- 22 episodes on six discs
- Two intense examinations of the historic live season opener, "Ambush": Anatomy of an Ambush, live post show
- Outpatient outtakes: deleted scenes
- Cutups: gag reel
ER: Season 4
DVD | Box Set
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ER: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)
In its fourth season, ER had its strongest cast yet. Sherry Stringfield was missed, but British surgeon Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) makes her debut, and Noah Wylie (John Carter) and Maria Bello (Anna Del Amico) made significant strides forward. Carter finds that his move from surgery to the ER has knocked him back to intern status, but he proves himself under fire when the ER is hit by a toxic spill. He also has plenty to worry about with his addicted cousin, Chase (Jonathan Scarfe), but he's helped by his developing relationship with Del Amico. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) is fighting legal and emotional battles following the previous season's incident, and strikes up a relationship with addled desk clerk Cynthia Hooper (Mariska Hargitay). Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) finds her promotion to chief of emergency medicine rockier than expected when she changes her mind on a deal with a cost-cutting firm, which is complicated when she's been seeing the representative (Clancy Brown). She also runs into trouble when she tries to terminate Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben), who ends up staying at the ER and befriending the cancer-stricken son (Trevor Morgan) of Dr. Anspaugh (John Aylward). Peter Benton (Eriq LaSalle) struggles as a new father, develops a rivalry with Corday as he angles toward a spot on the team of arrogant hotshot Rocket Romano (Paul McCrane), and has a career-threatening disagreement with chief of staff Dr. Morgenstern (William H. Macy). Ross (George Clooney) tries a secret romance with on-again-off-again partner Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), whose frustration with patient care leads her to open a women and children's clinic. The season kicks off with the famous live episode, "Ambush," in which a documentary film is being shot at the hospital, and in a continuing storyline, a serial rapist who preys on elderly women forces Carter to make a critical decision. Guest stars include John Cullum as Anthony Edwards' father, Harold Perrineau as the father of a boy with inverted organs, Dan Hedaya as a lawyer who wants to be a doctor, and Mickey Rooney as an optical patient. Bonus features consist of deleted scenes for a number of episodes, the wrap parties that followed the live show on each coast, and a 20-minute feature on the making of that episode, including some new interviews with the crew. --David Horiuchi
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if you have not seen this season then i recommend you do
ER has been my favorite show for years and this season, like the one before it, was one of the strongest on record. Viewers got to see into the lives of the characters and even welcomed a few more people to the County General family.
The season premiere, shot live twice, once for the east coast and once for the west coast, was a true inspiration, an idea hatched by series stars Anthony Edwards and George Clooney. Writer Carol Flint found a great way (a documentary crew is in the ER shooting) to write cameras and such into the story and from there, it is all the actors, as they shine in their moment in the sun.
This season brings some changes to the county general staff. Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) is promoted to interim chief of emergency medicine after Dr. Morgenstern (guest star William H. Macy) has a heart attack in the season premiere. Her management style is quite brash and certainly irritates those who have to work for her. Her decision to first hire, then not, an outside management firm was made even more difficult by the fact that she was dating the man who was trying to bring the program into county (guest star Clancy Brown).
Elizabeth Korday (Alex Kingston) comes across the pond to join the County General staff as a fellow under Dr. Robert Romano (guest star and future series regular Paul McCrane). Her introduction to American television is the live episode, but her character goes through a lot in her first year. She fights off the advances of Dr. Romano, instead chasing after fellow surgeon Peter Benton (Eriq LaSalle). She gets a first hand look at just how different things can be in the United States, and as the season ends, she finds herself looking for a way to stay after Romano doesn't renew her fellowship.
Maria Bello joins the regular cast as Anna Del Amico, an ER resident. She guest starred in the end of season three and in season four finds herself in a budding relationship with Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle). She also finds herself at odds with the filmmakers in the live episode and deals with the returning of a former boyfriend as the season comes to a close.
Dr. Benton has to adjust to life as a father after having a son in the end of season three. He also pursues a relationship with Dr. Korday and makes a career-threatening move when he questions the work of Dr. Morgenstern, pushing aside the senior doctor in a bold surgical room move. He also has to deal with his son's mother Carla (guest star Lisa Nicole Carlson) moving on with another man.
Dr. Carter had a trying year, as he had to deal with the drug addiction of his cousin Chase (guest star Johnathan Scarfe) and also had to deal with humility when he decides to cut himself off from his family's money and has to go back to being an intern after switching from surgery to emergency medicine. Perhaps the shining moment of this season is when Carter takes control of the ER after a toxic mishap, and shows just what kind of doctor he can be, something viewers got to see for years after.
Dr. Doug Ross (Clooney) also didn't have an easy year, as he went up against Weaver with the suggestion of a pediatric ER department with himself as Pediatric attending. The situation is still unresolved at the end of the season, but it is just one more thing to put Dr. Ross at odds with the bosses. He also suffers the loss of his father in a car accident in Californnia, which leads to a great episode where he and Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) travel to California together.
Of course Ross wouldn't be complete without nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies). As the season begins, the two are in a secret relationship, but the truth soon comes out. Carol grows tired of the patient care and opens a free clinic in the ER, thanks to some timely funds from Carter's grandmother (guest star Frances Sternhagen). She also assists Ross in a questionable procedure at the end of the season, one that puts both of their careers in jeopardy.
Dr. Greene pays a couple of visits to see his parents, bonding with his father (guest star John Cullum) on a second trip when his mother is ill. Mark is also still recovering from an attack in the men's room in the previous season, making him question just about everything in his life. He gets in a relationship with desk clerk Cynthia Hooper (guest star Mariska Hargitay) and battles with Weaver over numbers of things, a normal occurence in the world of my favorite character on this show.
Finally, PA Jeannie Boulet (Gloria Reuben), my least favorite character in the 12 years this show has been on the air, has to deal with her firing because of budget cuts. She believes its because of her HIV status and sues for her job back, which she gets. Her husband leaves for Atlanta and she forms a bond with the son of Dr. Anspaugh (John Aylward), a young cancer patient. I just never cared that much for this character, mainly because I found her to be selfish in a lot of ways, but maybe that's just me.
This season featured a number of great guest stars, including many who went on to star in shows in the future, or came from past shows. Cullum (Northern Exposure) was great as Mark Greene's father. Harold Perrineau (Lost) does a turn as the father of a critically injured boy. George Eads (CSI) plays a paramedic with a thing for Hathaway. Hargitay (Law and Order SVU) is fantastic as Cynthia the desk clerk. Sternhagen (Cheers) is great as Carter's stoic grandmother. Jorja Fox (CSI) continues her recurring role as Dr. Maggie Doyle. A number of great actors had spots on this show and this list is only a partial listing.
As for extras, there are two features on the live episode, including one that was filmed immediately after the two live episodes. The other feature talks about the work that went into the live episode and how they pulled it off. There is a gag reel and a number of deleted scenes as well.
Since this is my favorite show, I am bound to praise this set, but anybody looking for quality television should look no further than this.