Combining the extraordinary talents of multiple award-winning producer John Wells, best-selling author Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg, "ER" follows the lives of the emergency room staff and doctors at Chicago's County General Hospital, where the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions--and the pressure, joy and guilt are often overwhelming. This critically acclaimed series, which won three Emmys during its third season, including Oustanding Drama Serires, is now available in a 22 episode, 6 disc collector's set.
The third season of ER had some of the series' most compelling and wrenching story lines. John Carter (Noah Wylie) is now an intern, but his surgical dreams continue to be thwarted by Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle), a frustration shared by fellow student Dennis Gant (Omar Epps). Benton also torments former lover Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben), who has tested positive for HIV. Because he has tested negative, he's free to badger her about the risks involved in her treating patients while moving on to his next potential conquest, a sexy waitress named Carla (Lisa Nicole Carson). Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) continues to be one of the series' focal points, struggling to survive the bureaucracy of management and still feel like a doctor. And now single, he goes on bad dates as does Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), both ignoring the obvious until a seemingly casual vacation invitation sets a number of uncomfortable wheels turning.
The other focal point is nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), for whom things go from bad to worse. She has serious money problems, her career choice doesn't look so good anymore, and when a patient dies, she finds herself suspended. That sets the stage for one of the series' most memorable episodes, which takes place almost completely outside the hospital. Hathaway goes to the corner drug store, where she meets guest star Ewan McGregor, and things take off from there. She also wisely keeps her distance from former lover Dr. Ross (George Clooney), who may have really done it when he brings into the ER a one-night stand suffering from a seizure and has to admit he doesn't even know her name.
County General survives a closure scare, but instead has to absorb some new additions, including chief of staff Donald Anspaugh (John Aylward), intern Maggie Doyle (Jorjan Fox), and the best pediatric surgeon in Chicago, Abby Keaton (Glenne Headley), who attracts the attention of Benton and Carter for professional and/or personal reasons. But those additions are countered by two emotional goodbyes, and other gritty story lines, including a troubled teen (Kirsten Dunst) and an assault on a doctor, helped make ER's third season often tough to take, but unforgettable.
Special features consist of commentary tracks on two episodes; a 15-minute spotlight on the episode "Fear of Flying" with new interviews with Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wylie, and Glenne Headley; bloopers and outtakes; and a featurette on the ER's nurses with interviews of Yvette Freeman, Abraham Benrubi, Ellen Crawford, and others, but not Julianna Margulies. --David Horiuchi