Season 2 Episode 18

A Shift in the Night

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Apr 04, 1996 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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  • Dr. Green stands alone.... with Carter by his side...

    A very interesting episode, dr. Green is alone on the ER with only a few nurses and Carter by his side as he find trouble to work together with Benton..

    It is a very good and classic episode because I'm sure its a very realistic episode... THough it's sad that everybody bails on him, even Kerry who called for him in the first place...
    But it's good to see that he does try to make the best of the situation and puts the critical situation first, even though that mom is mad at him for waiting so long and he can't stitch her sons' injury.

    The ending was very special and very nicely done... Really clever things were done in the entire episode, the UV lamp on the urine, the metal detector, the glue to pick a small ball out of somebody's ear... That blindness that was just fake... Excellent scenes...

    Truly a classic and a must see episode on ER!
  • Why I love this series.

    Yes, this episodes gives us very good look to the tempo of the ER. Too many patience in waiting room, too many in, and always coming in traumas - this is the night what is left for dr. Greene. First my thoughts after this episode was - It was different. The way it did not so much concentrate on the relationships and char development. This episode was about cases, about those people.

    First I felt it was like running from one patience to another, not giving us enough time to get deep with any of them, but then I understand the beauty and dynamic of this episode - it was rush, the help, caring - those things ER is all about.

    Very enjoyable episode to watch.
  • One of my favorites

    I recently saw this episode again, and was reminded how much I loved the episode. It's a classic, as far as I'm concerned....just by the fact that it shows what the ER can feel like to the doctors and the patients.

    It starts out with a very tired and overworked Greene heading home after apparently working 4 nights in a row. It\'s pouring rain, and just as he\'s pulling into a close parking space (near his front door), someone outright steals the space. Poor Greene. All he wanted was an easy trip home, a hot bath and a long night\'s sleep. No sooner had his head hit the pillow, but who should call?? County, by way of Kerry. She says that they\'re swamped, they\'re short doctors and he needs to come back in. He protests, but turns around and returns to work.

    He finds that the ER is completely filled to each corner with patients. The board is full, and the waiting room overflowing. About this time, Kerry bolts out the door claiming some meeting, or something. This episode shows every kind of problem that the ER might see. Anything from a bead being caught in a man\'s ear, to a very serious OR case.....and Benton not answering his calls. After a very close call, and Mark and the nurses doing some pretty heroic work, the man is stable for Benton (who finally appears) to take him up for surgery. Just as Mark finds a moment to go to Doc\'s to pick up a sandwich, he sees a car accident right outside the ambulance here he goes, right back to work. It\'s like that all night, with people tugging at his sleeve for help and trying to work with an overworked staff.

    What I loved about this episode was that it felt real to me. I\'ve had my share of experiences in the ER, and this one felt closer to what I\'ve experienced than most.

    The breaking point in this episode is that a woman who\'s been trying for hours for someone to see her son\'s wound, is finally seen by Mark. Turns out that in the time that she\'s been waiting, the wound has been open too long. Fearing infection, they have to wait (and then come back to the ER) in order to stitch it. Mark has an epiphany and decides that something drastic must take place. We see him take his staff into the waiting room and treat from there. No long histories, no excessive treatments or labs....just doctoring. We see that after a time, the board is empty and so is the waiting room. Everyone\'s gone. Either home, to the OR or upstairs to admitting.

    Kerry finds out and is none to happy, but you know that deep down Mark, the staff, and the patients know how well it worked, and are grateful.
  • ... really, this is why smart people got into E.R.

    Very well written episode, down to the tiniest detail. This site claims there aren't any allusions, but I caught at least one: When Greene gets to the hospital and Weaver walks him through the litany of ailments and injuries that await him, and she asks if he has any questions, he replies, "How are things in Glocca Morra?" which is the title of a song from the old (1947) Broadway hit musical Finian's Rainbow. The song, essentially, is a wistful series of questions about a place whose distance and relative peacefulness comprise a nostalgic appeal. The musical itself is notorious, since its sucess prompted many to want to make it into a movie, but its race-based satire made Hollywood want to revamp the heart of the play. The musical's makers held out; 21 years later, Coppola brought Finian's Rainbow, with few changes, to the big screen.

    Allusions aside, perhaps the key attribute of this episode is how skillfully the script presents, develops, and manages obstacles. The episode begins with Greene just failing to get the parking spot he's looking for, the one immediately in front of his house. Then, when he gets out of the car, runoff from the rain that lasts until the final minutes of the episode soaks Greene's shoes and pant legs. After showering, Greene drops into bed only to have the phone interrupt his attempt to sleep—Weaver, begging him to come in, despite his having just finished three night shifts in a row. All Dr. Greene wants is rest, and everything—everything—just keeps getting in the way. Later we learn that he's really had NO rest, since he had just gotten back from an abortive trip to visit his daughter when he got called in. Obstacle after obstacle after obstacle confront Dr. Greene (does he ever get his turkey sandwich?), which is beautiful on the level of scripting, considering the meat of this episode—how Dr. Greene manages a particularly overcrowded and undermanned emergency room—is precisely about the management of difficult and trying obstacles. This is a classic example of the old meaning of the oft-misused phrase "a well-wrought play": All the parts fit and reflect one another clearly, yet there is never a sense that the episode is contrived—in fact, it's very easy to watch this episode and draw connections to those days in our own lives when NOTHING seemed to go according to plan. What a great, great episode of E.R. I've seen every episode, not couting the most recent season, and I've gotta tell you, in terms of writing, this one counts only "Ground Zero" as its peer.
  • my favorite episode

    Sure, there are no children stuck in drain pipes, doctors battling cancer/drug addictions, or bombs in the waiting room, but this remains my favorite ER episode of all time. The guest stars are brilliant and it provides a very real glimpse into a night in an understaffed urban ER. Edwards & Wyle are PERFECT in this episode and the last scene as they walk out into the rain puts a smile on my face every time.
  • very fun to watch

    I thought this was an incredible episode. It's subtle, but very exciting to watch with a lot going on. In one episode, they show a lot of aspects of being an ER doctor. When I watch this episode, I feel that I'm living the tough night right along with Dr. Greene. Between him being on for the 4th straight night to juggling all of the patients, to trying to find something to eat he has one interesting shift. I thought the ending was incredible with Dr Greene and the others trying to clear out the waiting room. This is definitely an episode worth watching.