Emergency Room - The emergency room

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Television series
German title Emergency Room - The emergency room
Original title HE
ER logo.svg
Country of production United States
original language English
Year (s) 1994-2009
Constant c Productions,
Amblin Entertainment ,
Warner Bros. Television
length Episodes 2-330: 45 minutes,
Episodes 1 and 331: 90 minutes
Episodes 331 in 15 seasons ( List )
genre Drama , hospital series
Theme music James Newton Howard (1994-2006, 2009) ,
Martin Davich (2006-2009)
idea Michael Crichton
production Michael Crichton ,
John Wells ,
Christopher Chulack,
Lydia Woodward,
David Zabel,
Jack Orman,
Carol Flint
music Martin Davich
First broadcast September 19, 1994 (USA) on NBC
first broadcast
October 30, 1995 on ProSieben

Emergency Room , ER for short , is an American television series that aired from 1994 to 2009. She mainly plays in the emergency room of a fictional Chicago teaching hospital and tries to portray the daily work of the medical staff and the fate of the patients in a realistic, dramatic and humorous way. It consists of 15 seasons with a total of 331 episodes . The idea for the series is based on a script by bestselling author Michael Crichton , which was written in the early 1970s.

He became known for the unusually fast-paced description of emergency medical procedures, combined with innovative camera work and medical-technical language. Also striking are cross-episode storylines, politically and socially critical issues and features that strive for authenticity. The real background of the series was the congestion in the emergency rooms in the United States, a problem with the local health system .

ER is considered one of the most important and successful television series of all time, primarily because of the narrative style that was new for the genre at the time, also known as revolutionary, the highest ratings on US television in the early seasons and the many awards , including a Golden Globe and 23 Emmys . It is also one of the most expensive and longest series in television history and has become a role model for other television series as well as for medical training.

The Austrian television used as the title ER - Emergency Room ; The German broadcaster ProSieben showed the series in the 1990s, initially under the title Emergency Room - Heroes in the OP


Overview and locations

Set one of the entrances to the county general's emergency room

The main location is the emergency room in the fictional County General Hospital , which is located in downtown Chicago . An important sideline is the surgery on one of the upper floors. As is customary in the United States , the emergency department is interdisciplinary , meaning that medical professionals from various disciplines work in it, including surgeons , pediatricians , radiologists, and psychiatrists in addition to emergency physicians . Because the County General is a teaching hospital , many departments also employ medical students.

Each season usually plays - similar to the duration of the US premiere - in the period of a year or medical training year, which lasts from July to June. Most episodes tell the events one day between morning and evening. Accordingly, the majority of the episodes take place during the day shift; few episodes tell of the night shift. The series follows the day-to-day work of some of the medical staff working in the emergency room, mainly doctors, as well as surgeons who then operate on the patients first admitted to the emergency room.

Everyday treatment and patients

The range of illnesses and injuries treated in the emergency room or shown in the series is broad: it ranges from life-threatening cases that require urgent treatment such as heart attacks , overdoses and gunshot wounds to urgent but not life-threatening problems such as broken bones and cuts to non-critical cases like colds and food poisoning . Sometimes it is also about pregnancies , including unrecognized and unwanted, as well as births, including premature, miscarriage and stillbirth . Furthermore, there are patients who are schizophrenic , suicidal or post-traumatic stress disorder and therefore need psychiatric treatment.

When patients are examined and treated, relatives of the patients are often present in the appropriate rooms, who are suffering and feverish, even during resuscitation measures . Spectators and treatment staff then often learn about the cause and nature of the injuries. These include shootings, rape, traffic, sports and industrial accidents, gang wars, domestic violence and police violence. Such events are only shown sporadically. In such cases, it is not uncommon for emergency room staff to act as crime investigators.

The medical terminology in which the staff communicates without the viewer learning the meaning of all the technical terms is extremely characteristic of Emergency Room . Examples of such medical terms are Succi , Etomidate , Atropine , Supra or Epinephrine , pneumonia , splenectomy , pericardial tamponade , chest drainage and central catheter . The following excerpt from the high time pressure treatment of a trauma patient is also exemplary:

Blood count , clinical chemistry , two large-volume accesses , eight tinned foods cross !”
“He's hardly breathing. I'll intubate . Six-five tube! "
" Pulse 120. "
" Blood pressure 70 to 50. "
" Suction! "-" I'll do it. "
" Zero-negative via pressure infusor ! "-" I'll get it. "

- Excerpt from a typical emergency treatment

The proportion of highly critical, i.e. H. life-threatening sick or injured patients admitted to all patients whose treatment is shown is higher in the first two seasons than in the following seasons. Especially seriously injured or ill patients are brought into the treatment room by the rescue personnel on a stretcher, starting from the ambulance or the rescue helicopter, with the rescue specialists loudly explaining the anamnesis to the emergency room staff . It is not uncommon for such patients in particular to have emergency operations on the open chest, which is opened with a scalpel , rib spreader and - from the fifth season - sternum saw . Most other patients come to treatment via the waiting room, provided they do not leave beforehand because the waiting time is too long. Sometimes hospital staff also become patients themselves. The series tells both patient stories that only span one scene or episode and those that span multiple episodes.

Conflicts very often arise among employees about the appropriate treatment method. Financial factors also play a role; For example, there is a dispute as to whether a certain procedure is really worthwhile despite the high costs and the low remaining life expectancy. Members are often faced with decisions about life and death of patients, especially when the patient is no living will has. In some episodes, the patient-related stories are linked to the private affairs of the doctors and nurses, who can be influenced by them in their personal decisions. For example, Dr. Pratt in the twelfth season, contrary to his initial decision to visit his previously unknown father, only after he has been confronted with the relatives of a patient and their lack of emotional concern.

The recurring elements of action include situations in which, above all, student interns and young resident doctors are shaken in their self-confidence after they have made mistakes in diagnosing or treating patients. Situations are also repeatedly taken up in which newcomers to the medical profession have to explain a clinical picture or a treatment method to the patient or their relatives in a generally understandable manner, but initially fail to make it due to a lack of experience. This is equivalent to delivering death notices to relatives of patients.

In almost every season there is at least one episode in which, triggered by a bad accident, a particularly large number of or seriously injured patients are treated. These events include external disasters such as a building collapse, a devastating fire, a train wreck and a plane crash, but also hospital accidents such as benzene contamination and a shooting. At the transition from the eighth to the ninth season, the hospital is even evacuated on suspicion of highly dangerous smallpox , but reopened after several weeks and the knowledge that it was the less dangerous monkey pox .

A characteristic of the series is that there is a shocking moment in some episodes when a main character unexpectedly experiences extremely painful physical violence. For example, Dr. Greene suddenly beaten up, Dr. Carter stabbed by a schizophrenic patient and Dr. Romano's arm severed by the tail rotor of a rescue helicopter. The same applies to patients who are suddenly shot, stabbed or beaten by relatives or other enemies.

Sometimes the series also addresses the treatment of patients with rare physiology , including those with situs inversus or testicular feminization . There are also patients with syndromes such as trisomy 21 , trisomy 18 and Fazio-Londe syndrome .

working conditions

Often in the course of the series it becomes clear that the emergency room is overloaded. Employees make it clear several times that the emergency room is understaffed. Patients in the waiting area complain about waiting too long or are forgotten by staff in the hallways after they have been admitted. Sometimes the responsible employees leave the corpses destined for pathology in the emergency room due to lack of time . Several doctors, including Dr. Ross and Dr. Benton, the viewer learns that they feel underpaid and that they are heavily in debt because of their medical studies. Doctors groan about exhausting night, double and 36-hour shifts and sometimes sleep at work. At the beginning of the third season, another hospital in Chicago will be closed as part of austerity measures, increasing the number of patients at the County General's emergency room. Later in the season, a number of nurses and carers go on unofficial strike to avert a budget-related deterioration in their working hours.

The rush of patients to the emergency room reached a climax shortly after the start of the ninth season and after at least one other hospital in the city was closed: The plot speaks of a patient increase of over 40 percent and even rescue workers have to go to treatment of the patients they have brought in. Until the beginning of the ninth season, access to the emergency room is largely uncontrolled. As a result, people sometimes get into the hospital with life-threatening weapons and thus threaten people. For example, in the episode exchanging blows (season 9) , a patient, dissatisfied because of waiting too long, forces his treatment from the staff at the gunpoint. Triggered by this incident, many of the workers in the emergency room went on strike to have a security system installed that also included metal detectors . These measures had previously been denied to them, also because of the budget cut by 15 percent, and in return they required the discharge of three nurses. The reopening of another hospital reduces the number of patients from the following episode onwards. Shortly after the start of the tenth season, the head of the emergency department reduced the length of shifts - and thus the salary - of a number of nurses in order to hire cheaper and younger staff. As a result, when some of the ancestral nurses go on strike, six of them are fired.

In the eleventh season, the emergency room management repeatedly calls on the doctors to increase patient satisfaction , which is necessary for the cooperation between the health insurance companies and the hospital. Especially in the 13th season, a number of characters sharply criticize the public health care system, which mainly disadvantages low-income patients. When doctors Kovač and Pratt threatened to face legal punishment that season, the jury and the Medical Association respectively gave them credit for being part of a poor health system.

Professions and careers

The professional development of the medical characters in the series follows the medical education and training scheme that is common in the United States. Accordingly, medical students begin their practical training in the third year of their studies. The students are not only on duty in the emergency room, but also in other departments as interns. The doctorate usually follows at the end of the fourth year . Thereafter, the multi-year period begins in a further training section for which the job title resident is used in English or the original English version and assistant doctor in the German dubbed version . In relation to the first year of the residency, the term internal is used in English , in the German version mostly doctor in internship (AiPler for short) in the early seasons and assistant doctor in higher seasons. The internship is usually completed in one and the same department of the hospital - in the series this is usually the emergency room, sometimes surgery - and serves to specialize as a specialist. Some doctors are in their last resident -year chief resident . This profession is in the German version first Chief Medical Assistant in higher seasons senior physician . After the internship, there is an optional further specialization phase, which is called fellowship in English, and only for some of the doctors concerned . The corresponding English job title Fellow is not used in the German version, but is named differently, in the case of Dr. Corday (season 4) for example with a guest . After the end of the period as an assistant doctor or fellow, the medical training is completed, the doctors then usually work as attending (English) or senior physician (German).

In the German dubbed version, job titles are sometimes given differently or incorrectly compared to the original English version. For example, Dr. Lewis in the eighth season as a " full assistant " - an old German term for a scientific assistant -, but in English she says "attending". In the tenth season, Dr. Kovač referred to in German as "assistant doctor", although "attending" is also said in English. In the ninth season, Dr. Weaver appointed "Chief of Staff" in English, which means about medical director and something like the chief physician of the hospital. In German, on the other hand, she is appointed "chief physician". The function of the medical director is shown in German with a personnel manager, especially in the higher echelons.


main characters

The main character ensemble consisted of six people in the first season: the senior assistant doctor Dr. Mark Greene, Pediatric Resident Dr. Doug Ross, Assistant Doctor Dr. Susan Lewis, Intern John Carter, Head Nurse Carol Hathaway, and Resident Surgical Doctor Dr. Peter Benton, the only black man among those six. Over the course of the series, the ensemble changed in almost every season; by the sixth season it grew to 13 people, by the last season it decreased again to six. It usually consists of a team of emergency room doctors and a nurse. Up to the eleventh season there is at least one surgeon and from the second to the sixth a physician assistant . In some seasons, up to two medical students are part of the ensemble. There are a total of 13 male and 13 female main characters. The most important main characters who joined after the first season include the doctor and later medical director Dr. Kerry Weaver (from season 2) and surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Corday (from season 4). From the ninth season onwards, John Carter, who remained the main character until the eleventh season, was the only main character who remained uninterrupted from the pilot film; Dr. Lewis returned after she had already retired in the third season, in the eighth season as a senior physician and stayed for four years. In the sixth season, in which there were the most permanent changes in the composition of the main characters, the doctor Dr. Luka Kovač and the nurse and later doctor Abby Lockhart, who developed into two of the most important characters in the story in the following years. The most important main characters of the last five seasons include the nurse Samantha Taggart, initially as an assistant doctor and later as a senior doctor. Greg Pratt and Dr. Archie Morris and interns Dr. Neela Rasgotra, Dr. Ray Barnett and Dr. Tony Gates.

Their personal, private stories are interwoven with the medical work of the main characters in the hospital. For many protagonists, these are also shaped by health-medical problems. For example, Dr. Greene his father at home or arranging for Dr. Carter put his drug addict cousin into rehab.

The tables list the main characters and their most important professional functions. If no specialty (e.g. pediatrics, surgery) is mentioned in the doctor ranks, it is emergency medicine.

Main male characters
Character name Professions and functions
Mark Greene
  • Senior Resident Physician (Season 1)
  • Senior physician (seasons 2 to 8, 15)
  • Deputy chief physician of the emergency room
    (at the latest from Season 7)
Doug Ross
  • Pediatric
    Resident Physician , Emergency Pediatric Fellow ( Seasons 1 to 4)
  • Emergency Pediatric Senior Physician (Season 5)
  • Senior Physician at the University of Washington Medical Center (Season 15)
John Carter
  • Student intern (seasons 1 to 2)
  • AiPler in Surgery (Season 3)
  • AiPler in Emergency Medicine (Season 4)
  • Assistant doctor (seasons 5 to 8)
  • Functional senior physician (from season 8)
  • Employees of Doctors Without Borders (Season 9, 10, 12)
  • Senior physician (from season 10 at the latest; up to season 11, season 15)
Peter Benton
Robert Romano
  • Senior surgeon (seasons 4 to 9)
  • Acting Chief Physician of the Emergency Department (Season 5)
  • Chief surgeon (seasons 6 to 9)
  • Medical director (seasons 6 to 9)
  • Senior physician in the emergency room (seasons 9 to 10)
  • Head of Emergency Department (seasons 9 to 10)
Luka Kovač
  • Springer (Season 6)
  • Senior physician (seasons 6 to 13)
  • Doctors Without Borders (seasons 9 to 10)
  • Head of Emergency Department (seasons 12 to 13)
  • Doctor in a Hospice (Season 14)
Dave Malucci
  • Assistant doctor (seasons 6 to 8)
Michael Gallant
  • Student intern (seasons 8 to 9)
  • AiPler (Season 10)
  • Reservist in the US Army
  • Doctor in the US Army in the Iraq War (from season 11)
Greg Pratt
  • AiPler (Season 8)
  • Resident doctor (up to season 12)
  • Senior physician (seasons 13 to 15)
Archie Morris
  • Assistant doctor (seasons 10 to 11)
  • Senior physician (seasons 11 to 12)
  • Senior physician (seasons 13 to 15)
Ray Barnett
Tony Gates
  • Rescue worker, medical student (season 12)
  • AiPler (Season 13)
  • Assistant doctor (up to season 15)
Simon Brenner
  • Senior physician (seasons 14 to 15)
Main female characters
Character name Professions and functions
Susan Lewis
  • Assistant doctor (seasons 1 to 3)
  • Senior physician (seasons 8 to 12)
  • Head of Emergency Department (seasons 11 to 12)
Carol Hathaway
Kerry Weaver
  • Senior Assistant Doctor (Season 2)
  • Senior physician (seasons 3 to 13)
  • Acting chief physician in the emergency department (seasons 4 to 5)
  • Head of Emergency Department (seasons 6 to 9)
  • Medical director (seasons 9 to 13)
  • Cook County Medical Advisor (Season 9 and up)
Jeanie Boulet
Anna Del Amico
  • Pediatric assistant doctor (seasons 3 to 4)
Elizabeth Corday
  • Surgery fellow or trainee (season 4)
  • Surgical AiPlerin (Season 5)
  • Thoracic surgeon senior physician (seasons 6 to 11)
  • Deputy Head of Surgery (seasons 6 to 10)
  • Head of Surgery (seasons 10 to 11)
  • Duke University Surgeon (Season 15)
Lucy Knight
  • Student intern (seasons 5 to 6)
Cleo Finch
  • Pediatric assistant doctor (seasons 6 to 8)
Abby Lockhart
  • Midwife (Season 6)
  • Student intern (season 6, 7, 10)
  • Nurse (seasons 7 to 10)
  • Head nurse (seasons 9 to 10)
  • AiPlerin (Season 11)
  • Assistant doctor (up to season 15)
  • Senior Physician (Season 15)
Jing-Mei Chen
  • Student Intern (Season 1)
  • Assistant doctor (seasons 6 to 7)
  • Senior Physician (Season 8)
  • Senior physician (seasons 8 to 11)
Neela Rasgotra
  • Student Intern (Season 10)
  • AiPlerin (Season 11)
  • Assistant doctor in emergency medicine (up to season 12)
  • Assistant doctor in surgery (seasons 13 to 15)
  • Assistant doctor in orthopedics (season 14)
  • Senior Surgeon in Louisiana (Season 15)
Samantha Taggart
Kate Banfield
  • Senior Physician (Season 15)
  • Head of Emergency Department (Season 15)

Minor characters (selection)

There are numerous recurring minor characters. The most important doctors include the surgeon Dr. David Morgenstern , Head of Surgery and the Emergency Department (up to season 4); the surgeon Dr. Donald Anspaugh , member of the hospital management team (from season 3); Dr. Maggie Doyle , AiPlerin (season 3) and assistant doctor (up to season 5); the senior and chief surgeon Dr. Lucien Dubenko (from season 11) as well as the senior emergency room physician Dr. Victor Clemente (season 12).

The recurring supporting characters also include a group of nurses who work in the emergency room. They can often be seen administering medication, transporting the ambulance, writing down the examinations prescribed by the doctors and having small talk . Sometimes they also help inexperienced, young doctors or students to choose the right type of treatment or point out possible mistakes in their prescriptions. Caregivers and sisters who appear on all 15 seasons include Malik McGrath, Haleh Adams, Lily Jarvik, and Chuny Marquez ; The latter is sometimes used for Spanish translations. The positions of long-time nurses Connie Oligario, Lydia Wright and Yosh Takata fall victim to cost- saving measures in the tenth season. In the twelfth season, the doctorate Eve Peyton worked for a few months as head nurse; she is often very dominant with doctors and is eventually discharged for insulting a patient.

Furthermore, a number of paramedics and helpers are among the recurring minor characters. These include Doris Pickman and Dwight Zadro , who appear in all seasons, as well as Pamela Olbes (seasons 2-15 ), Brian Dumar (seasons 3-15 ), Christine Harms and Morales (seasons 5-15 each).

Operations in foreign crisis areas

In seasons 9 to 12, the series also tells of medical missions of important figures in Africa and the Middle East , where they also get into armed conflicts and in mortal danger. The episodes in question set against the backdrop of the Second Congo War (seasons 9 and 10), the Iraq war (seasons 11 and 12) and the Darfur conflict (season 12).

As part of Doctors Without Borders , Dr. Kovač and Dr. Carter in a hospital in Kisangani , a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . There they are confronted with the inadequacies of local health care: there is a lack of resources everywhere, including treatment staff, medicines, disinfection facilities and electricity. Many patients suffer from diseases such as polio , whooping cough and malaria , some are mutilated by explosions and machetes . Carter and Kovač find themselves caught between the lines of fighting between Congolese government forces and the May-May militia in North Kivu Province . Weeks later, Carter travels to the Congo again to look for Kovač, who is officially reported dead. Carter finds Kovač suffering from malaria, but alive because the Mai-Mai thought he was a priest and therefore spared him from death.

The emergency room assistant doctor and army reserve officer Dr. Gallant is drafted into the medical service in Iraq , where he primarily treats gunshot and explosion victims. Shortly after completing his compulsory service, he voluntarily returned to Iraq and eventually died in a mine explosion . Dr. Pratt has meanwhile traveled to the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur , where he met Dr. Carter helps treat patients in a refugee camp . In their work, both are confronted with the violence emanating from the murdering and raping Janjawid .

Curious and humorous situations

There are always humorous situations and curious medical cases and patients. A short , overweight patient, for example, wants to be defibrillated with 50 watt seconds . Electroejaculation should be performed in an old heart attack patient . Another time a man is a patient with spontaneous combustion . A dissatisfied patient steals a battle tank and threatens the hospital. A Star Trek fan is brought in with ears bloody because he tried to sharpen them to look like Spock . A psychiatric patient speaks only Klingon . The emergency room coordinators are very often involved in strange and humorous situations, especially Jerry Markowicz , who often has mishaps. For example, he accidentally shoots a patient's grenade launcher , destroying an ambulance. Another time, without a guilty conscience, he advertises a business model among his colleagues that turns out to be a pyramid scheme. In the twelfth season he survives a lightning strike almost unscathed.

Animals are involved in a number of situations. One day a genetically modified mouse is on the run in the emergency room, another day a dangerous snake. Carol tries to thaw a barrel of earthworms belonging to a patient, frozen in the winter cold . Emergency room doctors are secretly treating a chimpanzee . As an exercise, Romano operates on a pig that is insufficiently anesthetized.


In each episode, several storylines are considered, some of which are completed immediately, others in the form of story arcs extend over several episodes and seasons. Usually the scenes are mixed together in such a way that they are shown in a sequence of small pieces in order to keep the audience's attention and create a hectic atmosphere.


Until the early 1980s, dramatic series were usually structured with each episode essentially showing a single storyline. A fundamental change in style took place with the crime series Hill Street Police Station, launched in 1981 , in which a variety of storylines reminiscent of Charles Dickens was introduced for the first time . From then on, not just one, but three or four different stories were told at the same time, which were linked together and in their entirety formed the plot of the respective episode. ER contains between nine and 18 storylines running side by side per episode, with which the series should be given a pace that keeps the audience interested and prevents boredom. Because it corresponds to the reality of an emergency room that all stories relating to work in the hospital are quickly shown on the screen and are brought to an end in a few scenes. The viewer only has to wait a minute or two to get back to the next story.

On the other hand, it was just as realistic to expand the storylines that deal with the development of the individual main characters. For example, the failure of the marriage of one of the leading actors is not shown in just one episode, but takes up a period of two to three years. The private fate of the characters is followed practically in real time and their characters do not reveal themselves all at once, but gradually. The characters are not fully formulated from the start and viewers only get to know them over time.

Development of the narrative

Scenes with rapidly choreographed emergency treatments are particularly striking for the staging. These scenes often begin with a patient being brought to the emergency room by paramedics, music suggesting tension and accompanied by drumbeats is played. The paramedics or nurses explain the medical history and the treatments carried out since the injury to the doctors who join them . Sometimes a paramedic drives along on the trolley and massages the patient's heart . Once in the treatment room, the emergency medical treatment continues. In the course of the intubation that often follows , drugs such as Succi and Etomidate are loudly prescribed. The following treatment steps usually revolve around closing bleeding wounds and restoring or normalizing the heart's activity. Resuscitation attempts with the defibrillator and emergency surgery such as B. Thoracotomy using a scalpel and rib spreader are not uncommon. A striking feature of these scenes is, on the one hand, a permanently moving camera, which often circles around the doctor and the patient stretcher. On the other hand, the scenes are effectively accompanied and supported by music that creates tension. The choreography that is so typical of the series results from both the dynamic camera work and the music, which is mostly tailored to the images, camera work and conversations .

In the course of the series, the interpersonal relationships of the main characters, especially those of a private nature, were given noticeably more time. In the fourth season there were with the episodes Fathers and Sons and Bitter Truth, two episodes that took place entirely outside the emergency room and were exclusively dedicated to the private affairs of the main characters Greene and Ross.

The musical support of the plot, especially the scenes during patient treatment, is reduced quantitatively from the third season. Fast-paced music supported by drum beats was less common. Still, the background music remained an essential narrative element.

While in the first five seasons the cross-episode storylines were largely brought to an end, the following seasons always ended with a cliffhanger - an episode in which the main characters are confronted with a life-threatening or emergency situation that is particularly life-threatening for them and which is only resolved in the following episode , d. H. following season. For example, in the finale of the eighth season, the emergency room and parts of its staff are quarantined because of patients suffering from smallpox - an exceptional situation, the progress of which is only described at the beginning of the ninth season. In the cliffhangers of seasons 11 to 14, a main character or a direct relative was usually in mortal danger, for example in the finale of season 12, in which the emergency room is the place where two prisoners escaped and the fate of several main characters remains open. It is also noticeable in this context that in the final episodes of seasons 10, 11 and 12 and the premiere episodes of seasons 11, 12 and 13, the relationship of the main character Samantha Taggart to her son and his father each represented an essential part of the cliffhanger story.

Episodes with alternative narrative forms were also increasingly observed. This was first expressed in episode 70, Caution, Camera (Season 4), in which a camera team filmed a documentary about the emergency room and interviewed its employees. With the characters looking directly into the camera and speaking, the viewer got an even more authentic impression. The episode was broadcast live and in real time when it first aired in the US in 1997 . With her, a live episode in a coherent drama series was created for the first time in television history. Due to the different time zones, it was played and broadcast first for the east coast and three hours later for the west coast.

Further examples of episodes with narrative atypical for Emergency Room : Episode 158, Four Truths (Season 8), showed the events taking place on the same day from the points of view of four main characters; As a result, identical scenes could be seen from different camera angles. Episode 176, Brothers and Sisters (Season 8), had an open ending and was the first part of a story that is continued in the Missing episode of Third Watch - Mission to the Limit ; both episodes thus formed a crossover . Episode 189, In Retrospect (Season 9), told her story chronologically backwards: the scenes are arranged in reverse order, the end of the story is shown at the beginning of the episode and the viewer is always in a plot whose prehistory is not yet known to him. Episode 200, day and night (season 9), told in constant change, also in parallel by means of a two-part image, of Dr. Carter's day shift and Dr. Pratt's next night shift. Episode 211, Makemba (Season 10), was mostly about Dr. Carter's stay in the DR Congo spanned the past seven months. Some scenes from the previous season 10 episodes are shown again, which puts his Chicago contacts in chronological order.

The narrative style and the choreography of the episodes changed significantly in 2004, with the beginning of the 11th season. Most noticeable was the almost completely missing background music. There were hardly any scenes with emergency treatment in which the camera circled the main event at high speed and accompanied by intense and fast music. From then on, music was only available in more emotionally moving scenes or at the end of the episode, but then with less noise and less tempo. Instead of music, in addition to the conversations between the doctors and patients, the noises from the medical treatment equipment could be heard, above all from saliva ejectors and ventilators, but also the beeping of ECG monitors and the omnipresent background noises in the emergency room, such as running and telephone noises . The conversations between the main characters apart from patient treatment were more often focused on small talk than on facts relevant to treatment.

In addition to slowing down the sequence of scenes, the action was now even more focused than before on the psychological suffering of the patient; their physical problems faded into the background. At the same time, the prior history of the patients was thematized more than in previous seasons, and the education of the main characters and the audience about the causes of their injuries was given greater weight.

At the same time, there were more episodes that - in contrast to the previous seasons - did not deal with many different storylines in parallel, but mainly focused on the relationship between two characters. This is especially true for the 11th season: Episode 233 showed the kidnapping of one of the main characters by a gang of young people and, exceptionally shot in HD video images , played for the most part in a car. Further examples of episodes with a great focus on a very specific storyline and main characters are Ep. 237, I am as I am (Season 11), 238, Alone Among the Many (Season 11), 240, Here and there (Season 11) and 258, Body and Soul (Season 12). In the 11th season there was also another episode that played in real time - this time not produced live - (Ep. 229, hour of death ); it concentrates almost exclusively on a patient with cancer.

The final, 15th season (2008-2009) was mainly characterized by the fact that the leading actors who had already left the early cast appeared again. Since these characters lived far away (Dr. Weaver, Dr. Corday) or no longer at all (Dr. Greene, Dr. Romano) at the time of the 15th season, their scenes were integrated into the plot with special narrative elements. These include episodes 316, Doctor, Heal Yourself , which tells memories of 2002 in the form of flashbacks, and 321, In Sleep , in which a dream is told.

History of origin

A total of 33,300 hours were spent working on the Emergency Room , spread over 2,664 days of shooting.


Michael Crichton (2002)

Michael Crichton , as a best-selling author, director known and producer, was until 1969 a medical student at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and wrote there, already in its fourth year, the documentary work Five patients (Five Patients) , which of the observations and experiences in The MGH's emergency room was based and published in 1970. In 1974 he wrote the script for a film about an emergency room, which he completed that same year. In the years that followed, he offered this to several production studios and television stations, all of which refused it on the grounds that it needed a lot of improvement. The idea for the script was interesting according to individual opinions, but too technical, too fast, too demanding and too strange. Crichton was always reluctant to call for changes, such as simplifying medical terminology or disentangling the many storylines. He did not want to compromise and was of the opinion that his script was something unique and therefore could not be adapted to an existing scheme.

In 1989, director Steven Spielberg showed a keen interest in the script and bought it with the intention of turning it into a feature film. But the realization was delayed, because the two initially devoted themselves to the filming of the movie Jurassic Park , for which Crichton provided the script. Only in October 1993 did the opportunity arise again to reflect on the realization of ER . Meanwhile, however, the considerations went more in the direction of a television series. Crichton agreed on the condition that the idiosyncrasies of his script be retained, which had previously made every television station reject the project. With Crichton and John Wells acting as executive producers , Steven Spielberg supporting the project and Jurassic Park becoming a great success, ER was finally realized with the approval of the broadcaster NBC . The pilot film was shown to a test audience in various parts of the country in the spring of 1994, and the audience reacted with the highest test scores of all the dramatic pilot films in recent years.

At the beginning of episode 316, Doctor, Heal Yourself (Season 15), Eriq La Salle, on behalf of the cast and staff , honors Michael Crichton, who died on November 4, 2008, in an obituary as a "true gentleman, friendly and witty", as " brilliant writer, intelligent and infallible ”and as a“ good friend ”whom“ we will miss ”.


The location of the series, the fictional County General Hospital , refers to the Cook County Hospital, which is actually located in Chicago .

All medical events of the ER episodes are based on actual cases compiled by medical advisors. They were regularly informed of their experiences by nurses and doctors in emergency rooms all over the country. In addition, the scriptwriters themselves spent numerous hours in the local emergency rooms and gained an insight into the professional and private experiences, especially of the nurses there. Medical case stories have also been contributed by screenwriters and producers who have themselves medical training. The scripts were usually planned and developed in teams of authors over a period of several weeks. This resulted in a sophisticated system of corrections and controls. The production team also developed medical-technical concepts in which the acting of the actors, props, costumes and make-up suggestions for the scenes with medical action were described.

In order to maintain the level of medical accuracy that Crichton had always valued, the producers agreed that medical jargon could not be conveyed to audiences. Their intention was to let the audience follow the body language and gestures of the characters in order to understand the dramaturgy and thus give the impression that they were in a real hospital. In order to participate in the emergency scenes, real nurses were often hired, from whom the actors received advice on the professional procedure of emergency medicine. Medical equipment and devices filled every room, the drawers and cupboards only contained things that are found in a real hospital.

Backdrops and camera work

For the sake of authenticity, only backdrops with rigid, solid walls and closed ceilings were used. They serve the diversity of the choreography , for example when the devices and lights embedded in the ceiling come into view or the camera is driven through the hallways and corridors. This should give the viewer the feeling that he is in a real hospital and part of the action. Due to the restricted freedom of movement for trips with the camera trolley, the series was largely shot with fixed and hand-held camera equipment, especially with tripods . Steadicam was used in around 70 percent of all recordings. Several of the longer scenes were shot with them as plan sequences in a single take so as not to disturb the flow of images through cuts. They were also used in the emergency scenes and sequences of images that were supposed to appear particularly fast-paced. A special spring mechanism, which, despite the mobility of the camera, delivers just as stable images as a camera guided on a rail, creates the impression of seamlessly flowing images. At the same time, the series was given a kind of documentary authenticity that became one of its trademarks.

While the tight backdrop of the hectic, narrow interior created an atmosphere of claustrophobia in the hospital , the exterior shots were intended to convey space and openness and create a contrast to the island-like world of the emergency room. The outdoor locations that have become essential for the series include the routes and stations of the Chicago Elevated railway and the hospital roof with the helipad. The roof of the Chicago Hilton Hotel against the backdrop of the inner-city skyscraper backdrop was chosen as the outdoor location.

In Episode 312, The Book of Abby ( The Book Of Abby , Season 15) is a Memorabilienwand see the nameplates with both former major and minor characters as well as from various contributors is provided behind the camera.

In order to save episodes and thus gain broadcasting time for additional commercials, the episodes were shortened by around one minute from the beginning of the 13th season. This is one of the reasons why the characteristic theme song composed by James Newton Howard was missing from episode 268. Only in the series finale (episode 331) was this included again.


A total of 49 directors, 38 producers and 34 screenwriters were deployed in the course of the series. The following list indicates - with the associated season numbers - those authors who each provided the script for more than ten episodes and were thus significantly involved in the development of the stories told in ER :

  • John Wells (1-12, 15)
  • Paul Manning (1-3, 5)
  • Neal Baer (1-6)
  • Lydia Woodward (1-6, 11-12)
  • Joe Sachs (3-15)
  • Carol Flint (2-5)
  • Jack Orman (3-9)
  • R. Scott Gemmill (6-14)
  • Dee Johnson (6-11)
  • David Zabel (8-15)
  • Lisa Zwerling (10-15)
  • Janine Sherman (12-15)

Frequent directors at ER include Christopher Chulack, Mimi Leder (1–2), Richard Thorpe (2–14) and Jonathan Kaplan (3–11). Also directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Laura Innes , Anthony Edwards , Paul McCrane and Eriq La Salle .

It was produced by Constant c Productions , owned by Michael Crichton , Amblin Entertainment co-founded by Steven Spielberg , and Warner Bros. Television film studio . The latter is also responsible for marketing.

Cast and German dubbed version

In the entire course of the series 5453 actors were used in Emergency Room , 13 of them female and 13 male in the main cast. The actors of the main characters are listed under "Starring" in the screen text of the episodes, the actors who are classified under "Guest starring", "Special Guest Starring" and "Co-starring" are summarized below as guest and supporting actors.

There have been changes in the main cast in almost every season since the series began. Some of the later leading actors are introduced as supporting actors. Some of the eliminated characters later reappear in guest roles. Most of the changes to the main cast took place in the sixth season (production time 1999-2000) instead, in which six actors were added and three were eliminated. With regard to the large number of actors who also belonged to the main cast, episodes 125-127 (season 6) occupy the top position, the main cast comprised 13 actors in these episodes.

Julianna Margulies was offered a fee of US $ 27 million from the production studio for a contract extension that would cover seasons 6, 7 and 8 before she left. Alex Kingston left the show in 2004 after her contract was not renewed by the producers. According to her own words, she was fired because she "is part of the old owls who are no longer interesting".

The series was set to music at Deutsche Synchron Film in Berlin. Up to the eleventh season, the dialogue books were usually written by Bernd Klinzmann and Joachim Hübner. They were represented by Gabriele Böhm, Ulrike Christine Kollwitz, Ulrike Lau, Stephanie Marcus, Gabriele Richter and Ulrike Heiland. From the eleventh season, Masen Abou-Dakn wrote the dubbing books .

Hans Werner-Bussinger directed the dialogue until the seventh season; Michael Erdmann took over this task from the eighth season. They were represented by Stephanie Marcus and Michael Richter.

The table lists the actors' affiliation with the main cast (●) or with the secondary and guest actors (•) per season, the duration of their affiliation with the main cast, the actual number of episodes with appearances and the German voice actors .

Seasons Episodes
actor Role name 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 10 11 12 13 14th 15th Membership of the
main cast
Leading or
supporting role
German voice actor
Anthony Edwards Dr. Mark Greene 1-179, 316 172 Hans Hohlbein
George Clooney Dr. Doug Ross 1-106, 328 108 Detlef Bierstedt
Noah Wyle (Dr.) John T. Carter 1-245, 325-328, 331 241 Oliver Field
Sherry Stringfield Dr. Susan Lewis 1-55, 161-246, 331 128 Bettina White
Eriq La Salle Dr. Peter Benton 1-167, 172, 178, 328, 331 165 Stefan Fredrich (up to season 4) ,
Jörg Hengstler (from season 5)
Julianna Margulies Carol Hathaway • ● 2-134, 328 132 Anke Reitzenstein (seasons 1–2, 6) ,
Cathrin Vaessen (seasons 3–5, 15)
Gloria Reuben Jeanie Boulet • ● 31-119 89 Carola Ewert (up to season 6) ,
Anna Carlsson (season 14)
Laura Innes Dr. Kerry Weaver • ● 48-280, 331 215 Liane Rudolph
Maria Bello Dr. Anna Del Amico 70-91 24 Debora refuses
Alex Kingston Dr. Elizabeth Corday • ● 70-227, 331 144 Peggy Sander
Kellie Martin Lucy Knight 92-127 34 Bianca Krahl
Paul McCrane Dr. Robert Romano 114-209 107 Martin Keßler
Goran Višnjić Dr. Luka Kovač 114-290, 295, 298-300, 304, 306, 309, 312 175 Klaus-Peter Grap
Michael Michele Dr. Cleo Finch 114-167, 178 52 Heath Domanowski
Erik Palladino Dr. Dave Malucci • ● 120-161 46 Christoph Banks
Ming-na Wen (Dr.) Jing-Mei Chen 123-232 92 Ghadah Al-Akel
Maura Tierney (Dr.) Abby Lockhart • ● ● • 125-310, 312 183 Silke Matthias
Sharif Atkins (Dr.) Michael Gallant • ● 172-219 55 Markus Pfeiffer
Mekhi Phifer Dr. Greg Pratt 180-310 128 Dennis Schmidt-Foss
Parminder Nagra (Dr.) Neela Rasgotra • ● 204-331 128 Sonja Spuhl
Linda Cardellini Sam Taggart 206-331 125 Dascha Lehmann
Shane West Dr. Ray Barnett 224-290 66 Marius Clarén
Scott Grimes Dr. Archie Morris 246-331 103 Robin Kahnmeyer
John Stamos (Dr.) Tony Gates 269-331 65 Jaron Lowenberg
David Lyons Dr. Simon Brenner 310-331 24 Frank Schaff
Angela Bassett Dr. Kate Banfield 311-331 16 Anke Reitzenstein

Television broadcast

The episodes begin with a brief review of the storylines of past episodes in the form of a compilation of striking shots and dialogues. Then the plot begins, which ends after a few minutes and usually suddenly with the beginning of the title sequence. In most episodes of the first twelve seasons, the main characters can be seen parallel to the title melody. At the beginning of the 13th season, a newly composed, significantly shortened title melody was used. In the series finale, the original title sequence was shown again.

Although from the outset in 16: 9 - aspect ratio produces - which HE was one of the first television series - was made to broadcast the first 140 episodes in 4: 3 format. Only with episode 141 (season 7) did the stations in the USA and Germany switch to widescreen.

Emergency Room has been translated into at least 22 languages ​​and broadcast in 195 countries.

First broadcast periods and audience ratings
United States ( NBC ) Germany ( ProSieben )
St. Ep. Beginning The End Range Rank in the
Nielsen ratings
Beginning The End Range
(from 3 years)
Market share
(from 3 years)
Market share
(14-49 y.)
1 25th 19 Sep 1994 May 18, 1995 28.9 million 02 Oct. 30, 1995 0May 6, 1996 2.49 million 8.0%
2 22nd 21 Sep 1995 May 16, 1996 32.0 million 01 May 13, 1996 Oct 15, 1996 2.52 million 9.4%
3 22nd 26 Sep 1996 May 15, 1997 30.7 million 01 0Sep 2 1997 Jan. 20, 1998 2.64 million 8.4%
4th 22nd 25 Sep 1997 May 14, 1998 30.0 million 02 0Oct 7, 1998 17th Mar 1999 2.42 million 7.5%
5 22nd Sep 24 1998 May 20, 1999 25.4 million 01 Feb 22, 2000 June 20, 2000 2.17 million 7.5%
6th 22nd Sep 30 1999 May 18, 2000 24.9 million 04th 0Feb 6, 2001 June 19, 2001 2.62 million 8.8%
7th 22nd Oct 12, 2000 May 17, 2001 22.4 million 02 Sep 18 2001 Jan. 29, 2002 2.33 million 7.6%
8th 22nd 27 Sep 2001 May 16, 2002 22.1 million 03 03rd Sep 2002 Feb 11, 2003 2.35 million 14.4%
9 22nd 26 Sep 2002 May 15, 2003 20.0 million 07th 03rd Sep 2003 03rd Mar 2004 1.50 million 9.9%
10 22nd 25 Sep 2003 May 13, 2004 19.5 million 08th Oct 19, 2004 22 Mar 2005 13.6%
11 22nd 23 Sep 2004 May 19, 2005 15.4 million 16 Jan. 10, 2006 May 23, 2006 10.8%
12 22nd 22 Sep 2005 May 18, 2006 12.2 million 30th May 30, 2006 22 Aug 2006 10.9%
13 23 21 Sep 2006 May 17, 2007 11.5 million 31 0Apr 4, 2007 Aug 29, 2007 10.6%
14th 19th 27 Sep 2007 May 15, 2008 09.2 million 54 Apr 23, 2008 Aug 27, 2008 08.9%
15th 22nd 25 Sep 2008 0Apr 2, 2009 09.1 million 42 18 Mar 2009 Aug 19, 2009 1.20 million 6.0% 10.4%

United States

ER started in the US on NBC on Monday, September 19, 1994 with the two-hour pilot. The episodes ran from now on Thursdays at 10 p.m. The final, two-hour episode began at 9 p.m. and was preceded by a one-hour retrospective that same evening (April 2, 2009) .

Audience numbers

In the first season, the first broadcasts reached an average of 30 million viewers, which no drama series has achieved since 1976. In the following seasons of the 1990s, audience numbers averaged 35 million per new episode were also the rule. Depending on the source, the highest ratings were for episode 32, The Hero of the Day ( Hell and High Water , Season 2, about 48 million viewers), or for episode 91, Love Service with fatal consequences ( A Hole in the Heart , Season 4, for example 47.8 million viewers), measured. As the table on the right shows, ER was able to place itself in the top four in the ranking of the most watched programs nationwide during the first eight seasons, taking the top position three times. In relation to the audience numbers in the advertising-relevant target group of 14 to 49 year olds, the series took first place with seasons 2, 3, 5 and 6. For the first ten seasons it was the most-watched drama series in the United States, and even the first twelve seasons of the NBC drama series. Although the average reach fell in the ninth season, the series was able to reach a high audience level in this year and in the tenth year compared to other primetime programs. In the following years, the number of viewers continued to decline, for example season 12 only reached an average of around 14 million people when it was first broadcast. The episodes of the last season were sometimes seen by less than eight million people, the final episode had another 16.4 million viewers.


During the first four seasons was the price that NBC for each episode of Warner Bros. had to pay between 1.5 and 1.8 million dollars , bringing the series back then belonged to one of the most expensive. So that the broadcaster could keep the rights to ER and not have to give it to one of the competitors ABC , CBS and FOX , NBC agreed in a three-year contract in the payment of 13 million US dollars per episode of seasons 5, 6 and 7, which ER earned the status of the most expensive television series in US history. The episode price for seasons 8, 9 and 10 was $ 8 to 9 million, and for season 14 it is estimated at $ 5 million.

End of series

According to the original plans of the producers and NBC, ER should end with the 14th season. Because of a strike by the scriptwriters and the resulting production standstill, but also to avoid repetitions, NBC suspended the broadcast of the 14th season in February 2008. The strike, by which fewer episodes could be completed for the 14th season than planned, was also NBC's reason for having a final 15th season produced. This should give the producers more time to write the scripts for the end of the series. The need to end the series, according to producers, arose from a combination of high production costs, lower audience ratings and shrinking advertising revenues. Although NBC was considering another, sixteenth season, the producers declined to end the series while it still has a "respectable audience."

He was after the 1990 broadcast by 2010 crime drama Law & Order , the second longest sent Primetime - television series from NBC and is also one of the longest-present on the American television series of all time.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

In Germany, ER was shown by ProSieben beginning in October 1995 . Initially broadcast on Monday evening at 8:15 p.m. and postponed to Tuesday evening during the second season, the first broadcasts ran weekly, sometimes in the form of double episodes and mostly interrupted by several month breaks between the seasons. The reach up to the eighth season ranged between 2.1 and 2.7 million viewers (aged 3 and over) and the average market shares between 7.3 and 9.4 percent per season. Since the audience ratings for the ninth season shown on Wednesdays were significantly lower at 1.72 million or 5.3%, the series returned to Tuesday evening with the tenth season. The ratings were now at 2.3 million or 6.9% back to the previous level. Seasons 11 and 12 as well as seasons 13 to 15, which were broadcast on Wednesdays again, mostly achieved significantly lower ratings, the average reach was now only between 1 and 2 million viewers and the market share between 5 and 6 percent.

Both ProSieben and Kabel Eins showed repetitions , often in the morning or afternoon programs on workdays. Episode 62, Who sows violence ( The Long Way Around , Season 3), was often left out due to the protection of minors and broadcast on the night program. Reps have been broadcast on sixx since 2010 .

In Austria the first broadcast started in November 1995, the broadcasting station is ORF 1 , the title used is ER - Emergency Room .

In Switzerland, ER was broadcast by 3+ between 2006 and 2009, mostly on working days in the early program .

ER was or can be seen on the German pay-TV channels DF1 Herz & Co., Sunset or Premiere Series , Premiere Start and TNT Series .

Other forms of publication

The pilot film was shown on June 20, 1995 as part of the TopTen competition series , which includes the ten best films in international television production, at the German film and television festival Cologne Conference .


In February 1998 Warner Home Video released the pilot film ( The First Day ) and the following two episodes ( Coming and Going / Welcome Home ) on a video cassette under the title er - emergency room .


First DVD release
St. United States TOP, ROOF
1 Aug 26, 2003 Feb 20, 2004
2 Apr 27, 2004 Oct 15, 2004
3 Apr 26, 2005 Dec 10, 2004
4th Dec 20, 2005 Apr 22, 2005
5 July 11, 2006 Oct 21, 2005
6th Dec 19, 2006 0Apr 7, 2006
7th May 12, 2007 Nov 17, 2006
8th Jan. 22, 2008 0July 5, 2007
9 June 17, 2008 0Sep 7 2007
10 03rd Mar 2009 0Dec 7, 2007
11 July 14, 2009 Apr 11, 2008
12 Jan. 12, 2010 Aug 15, 2008
13 0July 6, 2010 0Dec 5, 2008
14th Jan. 11, 2011 Apr 24, 2009
15th July 12, 2011 Feb 12, 2010

ER is also available on DVDs with regional code 2 in German-speaking countries . From 2004 to 2010, Warner Bros. released all 15 seasons at intervals of several months . In 2007, seasons 1 to 5 appeared together as a special deluxe edition . The DVDs of seasons 2 to 6 are approved by the FSK from 12 years of age, those of the other seasons from 16 years of age. There are up to eight episodes on each of the double-sided DVDs. Each of the season sets contains four DVDs (seasons 1–3) or three DVDs (seasons 4–15).

The episodes are in anamorphic 16: 9 - widescreen ago. Exceptions to this are the theme melody sequences in the first six seasons and the episode , which was once broadcast live, Caution, camera! ( Ambush , season 4). The episodes all have the German soundtrack in Dolby Digital . In addition, the English original sound and - with the exception of the fifth season - a Spanish soundtrack are included. The brief reviews shown on television at the beginning of the episode are not available.

Soundtrack CD and MC

In 1996 a soundtrack for the series was released under the title Original Television Theme Music & Score . It was released on both CD and MC and contains the theme song in different versions as well as background music from episodes of the first two seasons.


The movie magazine Cinema says that with the pilot of ER "1994 a new age of TV medicine" was ushered in. The television magazine TV Guide attests that the series has a similarly revolutionary character , because ER has redefined the genre as a “gripping medical drama” for the 1990s and the 21st century. Die Zeit wrote in an article in May 2007 that ER had set “standards in terms of speed and camera work” and in another article in 2000: “Emergency Room broke all the laws of the series by deviating from the tried and tested A-plus -B-Plot-Dramaturgy adopted and artfully weaved a dozen sub-plots into one another despite rapid cuts. "

Medicine and realism

An article published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt in 2003 deals with the image of doctors on television, according to which doctors in doctor and hospital series are portrayed as idealized and stereotyped. In contrast to this “distorted television world”, according to the author, the doctors in ER are not exaggerated, but drawn realistically. They would also make mistakes and have human weaknesses. Clinical pictures and patients are presented just as credibly. The author of an article from Die Zeit says: "Doctors are not heroes, they despair of their profession and of themselves, fail in the operating room and at home, they are people who try and often fail." Susanne Schwarzer thinks that series productions as ER showed overwhelmed doctors as "medical technocrats" in a shaky health system. The doctor is also depressed by scandalous work conditions, eroding social systems and complete overload. The doctor Dr. According to Zischler from the Frankfurt Markus Hospital, ER is characterized by “excellent” medical research and specialist advice. Another article in Deutsches Ärzteblatt also sees the series' recipe for success in the fact that it is medically more carefully prepared and executed than its competitors.

An article published in the weekly newspaper Freitag in June 2006 also deals with the image of doctors conveyed by television, which is overall too positive and therefore unrealistic. But ER has revolutionized the field because it has become more professional: “No more home-made kitsch, zoom in on reality. Hospital illusion has never been truer […]. The air here is contaminated with jargon and the doses are right. Everything from the sprained finger to the opened thorax can be seen. Even in the extras: real medical staff. To make sure the wrong doctor is using the right forceps. The show takes such detailed work to ground its moral impetus with hyperrealism . With all the elaborate camera choreography, ER is political and seems to be serious about social criticism - including expeditions to the Congo and Darfur . That is to say, we are more than television entertainment, we fight the grievances we play. After twelve seasons, the daily routine of the emergency medical team is still frantically revolving around all kinds of open wounds. But the exhaustion cannot be hidden. "

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote in August 2006: “What was new about the series was that the viewer had every reason not to understand many things and to lose sight of some fate. That was purely on purpose - in real life patients rarely understand what doctors say and they don't care about the fate of others. "

The for nurses and nurses entering Initiative The Center for Nursing Advocacy called ER as the best-related health care television series since M * A * S * H and medically realistic drama series ever. She has generally portrayed nurses as competent and caring, avoiding the worst clichés. However, the series profile fixated on doctors has meant that viewers are not given a thorough or complete picture of the important role that nurses play in modern health care today. The few nurses and nurses are knowledgeable, but they mainly serve as subordinates and background for the heroic doctors.

Themes and dramaturgy

In 1995 the author Barbara Sichtermann wrote in an article for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that ER shows that in the series people are always more important than the milieu: “When Dr. Green is playing basketball in the yard, Dr. Ross arrives and the two suddenly see an opportunity to turn their rivalry into a game; when Dr. After his first puncture, Carter unhappily turns the well-deserved bottle of champagne in his hand because he has no one to drink it with - then a tour takes place, which one attends with great anticipation, because one has arrived at the nucleus of all drama. The whole theater blood, the helicopter and the fall birth in the clinic elevator, however, never come up. "

The lexicon of international film judged ER as "television series, takes the hassle calculated under the spell and can experience first hand the viewer what is happening. The kind-hearted doctors, whose only goal is to save human lives, make up for the rude tone in the medical team and the rush of blood in the operating room. "

Watching the series as it used to be, said the author of a DVD review for the second season in April 2004, is a reminder to fans of how much has been lost. This applies not only to the actors, but also to the stories. In the early years, at the beginning of the episode, the emergency room was flooded with a dozen patients, who the doctors kept busy for the rest of the episode. “Today”, on the other hand, is one big soap opera; the patients as the former basis of the series have become ulterior motives.

In a comment published in the summer of 2004 by the American news channel MSNBC , the author describes the series as a "shadow of her former self". The scriptwriters would move away from the original medical and towards character-romantic plots . The author of a comment published in the summer of 2004 in the IMDb sees the series in a state of "exhaustion" since the departure of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies , because with them the two most charismatic and committed actors have been lost. The series was immersed in the “highly exciting”, “nerve-wracking” medical procedures in a gloomy, melodramatic soap opera and would now “hobble on crutches”.

The Center for Nursing Advocacy believes there have been signs of fatigue and despair in season ten, but especially a growing trust in “large means of transport” such as the situation where a tank threatens to attack emergency personnel. In addition, the series ran into difficulties to find interesting stories for its longstanding characters, illustrated by the example of the "once strong" Dr. Romano and his health-related development into a "great nuisance" as well as his "pointless execution" by a helicopter. Also for the figure of Dr. Corday apparently no longer knew the series what to do with it.

According to an article published in the American newspaper The Oregonian in May 2005 , ER stopped being on Must See TV years ago . The characters have been inconsistent since Anthony Edwards ' departure. In his heyday, ER was a lively, compelling mix of caring characters and mind-boggling medical challenges. But now the main goal seems to be to move things forward as quickly as possible without worrying about whether they make any sense. Noah Wyle is a reminder of the days when the characters of ER were still believable. In the most recent seasons, however, the producers have tried to mix up the events with “hot” young actors, but the scripts are so weak that it is impossible to believe their characters.

In February 2007, the author of an article for the newspaper Die Welt said that Emergency Room was steadily going downhill year after year and that Grey's Anatomy had long outstripped the “hospital pioneers”. "What is left of the once innovative and now waning hospital series, even the defibrillators can no longer bring back to life." Regarding the German premiere of the final episode in August 2009, Deutsches Ärzteblatt says that the patient cases and "often rapidly staged" in ER The private stories of doctors and nurses no longer impressed young TV viewers; Rather, the zeitgeist has "complicated" diagnostic cases and the "inhuman cynic" Dr. Facing House .


Awards and nominations

Nominations and awards
Price competition Nom. Premium
ALMA Awards 9 1
Artios Awards 7th 4th
ASCAP Awards 12 12
BMI Film & TV Awards 11 11
Directors Guild of America Awards 12 4th
Golden Globe Awards 25th 1
Golden Reel Awards 19th 5
Humanitas prizes 9 1
NAACP Image Awards 33 6th
Peabody Awards 1 1
People's Choice Awards 9 9
Primetime Emmy Awards 124 23
Prism Awards 6th 3
Satellite Awards 7th 0
Screen Actors Guild Awards 18th 8th
Television Critics Association Awards 8th 2
TV Guide Awards 9 3
Writers Guild of America Awards 6th 2
Young Artist Awards 21st 3
Other US prices 29 9
Prices from other countries 6th 5
Minimum amount 381 113

He was a total of 124 times for even television Oscar -called Emmy nominated, so the most important award for television programs in the US, and takes in the statistics of the most nominated for the Emmy TV shows behind Saturday Night Live the second position. There were 23 awards, including in 1996 - for the second season - the Emmy in the category "Best Drama Series", in which the series was also nominated for seasons 1 and 3 to 7. Most of the awards went to the best sound mix (5) and the best sound editing (4), while most of the nominations were for the best guest actor (14) and the best director (13). At the same time the most nominated (6) and most awarded (5) episode is Schwarzer Tag (Love's Labor Lost) from the first season .

ER earned recognition by winning the prestigious Peabody Award in 1995. Between 1995 and 2001 there were a total of 25 nominations for the Golden Globe Award , seven of which were for “Best TV Drama Series” and 18 for outstanding acting, with an Anthony award Edwards ' 1998 named "Best Actor in a Television Drama Series".

In 2009, the series won the Icon Award at the TV Land Awards , a tribute to its influence on the US television landscape.

In all awards, Emergency Room received at least 367 nominations and 113 awards.

Placement in leaderboards

Emergency Room was placed in several leaderboards, which include the best television series of all time in a ranking. The following table offers a selection of such lists.

editor year Name of the list rank
United StatesUnited States TV guide 2002 TV Guide's 50 Best Shows of All Time 22nd
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Empire 2008 The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time 29
United StatesUnited States Writers Guild of America 2013 101 Best Written TV Series 28
GermanyGermany Film starts 2014 The 50 best series 20th
United StatesUnited States The Hollywood Reporter 2015 Hollywood's 100 Favorite TV Shows 28


At the Markus Hospital in Frankfurt am Main , doctors, nursing staff and other hospital employees are confronted with complex medical, ethical and legal conflict situations using cases from ER within the framework of training events . According to the Deutsches Ärzteblatt , many scenes were suitable to highlight areas of tension in the encounter between doctor, nursing staff, patient and relatives and to use them as a starting point for a discussion. This includes, for example, the handling of advance directives and confidentiality.

In the “Reform Medicine” course at the Berlin Charité , the presentation of sequences from ER is part of the “Emergency Medicine” block of the curriculum. The aim is to get to know technical aspects of interaction in emergency and other team situations. Using the scenes shown, aspects of error management are discussed, such as team communication in emergency situations, adherence to and overstepping areas of competence or dealing with serious errors.

Emergency Room has inspired more students to study emergency medicine and helped educate consumers about preventive healthcare. For example, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996 found that the number of applications from young doctors for employment in the emergency room had increased significantly since the Emergency Room ; According to the article, this is an indication of the high acceptance of the series by medical audiences.

Other television programs with medical topics are also based on ER , which the Deutsches Ärzteblatt describes as setting the style for the genre. Although there were realistic situations from everyday hospital life and real operating room pictures in the USA and Great Britain as early as the 1950s and 1960s, the breakthrough for the realistic doctor series was only achieved with the success of ER . With it, the need for more reality and thus of medical advice for doctor and hospital series became clear in Germany as well. An example of such a German hospital series is alphateam - Die Lebensretter im OP , which borrows stylistic elements from ER . The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2009 that Emergency Room had set a creative movement in motion towards the lifelike authenticity of specialized locations, which had influenced later hits such as CSI and The West Wing . In an article published by Deutsches Ärzteblatt in 2009, Freddy Litten said that relevant US TV series such as ER had an impact on the emergence of several medical and medical manga series in Japan and thus on the medical manga genre .


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  • Julie Cupples, Kevin Glynn: Postdevelopment Television? Cultural Citizenship and the Mediation of Africa in Contemporary TV Drama . In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers , No. 4/2013, Volume 103, pp. 1003-1021
  • Katherine A. Foss, “When We Make Mistakes, People Die!”: Constructions of Responsibility for Medical Errors in Televised Medical Dramas, 1994-2007 . In: Communication Quarterly No. 4/2011, vol. 59, pp. 484–506
  • Harlan Gibbs, Alan Duncan Ross: The Medicine of ER, or, How We Almost Die , BasicBooks, New York 1996, ISBN 0-465-04473-5
  • Jason Jacobs: Body Trauma TV. The New Hospital Dramas . British Film Institute , London 2003, ISBN 0-85170-881-1
  • Mark Jones: ER - The Unofficial Guide . Contender Books, London 2003, ISBN 1-84357-035-1
  • Janine Pourroy: ER - Emergency Room. Stories, facts, backgrounds . VGS, Cologne 1996, ISBN 3-8025-2407-1
  • Veronika Seifferth: The German synchronization of American television series (Heidelberg studies for translation studies). Scientific publishing house Trier 2010, ISBN 978-3-86821-198-6

Assessments (published on the occasion of the end of the series)

Background information

Web links

Episode guide

Individual evidence

  1. The episode counting method used by NBC and TV.com applies, according to which the 90-minute pilot film is rated as episode 1 and the first season thus comprises a total of 25 episodes. In addition, the 90-minute series finale is counted as an episode, namely No. 331.
  2. Ep. 91: Love service resulting in death (season 4), German dubbed version
  3. Pourroy 1996, p. 108 f.
  4. Ep. 162: Again from the beginning (season 8)
  5. Ep. 202: What now? (Season 10)
  6. Ep. 196: The Advocate (Season 9)
  7. The main characters are those 26 characters whose actors are listed under Starring in the opening credits.
  8. a b c d e Off for "Emergency Room" .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Salzburger Nachrichten , August 17, 2009; Retrieved March 12, 2011@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.salzburg.com  
  9. : Heal Thyself Trivia and Quotes TV.com; Retrieved April 7, 2011
  10. ^ A b Emergency Room - Die Notaufnahme "(1994) - Cast and crew. IMDB , accessed February 13, 2011 .
  11. Margulies would have 'killed herself' if she stayed in ER . ContactMusic.com, Aug 17, 2006; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  12. ER star leaves amid age dispute . BBC News , June 14, 2004; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  13. German synchronous index: German synchronous index | Series | Emergency Room - The emergency room. Accessed March 31, 2018 .
  14. The episodes are listed in whose opening credits or opening credits the actor is named under Starring .
  15. What is meant is the number of episodes with appearances, including those as supporting actors. The number of episodes results from the number given in the IMDb minus the number of episodes in which the actor was part of the main cast but did not appear; such episodes are indicated in the IMDb as credit only .
  16. Emergency Room - The emergency room. In: synchronkartei.de. German synchronous index , accessed on July 28, 2015 .
  17. Despite Greene's death in Ep. 178, Edwards is still listed as the leading actor in Ep. 179.
  18. Supporting actress in the pilot film, leading actress from episode 2
  19. Jamie S. Rich: ER - The Complete Fifth Season . DVD talk, July 2, 2006; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  20. a b c Fabian Riedner: Quota check: "Emergency Room" , in: quotenmeter.de from August 24, 2009, accessed on August 21, 2015
  21. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Alan Sepinwall: 'ER' seeks story transfusions ( Memento from February 5, 2013 in the web archive archive.today ), in: Variety from Dec. 5, 2007, accessed on 26 August 2015
  22. a b c d e f g h Kevin Maynard: While cast revolves, auds stay involved . Ed .: Variety .
  23. ^ Fabian Riedner: US annual charts 2002/2003. Quotemeter.de , June 1, 2003, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  24. Fabian Riedner: US annual charts 2003/2004. Quotemeter.de , June 1, 2004, accessed on February 13, 2011 .
  25. ^ Fabian Riedner: US annual charts 2004/2005. Quotemeter.de , May 28, 2005, accessed on February 13, 2011 .
  26. ^ Colin Mahan: 2006 Ratings Wrap-Up. tv.com, May 26, 2006, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  27. 2006–2007 primetime wrap. The Hollywood Reporter , accessed October 16, 2010 .
  28. a b Justin van de Kamp: TV Ratings: 2007-2008 Season Top-200. televisionista , June 1, 2008, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  29. a b Fabian Riedner: US television: Those were the tops & flops. Quotemeter.de , June 10, 2009, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  30. a b Julia Brinckmann: Emergency room - The non-prescription TV drug . In: TV Movie . 1995, p. 13-16 .
  31. Bill Carter: Could NBC Live Without 'ER' ?; Bidding War Looms for TV's Hottest Drama Series . In: The New York Times . November 3, 1997 ( online [accessed February 13, 2011]).
  32. ER: Hell and High Water Trivia and Quotes. tv.com, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  33. a b Cynthia Littleton: ER series finale scores with auds. In: Variety . April 3, 2009, archived from the original on December 21, 2011 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  34. ^ Thorben Gebhardt: Strong series finale for "Will & Grace". Quotemeter.de , May 19, 2006, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  35. Alex Dobuzinskis: UPDATE 1-'ER 'finale draws 16.4 million TV viewers. Reuters , April 3, 2009, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  36. Peter Kaplan: NBC pays top dollar to keep No. 1-rated 'ER' on board. In: The Washington Times . January 15, 1998; archived from the original on June 29, 2014 ; Retrieved March 5, 2011 .
  37. Joe Schlosser: NBC signs 'ER,' but for millions less. Broadcasting & Cable, May 1, 2000, archived from the original on June 29, 2014 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  38. Josef Adalian: Wells eyes another year in the 'ER'. Variety , November 4, 2007; archived from the original on December 21, 2011 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  39. ^ Gary Levin (Gannett News Service): NBC's 'ER' will end its run next year. Pittsburgh Tribune Review April 11, 2008, archived from the original August 31, 2011 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  40. ^ Mary Houlihan: The Past Present & Future. In: Chicago Sun-Times . January 4, 2009, archived from the original on September 24, 2015 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  41. Bill Carter: Post-Mortem: 'ER' Is Remembered Fondly. The New York Times , March 19, 2009, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  42. ^ Longest Running TV Shows - Television Shows With More Than 160 Episodes . Angelfire.com; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  43. ^ Fabian Riedner: Quota check: "Emergency Room". quotenmeter.de, August 24, 2009, accessed November 26, 2011 .
  44. a b c d Emergency Room: broadcast dates for the TV series . fernsehserien.de; Retrieved May 15, 2011
  45. Start dates for "Emergency Room - Die Notaufnahme" . ( Memento of December 21, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) IMDB ; Retrieved May 15, 2011
  46. ^ ER - Emergency Room , in: Cologne Conference website , archive 1995, accessed on August 30, 2015
  47. Emergency Room - About this film . Cinema ; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  48. ^ ER: Cast & Details . TV Guide ; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  49. a b Matthias Kalle: demigod twilight . In: Die Zeit , No. 22/2007
  50. Josef Joffe : Woody Allen as a glamor girl . In: Die Zeit , No. 37/2000
  51. ^ A b c Heike E. Krüger-Brand: Doctors image on television: Farewell to the "demigod in white" . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 100 , no. 45 . Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag , November 7, 2003, p. A-2928 / B-2426 / C-2280 .
  52. ^ Susanne Schwarzer: Media-critical analysis - The doctor on television. sanofi-aventis , February 6, 2008, archived from the original on November 20, 2008 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  53. ^ A b Gisela Klinkhammer: "Emergency Room": About the breach of confidentiality . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 107 , no. 9 . Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag , March 5, 2010, p. A-397 / B-351 / C-341 .
  54. ^ A b c Annette Tuffs: TV series Emergency Room: More than George Clooney . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 106 , no. 33 . Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag , August 14, 2009, p. A-1623 / B-1391 / C-1359 .
  55. ^ Katja Werner: Doctors Without Borders. In: Friday . June 16, 2006, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  56. Hans Hoff: TV series classics (1): Emergency Room - Hoppeldiepoppel. In: sueddeutsche.de . May 19, 2010, accessed December 27, 2014 .
  57. ER television series review. The Center for Nursing Advocacy, archived from the original on February 7, 2011 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  58. Barbara Sichtermann: At the nucleus . In: Die Zeit , No. 52/1995
  59. Emergency Room: 1. The first day / 2. Coming and going & welcome home . Two thousand and one ; Retrieved December 30, 2011
  60. ^ Andy Patrizio: ER: The Complete Second Season - The best season from the best medical show on TV. IGN (UK Edition), April 27, 2004, accessed February 13, 2011 .
  61. ^ Sarah D. Bunting: The shows that won't die are back - Nobody you know watches them, why are they on? Today Television , September 10, 2004, accessed March 5, 2011 .
  62. howTVshouldbe ( IMDB member): IMDb user reviews for "Emergency Room - Die Notaufnahme" . updated June 5, 2004; Retrieved February 13, 2011
  63. Most Recent (2003-04) Season Ratings and Review. The Center for Nursing Advocacy, archived from the original on July 6, 2010 ; Retrieved February 13, 2011 .
  64. Kristi Turnquist: Limping 'ER' bids Au Revoir to Noah Wyle , in: The Oregonian of May 5, 2005, archived page ( Memento of September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  65. Sandra Fomferek: Where defibrillators spark and scalpels flash. In: welt.de . February 16, 2007, accessed December 27, 2014 .
  66. Emmys.com: Facts & Figures (Including 2010 Nomination Information) - 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards . (PDF; 62 kB) accessed February 13, 2011
  67. April MacIntyre: 2009 TV Land Awards gives Icon award to 'ER'. April 9, 2009, archived from the original on August 13, 2010 ; Retrieved September 12, 2012 .
  68. TV Guide's 50 Best Shows of All Time . CBS News of April 26, 2002; accessed on August 28, 2015
  69. The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time . In: Empire ; accessed on August 28, 2015
  70. 101 Best Written TV Series . ( August 30, 2015 memento on the Internet Archive ) Writers Guild of America , accessed August 28, 2015
  71. The 50 best series . Filmstarts.de , accessed on August 28, 2015
  72. Hollywood's 100 Favorite TV Shows . In: The Hollywood Reporter , September 16, 2015
  73. Heike E. Krüger-Brand: Interdisciplinary training: Learning from "Emergency Room" . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 103 , no. 37 . Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag , September 15, 2006, p. A-2350 / B-2042 / C-1964 .
  74. Further training events . Center for Ethics in Medicine (ZEM) at the Agaplesion Markus Hospital, Frankfurt am Main; Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  75. Information about the courses. RSM Interaction 10th semester summer semester 2008 . ( Memento from January 10, 2009 on WebCite ) Charité Berlin; Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  76. a b Scott Collins: ER calls its time of death . In: Los Angeles Times , March 28, 2009; Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  77. Andrea J. Appel: Doctor games . In: Image of Science . No. 9 , 2002, p. 66–68 ( Wissenschaft.de [accessed February 23, 2019]).
  78. Freddy Litten: Medicine Manga: On the pulse of society . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 106 , no. 15 . Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag , April 10, 2009, p. A-721 / B-615 / C-599 .
This article was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 26, 2007 in this version .