvahdYahdInMyCah
* HeroicSacrifice: While he's being treated for a ''massive'' heart attack that almost killed him, Dr. Elliot Axelrod's room-mate goes into a Code Blue situation. Elliot, despite being on his last legs, gets out of bed to help as he's ''technically'' the closest doctor around. The strain and the stress of cause Axelrod to have ''another'' heart attack, but even while dying himself he gets the patient's heart restarted.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: Dr. Oliver London (Craig's main surgical rival at St. Eligius) and Robert Wade (Dr. Wade's husband).
* HollywoodTourettes: One VerySpecialEpisode featured a [[KathyBates homeless woman]] with Tourette's who spewed profanity and racial slurs.
* HospitalGurneyScene: All the time.
* IHaveThisFriend: Erlich tries this one a lot.
* InstrumentalThemeTune: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdNXBgces1Q Composed by Dave Grusin.]]
* IntercontinuityCrossover: Several, which [[http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/crossovers.html raises some interesting questions]]...
* ItIsNotYourTime: Wayne Fiscus' near-death experience after [[spoiler:being shot by an ER patient]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Dr. Craig. He's a rude, arrogant, pompous windbag and has an absolutely atrocious bedside manner. But don't ever question whether he cares about the lives he saves.
* KilledOffForReal: '''Duh.'''
** Main characters who were KilledOffForReal include [[spoiler:Dr. White]] (shot by [[spoiler:Shirley Daniels]]), [[spoiler:Nina Morrison]]'s sudden death due to a freak slip-and-fall head injury, [[spoiler:Wendy Armstrong]]'s suicide, [[spoiler:Mrs. Huffnagel]] getting eaten by her hospital bed, [[spoiler:Elliot Axelrod]]'s heart attack., and [[spoiler:Dr. Auschlander]]'s death in the finale.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Especially in the first couple of seasons.
* LogoJoke: The MTM kitten (Mimsie) meows while in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykx8KoILomU surgical outfit]], which is adorable. At the very end of the GrandFinale, while the audience is still reeling from the epic [[spoiler:DownerEnding-AllJustADream MindScrew]] of a final scene, she [[spoiler:'''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fce6tlwwjQo flatlines and dies]]''']]. YouBastard.
* MagicalDefibrillator: Frequently, but not always.
* MarijuanaIsLSD: When Dr. Auschlander asks Dr. Fiscus to get him some pot to help with the side effects of chemo, IntoxicationEnsues.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Dr. Fiscus' unconscious young patient is accompanied by a middle-aged woman claiming to be his fairy godmother; a miraculous improvement in the boy's condition and the random appearance and disappearance of the woman have Fiscus wondering.
* MindScrew: Guess. Go on, ''guess''.
* MistakenForGay: Dr. Craig and Dr. Westphall, along with Dr. Craig and Dr. Erlich.
** In the Craig/Westphall situation, it was by a British real estate agent showing them an apartment. This leads to a SeparatedByACommonLanguage / GettingCrapPastTheRadar moment when she offers Westphall a cigarette by asking "fag?"
* NapoleonDelusion: "[[YouAreNumberSix John Doe #6]]", a patient in the psych ward who suffered from [[IdentityAmnesia amnesia]] and imagined himself at various times to be different people including [[TheMaryTylerMooreShow Mary Richards]], John [=McEnroe=], and Dr. Craig.
* NearDeathExperience: Fiscus has one after getting shot in "After Life".
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Dr. Westphall sets up a community outreach program, to have the residents perform community service. Dr. Ehrlich goes to work with inner city youths [[spoiler: and gets mugged]]. Dr Chandler goes to work at a women's health clinic, [[spoiler: which is bombed by protesters. The next day, a second bomb goes off at St. Eligius, injuring only him]], then goes to work for a suicide hotline [[spoiler: a girl calls several times wanting to kill herself. The next morning, she calls back and it seems like she's doing better, then Chandler hears a gunshot]]. Dr. Morrison goes to work at a prison clinic, [[spoiler:and is raped by an inmate]].
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Several times.
* PhraseCatcher: Especially throughout Season 2. "You're a pig, Ehrlich."
* PreviouslyOn / OnTheNext: Just about every episode of the first five seasons began with a summary of previous events that were pertinent to the episode, and some added a little snippet of events from that night's episode. In the final season, they switched to [[TheTeaser a cold open]] before the credits.
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: Happened to several characters over the years.
* PutOnABus: Several characters, but most notably Shirley Daniels and Bobby Caldwell.
* RapeAsDrama: One season had a running story arc about a rapist preying on the hospital. The rapist was [[spoiler:series regular Dr. White, who a nurse ends up shooting dead in cold blood]].
* RecycledInSpace: Early ads said it was "''HillStreetBlues'' IN A HOSPITAL!"
* {{Revenge}}: Shirley Daniels [[spoiler:shoots Dr. White to avenge the rape of Cathy Martin]]. If you watch the scene carefully, you'll see that she actually [[spoiler:shoots him twice]]...and, appropriately, [[spoiler:the first shot [[GroinAttack isn't to the heart]]]].
* RunningGag: Season 2 has every major character call Dr. Ehrlich a pig.
* SanitySlippage: The residency program, coupled with marital problems, eventually became too much for [[spoiler:Dr. White]].
* SeriesContinuityError: In a Season 2 episode, Dr. Westphall tells a family that he doesn't believe in taking comatose patients off of life support, and yet in the Season 4 WholeEpisodeFlashback "Time Heals", he is shown [[spoiler:personally disconnecting his brain-dead wife from life support]], which happened several years before the events of the Season 2 episode!
** FridgeBrilliance: He could've been all for it in the past, but [[spoiler:[[MyGodWhatHaveIDone the guilt and regret of having done it to his wife]] changed his mind on the issue]].
* SceneryCensor: A few times.
* ShoutOut: Oh, goodness. (And yes, these only make the final scene even more strange.)
** Dr. Craig starts singing "Sit Down, John" from ''[[SeventeenSeventySix 1776]]'' when the Craigs go to Philadelphia.
** In one episode, Dr. Beale (the psychiatrist) is heard speaking with someone on the phone: "I'm sure your daughter-in-law isn't a witch, [[Series/{{Bewitched}} Mrs. Stevens]]... you ''saw'' the sofa levitating?"
** In the morgue: "Patient [[Series/{{Mash}} #4077, Blake, Henry]]. Cause of death: [[McLeaned plane crash]]."
** Reference is made to a one-armed patient being sought by a "[[TheFugitive Dr. Kimble]]".
** In the Season 2 episode "After Dark", Shirley Daniels goes to the morgue to get "the report on [[Series/KnightRider that Hasselhoff car wreck]]".
** Overheard on the hospital PA at least once: "[[Film/TheThreeStooges Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard...]]"
** Byron Stewart plays Warren Coolidge, an orderly. It turns out this is the same character he played on TheWhiteShadow. When Timothy Van Patten guest stars on the episode "Any Portrait in a Storm," [[CelebrityParadox they run into each other]]. Stewart says "Hey Salami!" but Van Patten tells him he must be confusing him with someone else.
** Before [[spoiler:Victor's]] wedding, as he's having second thoughts due to a mysterious other woman, Dr. Craig tells him, "This is not 1968. It's time you ''graduate'' into adulthood. Don't drive ''over troubled waters'' with some ''plastic'' bimbette " A shout out to ''Film/TheGraduate'' (Creator/WilliamDaniels played Creator/DustinHoffman's father in the movie), its theme song singers SimonAndGarfunkel, and the famous one word of investment advice.
** When Ellen Craig suggests she goes into grief counseling after a few events re-trigger her pain following her son's death, Mark Craig dismissively tells her "Simon's Broadway bound". Philip Sterling, the actor who played psychiatrist Dr. Simon Weiss, was appearing on stage in Broadway Bound at the time.
* TheShrink: Dr. Beale in Season 1, Dr. Ridley in Season 2.
* SlapSlapKiss: Victor Erlich and Lucy Papandrao.
* {{Southies}}
* SurferDude: Erlich's best friend Dogger. Dogger implies that Erlich also fit this trope before he moved to the East Coast.
* SurgeonsCanDoAutopsiesIfTheyWant: Unusually for a medical drama, this is mostly averted.
* SurprisePregnancy: Happened to an obese woman in "Hearts", and to a severely developmentally-disabled women after she and a similarly-disabled young man get it on. It's kind of hard to believe this show was on network TV.
* TalkingInYourDreams: In the episode "Sweet Dreams," Morrison has a nightmare where [[spoiler:Peter White talks with him from beyond the grave, and creepily confesses that he deserved to be killed.]]
* TitleMontage
* ThatCameOutWrong: Erlich, ''all the time''.
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: [[spoiler:Heart transplant patient Eve Leighton]].
* TheTroubles: In the Season 2 episode "Under Pressure", two Irish boys (one Catholic, one Protestant) end up in the ER after fighting. One boy's mother references TheTroubles by name.
* UncleTomfoolery: Luther, in earlier seasons; Dr. Chandler even called him out on it. Luther eventually got better in later seasons, first becoming a paramedic and then studying to become a physician's assistant.
* VanityPlate
* VerySpecialEpisode
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: The Season 4 two-parter "Time Heals", in which we see St. Eligius in its early days, Dr. Auschlander as a young doctor, and Dr. Westphall as an angry young juvenile delinquent. Also features Dr. Craig as an [[JerkAss arrogant]], [[ProfessionalButtKisser sycophantic]] resident and Helen Rosenthal as a young newlywed.
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