Follow TV Tropes

Following

Awesome / ER

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    General 
  • Virtually all outdoor episodes — in which ER doctors prove that they're as good in the field as in the hospital.
  • Anytime the words "Mass casualty alert" are said you're about to see some terrifying and amazingly awesome things happen as the entire ER staff mobilizes to respond to critical injuries and an overwhelming number of patients all at once. Things like a 50 car pileup in a blizzard, a high-speed police chase which ends in an overturned school bus, and the very last scene of the show when the call comes in for an industrial accident. Its no wonder they decided to end the series on one of these moments.
  • Any of the long, frantic "oner" scenes are a CMOA for the cast and crew.
  • Archie Morris' development into a seriously competetent professional qualifies. When Carter tells him to "set the tone" as he departs in Season 11 (similar to how Greene told him to do so), Morris is too hungover to quite grasp the words. This leads an amused Carter to shake his head and reply, "Never mind", as if to retract the sentiment upon realizing that his successor isn't emotionally mature enough to handle things yet. However, after getting taken hostage in Season 14 and seeing his taker (with whom he had bonded over the course of the episode) get shot dead by a sniper, Archie Morris is left shaken and grounded, and it causes him to mature quite a bit and take on a more mature role as a leader of the hospital. The death of his best friend, Greg Pratt, further forces him to confront life's harsh realities, and by the end, he's become one of the most competent doctors in the ER (and maintained a steady relationship with his police officer girlfriend). When Carter makes a return in Season 15, he's quick to notice the shift in personality:
    Carter: Looks like you followed my advice, Archie.
    Morris: How's that?
    Carter: You set the tone.
    • Made all the better by Archie's faint smile, indicating that he recognizes the significance of the allusion.
    • Abby lampshades the growth, as well.
      Abby: If I were in trouble, Archie, I would call for you. I would. I would trust you with anything. (Beat) And I didn't always feel that way, but I do now.
    • The very last scene in the series is a perfect example of the product of his development, as Morris methodically triages the arriving victims of a power substation explosion in County General's ambulance bay.

    Season 1 
  • Peter Benton does a ruptured abdominal aneurysm in the Pilot, despite the fact that he was just a resident, had practically no idea what he was doing, and had (to start with) almost no one to help him do it.
  • In "The Birthday Party", Doug punches out an abusive parent after discovering that his boot matched the shoe print he found on his daughter's back.
  • "Dr. Bob", a Polish immigrant who for most of her appearances in Season 1 worked as a clerk in the ER, performs an emergency procedure on a patient and saves his life. It turns out that in her home country she was a cardiothoracic surgeon and was studying for her board exams while doing scut work at County.
    • This later leads to a minor CMoH when Carter finds her in tears, thinking she's ruined her chances of ever getting certified in the US. Carter reassures her, offers to help her with her English for the board exams, and escorts her back into the reception area, where "Dr. Bob" is greeted with applause and cheers by the rest of the staff.
    • This entire episode "Blizzard" is actually a Moment of Awesome for the show. It's really the first time we've seen the ER respond to a "mass casualty" incident full force. In this case over 100 patients from a car crash all at once. And they go all out in this episode really showing what it is when this kind of things hits a major trauma center. The staff mobilize as if they're going into battle, complete with a full on slow motion lock-and-load montage and a team shot before the patients start coming in.
  • In "Feb 5, '95", Benton berates Nurse Haleh for writing down a procedure before Benton ordered it. She proceeds to make him write down everything and even clarify initials that she has been using for decades. When Benton complains about her to Carol, she rejects his complaint and tells him to get off his high horse and recognize that it's the nurses who run the hospital and that while he is still technically "in training", Haleh already graduated and has been an ER nurse for over 20 years.
Advertisement:

    Season 2 
  • Peter Benton stares down an abusive Cop husband whose wife came in for treatment after suffering his abuse. He says to him, "What do you think when you're beating her? What a big man you are?"
    • Then the very nice follow up later in the episode when said cop is brought into the ER. The other cops (one of whom Benton tipped off to the fact that the guy was beating his wife) claim that the guy fell down some stairs while chasing a suspect, but it's pretty obvious that they took him somewhere and beat the crap out of him.
  • Peter Benton punches a prick orthopedic equipment salesman who parked in his spot. The guy challenged him to do something about it, so Peter threw his case of equipment out. The guy then tried to take a swing at him with a prosthetic leg, so Peter ducked and then punched him in the face.
  • Doug Ross' rescue of a boy trapped in a flooding storm drain, under increasingly difficult circumstances, in "Hell and High Water". The shot of him triumphantly emerging from the river after getting the boy out is one of the most memorable in the show's decade-and-a-half run. It started the tradition of having one episode a season where one of the main characters must perform medical feats away from the ER, most of which are also CMoAs. The episode was also the highest rated in the show's history, pulling in 48 million viewers.

    Season 3 
  • In "Fear of Flying", Dennis Gant, fed up with Benton's criticism, snaps at him, "You're a real prick, you know that?" Pretty ballsy considering Benton could have disciplined or even fired him for that.
    • In the same episode, mild-mannered Abby Keaton ripping Benton a new one for his arrogant presumption in thinking that he knows better than one of the best pediatric surgeons in the country.
      Keaton: I didn't ask for your judgment!
  • In "Homeless for the Holidays", Jeanie Boulet voluntarily outs herself to her co-workers as HIV-positive not for their sympathy but so that they will stop talking about her in the hypothetical.

    Season 4 
  • "Ambush", the live episode. Something like this had never been done with this type of show and while it wasn't perfect, overall, the cast and crew did a very good job of pulling it off.
    • From the same episode, Kerry telling off the cameraman for even suggesting that certain patients get preferential treatment.
  • In "Exodus", Carter takes charge after the hospital is contaminated by benzene and Weaver is incapacitated by the fumes. He takes an impossible situation and does the best he can with it, resulting in a lot of lives saved and him earning a personal commendation by the leader of the hazard team, even as the latter is calling out the whole situation as a complete mess that should never have happened.
  • In a Season 4 episode, Greene is with his father at a VA hospital after a COPD episode when a multi-patient trauma arrives. Greene ends up enlisted to assist when a previously-stable patient codes while the other ER doctors are all busy on other codes.
  • Corday was treating a patient whose leg and voice she'd saved earlier. The patient was coding and Corday and Romano tried to revive her. Romano was ready to give up but Elizabeth just wouldn't accept that a patient she'd worked so hard on would just die. Romano tells her its over. Corday tells him to stop being such a prick and eventually revives her.

    Season 5 
  • Peter Benton doing procedures on a patient strapped to a load of dynamite. They trigger a detonator and everyone else clears the room before it blows. Peter just takes the detonator and throws it before ducking down, surviving unscathed.
  • Doctor Benton is filling in at a small backwater hospital in the Deep South, and spends the episode gradually adjusting to his new environment, and gaining the trust of some of the racist locals. When it's time for him to go home, there is an explosion at a dock, and he ends up performing some very expedited emergency medicine on a badly injured man, assisted by one of the aforementioned racist locals. This emergency work included using a large roll of saran wrap as a bandage due to the large gash in the patient's midsection.

    Season 6 
  • In the Season 6 premiere "Leave It to Weaver", admissions clerk Randi punches out a patient who pulled the fire alarm because he was angry that the doctors wouldn't take his migraine headache ahead of the massive trauma they were dealing with.
    Weaver: Stay down. You move, and I'll let her at you.
  • In "Truth & Consequences", Kerry not-so-subtly shames Malucci for snooping when she finds out that he's been asking everyone why she uses a cane. She cheerfully approaches him and casually tells him that if he wants to know, he can just ask her. He awkwardly responds that he would never do that, as it isn't any of his business, and she pointedly tells him, "No. It's not."
  • A bit meta, but in episode 3 "Greene with Envy" Kerry hires her old teacher Gabe Lawrenence played by Alan Alda. Despite where his storyline goes, for a couple of episodes its essentially Alda returning to the role of Hawkeye Pierce under a different name and it is glorious to watch him back in that sort of role.
  • Gabe Lawrence saving one more life as he leaves the hospital after recognizing his encroaching Alzheimer's Disease.
  • In "The Domino Heart", there's Corday's final confrontation with the serial killer who'd been psychologically tormenting her for weeks, coming up with the one way to beat him as she declares the very reason why she's unambiguously better than him, and she'll never be seeing him again. Then she turns and walks out, leaving him to impotently shout for her to come back.
  • Mark is treating a patient who has revoked her DNR order. Weaver, of course, objects and tries to take control of the situation. First by suggesting that Mark's in no condition to handle the case because of his mother's recent death, then by threatening to take over the patient's care, and finally by nagging him endlessly as he tries to revive the woman. A fed-up Mark finally grows a pair and yells at her "Shut up, Kerry or Get Out!!" And she finally shuts up.
  • Doug and Carol's reunion in "Such Sweet Sorrow", the penultimate episode of Season 6. So spectacular that it garnered several immediate imitators (similar scenarios for character departures on General Hospital and CSI), and so memorable and iconic that sixteen years later, when word got out that Micheal Weatherly would be departing NCIS, fans immediately began clamoring for producers to "bring back Cote de Pablo (Ziva) so that they can write them off like Doug and Carol."
  • In the season finale, after an unsuccessful group intervention alongside Mark, Kerry, Jing-Mei and Anspaugh, Benton tries to convince Carter to attend rehab, only to be punched in the face by his protégé. Carter immediately regrets this and tears up, and Benton remains steadfast in his desire to help:
    Benton: Carter, you wanna fight? That's cool, man, but either way, you're getting your ass in that van.
Advertisement:

    Season 7 
  • In "Benton Backwards", Kovac actually kills a man who tried to mug him and Abby during their first date. Even better, he managed to recover quickly and beat him up mercilessly after said mugger blind-sided him. Unfortunately, Kovac then felt rather guilty about the whole incident.
  • In "The Visit", Benton beats the crap out of Malucci, who really needed to be taken down a peg, for referring to his nephew Jesse as a "banger."
  • In an early Season 7 episode, Abby (as a nurse) assists with the delivery of a micro-preemie who does not survive. When she returns with the husband to find a doctor with a group of med students "showing off" the baby, Abby then proceeds to rip into him about giving the father false hope and then puts him in his place regarding how to show compassion to the family. The doctor is left speechless.
  • In the penultimate episode of Season 7, Mark treats a boy with signs of parental abuse. The father comes in, insisting that he wasn't abused, the boy finally admits the abuse and DCFS put him in protective custody. In the season finale, the father snaps and goes on a rampage, shooting up anyone and everyone who gets in his way as well as the people who helped get his son some medical treatment. He killed at least nine people, including the neighbour who brought in the son, and injured at least twelve, including Adele Newman (the social worker who often worked with the staff, especially Doug Ross). Mark suspects that he might try to go after Elizabeth and their baby. Finally, the father gets shot by one of his victims and is taken to County where the ER doctors work to stabilize him. The father keeps screaming for his son and threatening to kill anyone who helped take him away. He sees Greene and starts threatening him as well. Greene finds out that the shooter would have gone to his house if he hadn't been shot. They stabilize him and take him up to the OR. Greene finds himself alone with the shooter when the elevator doors unexpectedly close. The shooter starts coding and Greene prepares to defibrillate. He looks in the shooter's eyes and instead decides to let him die, shocking the air so that the monitor will show he attempted to save him. The shooter looks in Greene's eyes before he dies.

    Season 8 
  • In "Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic", Weaver has fired incompetent resident Dave Malucci. Ostensibly for having sex with a paramedic while on duty, but mostly to ensure that he takes the blame for the death of a patient (conveniently ignoring her own failure to supervise him). After all of Dave's pleas leave Weaver completely unmoved,he proceeds to deliver an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech, where he basically says everything that everyone has wanted to say to her for years:
    Dave: You're a sad, cold-hearted bitch, you know that?
    Kerry: Somebody call security.
    Dave: You may not like me, but nobody here likes you.
    Kerry: Get Out!!
    Dave: You know why this stupid ER is so important to you, lady? You know why? Because it's the only thing you have in your life! Nazi dyke! (rips off ID, throws it in her face, and storms out)
    • The use of the homophobic slur is unfortunate, but other than that it was thrilling to see Weaver finally get a dose of the public humiliation she had so frequently doled out to the staff for 6 years.
    • On the other hand, to viewers more sympathetic to Weaver — who, whatever her many flaws, is a superb doctor — watching her stoically take every bit of petty, unprofessional abuse Malucci could dish out and still tossing his mediocre ass out on the street was pretty damn satisfying.
  • In "I'll Be Home for Christmas", on Peter's last day at County, he manages to save a six-year old boy who was accidentally shot by his mother. Romano claimed the boy was a goner. Peter told him to either shut up and help or get out.
  • In "A Simple Twist of Fate", Kovac beating the crap out of Abby's abusive neighbor, after he breaks her nose for convincing his wife to leave him.
  • Kerry Weaver bodily throwing herself into an ambulance surrounded by rogue, sparking electrical wires in the middle of a torrential downpour and, with the help of Michael Gallant, performing an emergency C-section which saves both mother and baby.
    • In that same episode, Sandy Lopez saving Kerry — aka her future wife — from a crashing telephone pole, and Gallant living up to his name by trying to save a firefighter who was being electrocuted.

    Season 9 
  • In "A Thousand Cranes", after being pulled over and harassed by some bigoted cops, Pratt and Gallant are now treating one of them:
    Pratt: This must be pretty scary for you, huh? All the white folks are gone and now it's just you and a couple of niggers with knives.
    (Cop's heart monitor beeps rapidly)

    Season 10 
  • In "Impulse Control", Sam punches out a patient's abusive boyfriend after he makes the mistake of grabbing her arm.

    Season 12 
  • In "No Place to Hide", Kerry walks into the ER after her surgery, without her cane for the first time in her life.
Advertisement:

    Season 13 
  • In the season premiere "Bloodline", Sam ruthlessly blows away her abusive ex-husband Steve Curtis with his own gun.
  • Morris growing a pair and telling off Jerkass surgeon Dr. Crenshaw, to the point of almost bringing the guy to tears.

    Season 15 
  • All of the original cast members as well as some of the secondary/tertiary ones who joined in Seasons 2-4 not only returning for the final season, but stepping back into character as though it had been merely days instead of years that they had played the role.
  • In "Old Times", Benton observes Carter's kidney transplant and takes charge, forcing the surgeon in charge to run through the universal "Safe Surgery Checklist", much to the latter man's annoyance. It pays off when they end up needing reperfusion solution and thanks to one of the nurses raising the issue while going through the checklist, they have some readynote .
  • The last few minutes of the series finale. Specifically, the staff evaluating the victims of an industrial accident, combined with the full theme music, and the pullback shot of the hospital exterior. It was really a shining example of what ER did best.
  • In the grand scope of things it's minor, but for anyone who's followed the show since the beginning one sentence:
    • Banfield flashbacks to the time her son was treated at County years before, we're viewing from the inside of the ambulance, it stops the doors open
      • "Welcome to County General, I'm Doctor Greene"

Top