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Characters / St. Elsewhere

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St. Eligius Staff

     Dr. Donald Westphall 

Actor: Ed Flanders

Chief of Medicine of St. Eligius, widower and father of Elizabeth and Tommy.



    Dr. Ben Samuels 

Actor: David Birney


  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While billed second only to Ed Flanders, his character becomes less prominent over the course of the first season. He is neither seen nor heard from again after the 20th episode of the season, and no explanation is given.
  • Really Gets Around: A subplot of the pilot episode involves Samuels telling all his sexual conquests that he's contracted a venereal disease.

     Dr. Daniel Auschlander 

Actor: Norman Lloyd

The hospital's avuncular Chief of Services, a liver specialist who has been diagnosed with liver cancer.


    Dr. Mark Craig 

Actor: William Daniels

Ill-tempered Chief of Surgery at St. Eligius.


  • Badass Mustache
  • Break the Haughty
  • Catchphrase: "Oh, for crying out loud!"
  • The Determinator
  • Dr. Jerk: Especially earlier in the series. In the second episode, after saving a man's life with a bypass operation, he comments to the patient's young, chubby son that his son's a doctor, and that maybe the younger Craig will operate on him someday.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Type 2/Type 4. He is very blunt to the point of rudeness. He is impatient, fussy, and arrogant. What drives him, though, is a deep conviction in the preciousness of life, and he will not tolerate any less of others than he does himself.
  • Mentor: A reluctant one to Dr. Ehrlich.
  • The Napoleon

    Dr. Hugh Beale 

Actor: G. W. Bailey


    Dr. Victor Ehrlich born Bernard Oseransky 

Actor: Ed Begley Jr.

Tall, blonde, bespectacled surgical resident from California, and usually on the receiving end of Dr. Craig's wrath.


  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Throughout season 5 with Lucy Papandrao.
  • Character Development: Matures both as a doctor and as a person to the point where he is Happily Married with Nurse Lucy Papandrao.
  • Dr. Jerk: A much milder case than Dr. Craig, though.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: He usually wears Hawaiian shirts with neckties as part of his hospital attire.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A non-sexual example: he is at least a foot taller than his fellow surgical intern Jackie Wade.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Dr. Martin returns to work after her stay in the psych ward following her second rape, he manages to be even more insulting while apologizing for his past behavior.
  • No Social Skills
  • Phrase Catcher: Particularly through season 2, where every major character utters a variant of "You're a pig, Ehrlich."
  • Surfer Dude: Before coming to Boston, Ehrlich was one of these in California. His friend Dogger still is.

    Dr. Peter White 

Actor: Terence Knox

A resident with trouble juggling his work and family responsibilities. He begins a long mental and emotional slide in season 1 that only gets worse as the show goes on.


    Dr. Wayne Fiscus 

Actor: Howie Mandel

A sarcastic emergency medicine resident.


    Dr. John Steinbeck "Jack" Morrison 

Actor: David Morse

Compassionate resident who often has trouble with trusting his own judgement and remaining objective about his patients.


  • Butt-Monkey
  • Designated Victim: Starting in season 2, something bad would usually happen to Morrison.
    • Season 2: His wife Nina dies after slipping and hitting her head in the bathroom. He is cut from the residency program. Is only reinstated because a slot opened up after Wendy Armstrong's suicide.
    • Season 3: Faces the end of his career over a Worthless Foreign Degree
    • Season 4: Injures himself while running to make rounds and slipping on vomit. Son Pete is kidnapped. Raped while doing a Westphall-mandated community outreach service in a local prison.
    • Season 5: Suffers from PTSD as a result of his rape. His attacker escapes from prison and stalks his family. Son Pete inadvertently shoots his attacker dead.
    • Season 6: Second wife Joanne moves back to Seattle after her first husband sues for custody following the death of Morrison's attacker.
  • The Lost Lenore: Nina. Much of Morrison's arc in season 2 is him dealing with her sudden death.
  • Trauma Conga Line: And how.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: In the pilot episode, Morrison tells a patient that he had to go to medical school in Mexico because his grades were not good enough for American universities. In season 3, it is revealed that the school was a shady "accelerated" program that counted experience instead of giving a full medical training, and Morrison has to fight to keep his job.

    Nurse Helen Rosenthal 

Actor: Christina Pickles


  • Drugs Are Bad
  • Serial Spouse: Already on husband number four at the beginning of the series. Her affair with Richard Clarendon doesn't end in marriage, but develops into a long-term cohabitation.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Her fourth husband leaves her in season 3 because of her affair with Richard Clarendon, the union negotiator. Apparently, this happens so often that four of her five children aren't particularly fazed by it.

    Dr. Vijay Kochar 

Actor: Kavi Raz


  • Butt-Monkey: Frequently the target of Dr. Craig's racism.
  • Demoted to Extra: Was a regular during season 1 and 2, only billed as a guest star thereafter.

    Dr. Annie Cavanero 

Actor: Cynthia Sikes

An OB-GYN who is just past her residency.


     Dr. Philip Chandler 

Actor: Denzel Washington


     Nurse Shirley Daniels 

Actor: Ellen Bry

A younger nurse who usually associates with the residents.


  • Ax-Crazy: After being released on bail before her trial, Shirley exhibits no remorse for murdering Peter White in cold blood. On her first shift back in the ER, she pulls a gun out on a patient and refers to him as "Peter".
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick
  • The Bus Came Back

    Dr. Wendy Armstrong 

Actor: Kim Miyori


    Dr. Cathy Martin 

Actor: Barbara Whinnery

Pathology resident with a spacey demeanor, heightened sexuality, and a tendency to dress in black.


  • Broken Bird: Especially after being raped. Twice.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: It is revealed in "Rough Cut" that she had the highest score out of the first-year residents' board certification exams. A brief scene with her after she switches to psychology indicates she's particularly skilled with younger patients.
  • Characterization Marches On: After being raped, Martin is not quite as spacey; she switchers her residency to psychology and stops dressing in black.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: At one point, after Ehrlich comments "Is there an echo in here", she says "I don't know. Is there? Hello?"
  • Creepy Mortician: A mild case.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a few to Peter White after he rapes her.

     Dr. Jacqueline Wade 

Actor: Sagan Lewis

Mature and capable surgical resident from Lewiston, ME; a friendly rival to Dr. Ehrlich.


     Nurse Lucy Papandrao 

Actor: Jennifer Savidge


     Luther Hawkins 

Actor: Eric Laneuville


  • Orderlies Are Creeps: Averted. Luther is the one person any doctor, nurse or patient would be glad to have around. Even his crashing of the women's aerobic class in "Newheart" is laughed off.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Chandler calls Luther out on this in "Equinox".

     Joan Halloran 

Actor: Nancy Stafford


     Dr. Robert Caldwell 

Actor: Mark Harmon


  • Bus Crash: Mark Harmon left the show halfway through season 4 when his character contracted AIDS. The characters receive word that Dr. Caldwell has died in season 6's "Heaven's Skate".
  • Byronic Hero: Particularly during season 4, when his impulsive and reckless side comes to the surface.
  • Dating Catwoman: In season 2, he's involved romantically with Joan Halloran, who begins as an antagonistic character that clashes with the doctors over the hospital's expenses.
  • Porn Stache: In the first half of season 2, Mark Harmon had a very thick mustache. He gets rid of it in the episode "A Pig Too Far", but not before walking around with it half-shaved off.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In season 4 before he contracts AIDS.

     Dr. Eliot Axelrod 

Actor: Stephen Furst

Nervous medical student introduced in season 2. He becomes a resident in the next season.


     Dr. Michael Ridley 

Actor: Paul Sand


     Dr. Simon Weiss 

Actor: Philip Sterling


  • The Shrink: The longest lasting psychiatrist character, although less prominent than Beale or Ridley.

     Warren Coolidge 

Actor: Byron Stewart


  • Gentle Giant: At 6' 8", he towers over patients and doctors. Used to moving effect in "Weigh In, Way Out", where he fulfills a dying man's request to be rocked like a baby.

     Dr. Roxanne Turner 

Actor: (Alfre Woodard)


     Dr. Carol Novino 

Actor: Cindy Pickett


     Dr. Seth Griffin 

Actor: Bruce Greenwood


  • Heel–Faith Turn: After possibly contracting AIDS, Griffin becomes a born-again Christian when he meets the new hospital chaplain.
  • Smug Snake: Griffin at least started out this way, particularly when he tried to pit fellow first year residents Carol Novino and Susan Birch against each other. Birch ends up taking the fall for a patient death for which Griffin was responsible and is kicked out of the residency program.

     Dr. Paulette Kiem 

Actor: France Nuyen


     Dr. John Gideon 

Patients and their families

     Stephen Mc Allister 

Actor: Jack Bannon


     Ralph "The Birdman" Selover 

Actor: Richard Marcus


     John Doe # 12 

Actor: Tom Hulce


     Eve Leighton 

Actor: Marian Mercer

Dr. Craig's heart transplant patient in early season 2.


     Florence Hufnagel 

Actor: Florence Halop

A frequent patient in season 3.


     John Doe # 6 

Actor: Oliver Clark

Amnesiac patient in season 4 and 5.


     Murray Robbin 

Actor: Murray Rubin


     Augusta Endicott 

Actor: Dorothy McGuire


  • Expy: For Rose Kennedy.

     Brett Johnson 

Actor: Kyle Secor


Family and other outsiders

     Aunt Charisse 

Actor: Louise Lasser

Dr. Ehrlich's aunt, who raised him after his parents died.


     Ellen Craig, nee Harper 

Actor: Bonnie Bartlett


     Stephen Craig 

Actor: Scott Paulin


  • Drugs Are Bad: Stephen's drug addiction causes friction with his father. His drug use is also a factor in the car accident that kills him.
  • Generation Xerox: Following in his dad's footsteps by becoming a doctor.

     Elizabeth "Lizzie" Westphall 

Actor: Dana Short


  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: An aversion.
  • The Caretaker: She is this for her autistic brother Tommy, to the point where she feels guilty for going to Vassar and ends up transferring to a local school.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named for Dr. Westphall's mother, who died in a fire when he was young.

    Tommy Westphall 

Actor: Chad Allen

Autistic son of Donald Westphall


  • Dead Guy Junior: Named for Dr. Westphall's late father Thomas.
  • Verbal Tic: Due to his autism, he always refers to himself in the third person and in very simple, broken phrases. ("Tommy want cereal", "Tommy go now")
  • Walking Spoiler: Due to his role in the Series Finale "The Last One".

    Richard Clarendon 

Actor: Herbert Edelman

Union negotiator who begins a relationship with Helen Rosenthal in season 3.


     Marcy Eisenberg 

Actor: Jeannie Elias

Helen Rosenthal's eldest child.


    Jeff Rosenthal 

Actor: Ian Fried

Helen Rosenthal's youngest child.


    Myra White 

Actor: Karen Landry

Long-suffering wife of Dr. Peter White


     Nina Morrison 

Actor: Deborah White


     Roberta Sloan 

Actor: Jean Bruce Scott

Dr. Victor Ehrlich's first wife.


    Katherine Auschlander 

Actor: Jane Wyatt


    Judge Farnham 

Actor: Jack Dodson


    Alex Corey 

Actor: Jeff Allin



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