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Series / All Saints

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Left to right: Von Ryan, Dr Mitch Stevens, Bronwyn Craig, Dr Luke Forlano, Jared Levine, Stephanie Markham, Ben Markham, Connor Costello and Terri Sullivan

All Saints is an Australian Medical Drama series created by Bevan Lee and developed by Jo Porter, which ran on Seven Network for 493 episodes over 12 seasons, from 1998 to 2009. The series was set at the fictitious All Saints Western General Hospital, in Sydney's Western suburbs.

Initially, the series revolved around Ward 17 (nicknamed the Garbage Ward because it took the overflow from other, more specialised wards), and the nursing unit attached to it, managed by Sister Therese Sullivan (Georgie Parker). In 2004, the series received a retool, with Ward 17 closing, several characters being written out and Terri and her surviving staff being transferred to the Emergency Department, under Dr. Frank Campion (John Howard). A second retool followed in 2009, with a new focus on rescue operations in the field and the show being renamed All Saints: Medical Response Unit. The series ended in October that year with the resignation of Von Ryan (Judith McGrath), the only main character remaining from the first episode.

All Saints provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Nelson rebukes Sterling over his amusement at the mobile phone guy below, Von approaches and mutters, "It's a little bit funny." Going by his expression, Nelson agrees.
  • The Alcoholic: Nelson (introduced as a Recovered Addict, though he did have relapses), Mitch (implied to be the result of the brain tumour that would kill him) and Steve.
  • Artistic Licence Medicine: Occasionally. One particularly controversial incident involved a claim that a case of Brother–Sister Incest resulting in pregnancy could result in the baby being born with Down syndrome.
  • Ass Shove: In the first episode of the Emergency era, a patient's mobile phone goes off in the waiting room, and he sheepishly tells Von that he can't turn it off. Cut to Nelson. "Up his bum?!" Ends up being played for drama when a call results in a perforated bowel, and the call turns out to have come from Sterlo.
  • Attempted Rape: Neil Phillips to Terri in "After the Ball". She fights him off with a pair of scissors and ends up charged with his murder.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: On Terri's first day in the Emergency Department, she overhears Jessica and another nurse gossiping about her being out of her depth after having spent years as a Ward Nurse and a NUM. Terri confronts Jessica about it later, prompting a Jerkass Realization.
  • Big Disaster Plot: Several of these, often at the start or end of a season: the bombing in Season 3, the train crash in Season 5, and a mass shooting in season 6.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: "Hard Rain" has a particularly sad case where the young girl who drowns turns out to be the daughter of the woman currently giving birth at All Saints.
  • Citizenship Marriage: In Season 3, Regina gets engaged to Fergus, an Irish patient about to be deported. They actually find out this isn't going to work before they can go through with it, but they eventually decide to get married regardless, with Regina moving to Ireland with him. It doesn't last, though, as she returns to All Saints late in Season 5.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: In season 2, Terri is torn between her duties at All Saints and her obligations to her order of nuns, eventually being forced to move out of the community house. She ends up leaving the order altogether in Season 3.
  • Date Rape: Jaz is raped by her boyfriend Danny late in the first season. Complicated by the fact that she would have consented if he'd been willing to wait to get a condom.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Jared's fiance Amanda in the first season, a snob who disapproves of him staying a nurse and especially doing so in the Western suburbs. She eventually leaves him for good when he has an HIV scare and she thinks he may have infected her (for the record, he was negative and he hadn't done anything beyond kissing her).
  • Domestic Abuse: Terri's father is violent to his wife, with Terri urging her to leave him more than once. It's eventually revealed that Terri left Mitch because she feared he would go the same way.
  • Dr. Jerk: Professor Richard Craig, who regularly tries to bully patients into going along with his (usually experimental) treatment ideas while paying no respect to the nurses, and at one point lies to a patient about his wife surviving their car accident. He also blackmails his daughter Bron into resigning from the ward if he saves the life of her friend, though he didn't technically hold her to it (the patient died in surgery and Bron left of her own accord, as did Craig shortly after).
  • Fake Guest Star: Jaz's replacements as ward clerk, such as Regina and Jodi, were never credited as regulars like she had been.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The show had this at times, usually four women and four men, in particular for most of season 2 and 3, (Terri, Stephanie, Bronwyn and Von; Connor, Jared, Luke and Mitch), or for most of season 6 (Terri, Von, Paula and Charlotte; Mitch/Nelson, Jared/Vincent, Luke and Scott). This is muddied a bit by the frequent use of Fake Guest Star, though.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Mitch and Terri at the end of "Swept Away", in which the former had been quarantined due to an ebola scare (which was a false alarm). This scene marked their Relationship Upgrade.
  • Hollywood Jehovah's Witness: The "no blood transfusions" rule comes up in "The Mercy Seat". In this case, the patient is in no condition to decide either way, but her fiance insists that she was no longer practicing and wants to claim power of attorney over her father. Before the hospital can come to a decision, Frank decides to give her the transfusions, but, whether because it's too late or she was too far gone from the start, the patient dies anyway.
  • Hospital Hottie: All over the place, if perhaps not at the level of other medical dramas. Mitch Stevens and Luke Forlano stand out.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In "Ground Zero" Frank defends Terri to a patient's son, before telling her, "No one abuses my staff except me." This despite the fact that he already intends to have her gone by the end of the day.
  • I Don't Like You And You Don't Like Me: From Terri to Frank at the end of "Ground Zero", when she asserts that she will be staying in the ED.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In "Rush to Judgement", Bron unwittingly eats some hash cookies a patient had with her.
  • Irishman and a Jew: The Odd Couple friendship between Connor and Jared was prominent during the early seasons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Von Ryan, who's perfectly willing to act the part of a Battleaxe Nurse to particularly obnoxious patients or coworkers, but she does have a softer side.
  • Killed Off for Real: Of the main cast, Stephanie (car accident), Mitch (brain tumour), Sean (hit by a car) and Erica (murdered).
  • Love Dodecahedron: Mainly between Stephanie, her husband Ben, his partner Bron, her boyfriend Luke, Ben's later girlfriend Paula (who would end up with Luke after Ben went back to Bron and married her) and possibly Connor and Jodi.
  • M.D. Envy: Subverted with Jared. He was initially introduced as a medical student only to give that up after becoming more enthusiastic about nursing over the course of the first season.
  • Medal of Dishonour: Terri is awarded Employee of the Year in Season 3. It's probably meant genuinely, since Terri earned it with her actions following the hospital bombing in the season premiere, but it's also implied to be at least partly a ploy to distract from the impending closure of Ward 17 for cost-cutting reasons. When Terri accepts the award, she makes a speech about how much the patients are going to suffer without Ward 17, which saves the ward at the cost of Ward 12 instead.
  • Münchausen Syndrome:
    • Neil Phillips, a recurring patient in Season 2, who eventually becomes a Stalker with a Crush to Terri.
    • Terri suspects a patient of this in Season 3's "In the Blood", making it clear she's still traumatised from her experience with Neil. It turns out to be porphyria.
  • Number Two:
    • Stephanie was Terri's second-in-command of the nursing unit, later succeeded by Connor, who in turn was succeeded by Nelson. When Nelson became NUM of the Emergency Department, Jessica was his second-in-command.
    • Charlotte was second-in-command of the Emergency department before being replaced by Zoe.
  • Old Friend, New Gender: In "Just Like a Woman" Connor is assigned to Alana, a pre-op transwoman. Connor seems accepting at first (for 1999 at least), though he doesn't take it well when he learns she's his former football coach. He gets better.
  • Parental Incest: the twist in an early episode involving an abandoned baby, whose teenaged mother was trying to get her away from their father.
  • Precision F-Strike: In Frank's introductory episode, during a heated argument with Terri:
    Frank: If you ever use your influence with your previous employees to white-ant me again, you will never work in Emergency. Can I make it any fucking clearer?
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Brian Vriends as Ben Markham, who had been recurring for over a hundred episodes before being promoted after Stephanie's death halfway through season 3.
    • Season 6 saw the promotions of Jenni Baird as Paula Morgan, Paul Tassone as Nelson Curtis (both recurring since Season 4) and Tammy Macintosh as Dr. Charlotte Beaumont (recurring since season 5).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Mark Priestley, who played Dan Goldman, committed suicide in August 2008, and his last episode coincided with the resolution to the disappearance of Dan's wife Erica. The last ten minutes of that episode had to be rewritten (with Erica being found dead and Dan leaving the hospital), and the impact on subsequent storylines may have been a factor in the Medical Response Unit Retool.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Dr. Charlotte Beaumont had been at All Saints for about a year before her first episode, albeit assigned to other wards. Similarly, Dr. Frank Campion had been the Director of the Emergency Department for some time before he was introduced.
  • Right Behind Me: When Connor complains about whichever agency nurse has been assigned to the ward with Linda Davies behind him, made worse by the fact that she wasn't an agency nurse until the closure of Ward 12 in the previous episode.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension:
    • The episode "Hard Rain" in which Ben and Bron try to save a young girl from a storm drain. They fail.
    • The episode "Heart and Soul" has Bron trapped in a flooding basement, with Ben again having to rescue her. The earlier incident is never referenced, but it still comes across as My Greatest Second Chance.
  • Romantic False Lead: Rose, who married Mitch in season 3 only for the relationship to fall apart due to him still being in love with Terri and her bipolar disorder.
  • Series Continuity Error: In Season 1, Jared and his fiance Amanda have an argument over circumcision, Jared viewing it as outdated and medically unnecessary. In Season 3, Jared and Connor debate it, with Jared defending it using the same Appeal to Tradition Amanda did.
  • Split Personality: Alan, Joseph and Jack Anderson in the episode "Me, Myself and I." Alan knows about the other two, and assumes responsibility for managing their relationships to keep them from finding out.
  • Stage Mum: "Bend Till You Break" has a particularly despicable one, who tries to ignore Mitch's warning's about her daughter's scoliosis so she can keep pushing her into pursuing dancing, while also making it blatantly clear she's only doing it because of her own failed dreams.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: A rather misleading one where the character in question left the show quietly and temporarily.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm:
    • Kate Larsen fills in for Terri in early season 4. Her first few episodes present her as a Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: while it's made immediately clear that she's not going to be as friendly with the staff as Terri is (demoting Connor from his Number Two position because she thinks she doesn't need one), it's also quickly made clear that she's willing to support them when the situation calls for it (eg, Bronwyn, somewhat insubordinately, starts an argument with a psychiatrist over his callous attitude to the patient he was consulting on) and will make tough but fair decisions when it doesn't (when Jared starts dangerously overworking himself to deal with his financial problems). She's also surprisingly more lenient regarding Jodi's wardrobe than Terri ever was. Unfortunately, the pressure of the job causes her to slip into alcoholism and by the time she leaves everyone besides Von is pretty happy about it (and not just because of Terri coming back).
    • Deanna Richardson fills in for Nelson as Nursing Unit Manager in late season 8 and Season 9. It's quickly shown that she's willing to take credit for her subordinates actions, she attempts to sabotage Nelson and stop him returning by planting a bottle of whiskey in his locker, and when she's alienated the staff to the point that Frank tells her he's going to insist on her being sacked if she doesn't agree to leave quietly at the end of her contract, she makes a false sexual harassmnet allegation against him.
  • Vomiting Cop: In "A Fine Balance", one of the responders to a horrific motorcycle accident that left the victim decapitated.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Wild Justice", Ben furiously calls out Scott for endangering himself and others in the middle of an active shooter situation, a stunt which came close to ending his career.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With a few of the couples, especially Terri and Mitch, with such obstacles as her being a nun and him getting married to Rose. They finally got together in Season 5 and married in Season 6, only for Mitch to die as a result of a brain tumour soon afterward.
  • Working with the Ex:
    • Mitch and Terri, after he returns to All Saints in season 2.
    • Frank's ex-wife Allison, who becomes the hospital's Director of Medicine in Season 9.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Shortly after the Neil Phillips trial, Terri is approached by a woman from a victims support group, whose daughter was murdered by a tutor who had been stalking her. The woman praises Terri for fighting back, which Terri doesn't take well because of her lingering guilt.