Season 3 Episode 17


Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Apr 10, 1997 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
83 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Mark examines his prejudices when he's accused of neglecting a black gunshot victim, Kenny Law, in favor of a white victim. Jeanie discovers Benton's impending parenthood when Carla comes into the ER. Carter spends the entire day treating a hopeless case. Weaver tries to persuade a disabled junkie to enter a rehab program. Carol treats a college student who was given Rohypnol, a date rape drug, at a party the night before. After Jenn's mother has a stroke, Rachel comes to stay with Mark for a while.moreless

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  • This is one unpleasant episode

    Everything in this episode is somewhat hard to watch. It is amazing how unpleasant it is to watch the show, even though all the previous episodes have been enjoyable as usual. This one really stands out in its, well, unpleasantness.

    The subplots are itchy enough, as we get the strange meeting of Carla and Jeanie, the wheelchair drug addict which Kerry fails to cure and neither Doug nor Carol are really available for some emotional relief.

    But the main story line about the dead basketball player, his angry brother and Mark Greene's involvement is the one that really matters here and which, eventually, doesn't work. The writing fails because it tries too much by showing us how we categorize people by their appearances (and the circumstances) on the one side, but on the other side reestablishes the same stereotypes it wants to denounce. The black guy was the good athlethe and the white guy was the bad drug dealer, but that isn't enough. Mark's assumptions about Kenny's brother and Kenny himself may appear racist, but they are (as he says) based on what he experiences all day at work. There are not many white drug dealers coming in the ER, so his mistake (which wasn't even really a mistake) is not that bad. The script fails even more because it indicates here (and proves in the following episodes) that the black guys really are the killing gangsta types, meaning that Mark's assumptions weren't completely wrong.

    The directing and acting also doesn't really work in the show. For one, the way Kenny's brother appears is inexcusable. Everyone would have been frightened of him, because his anger certainly is not happening only because of the dramatic circumstances. On top of that he is more racist than anyone else, asking only the black personnel to help him, which they (and that is where another one of the episode's mistakes are) willingfully do. Finally, there are all the glances from Haleh, Malik (as usual) and even Doug directed at Mark, which seems to suggest that he really has done something wrong, that he actually is acting racist. He even has to apologize for it in the end, so that Malik accepts him again. Mark's behavior certainly isn't perfect throughout the day, but this is understandable, since he is very scared (and should be as we see later).

    It is a weak episode, starting a storyline that is depressing and hard to watch for the episodes to come. Racism is very often a topic in ER, but this time they really don't manage to handle it well.moreless
  • Weird and somehow different but not in a good way.

    The main topic of this episode is racism and I do not know how others, but for me - this serie somehow was so distance, get no connection, made no emotional feelings. It was weird to watch, I had no trouble to leave for some minutes and come back because nothing serious had happened in the meantime. Usually I just cannot go even just to kitchen to get sandwich because of the tempo. I cannot say this episode did not have any action - there was some traumas brought in, but instead of the cases, it tried to concentrate on the emotional dilemmas of Greene and some others, but failed. I did not get any of that.

    Greene, so, had a two shooting victims, preferred to treat white one - who came out to be a diller. and the black one - died later. It was quite weird to watch Greene trying to get himself to talk to the family. Really weird and did not made any sense at all (usually things in this serie does)

    Doyle gets for herself a new case what she takes hard - she just does it almost every other episode now.

    So.. nothing special.. nothing moving.. plane and blank episodemoreless
  • Doll episode, not at all as good as the overall standard of the show. Deals with racism and predigest.

    This is not one of the best episodes. The story is a bit predictable and there is too much moral preaching going on. But I must admit that the apology from dr. Green to nurse Malik is the exception – here a doctor actually admits he is wrong and doesn’t try to explain – just simply apologise for it – very admirable – and very rare in real life. (In my country anyways)

    But it’s really beginning to annoy me that they keep using there stethoscopes without removing the patients clothes – where I come from you fail your exam, if you do that – not to mentioning being laughed at – there is absolutely no chance you can diagnose anything whit all the scratching noises from the clothes as a filter. It’s a big mistake for at show who is generally good at playing pretend doctors.moreless
  • Not my favorite episode

    This is the episode that I've seen voted the worst ever and for good reason. It starts out ok with them playing basketball, but the rest is not well done. It pretty much is everyone disagreeing with everyone else. I think that the premise of the possible racial discrimination is a good one, but not shown effectively. I would have been better if it didn't involve a creap like Chris Law. This leads into what I consider one of the worst storylines in ER history. It is possible that Dr Greene is guilty of discrimination and it does lead to an interesting discussion. The storyline of Carter's patient Babs was boring, and the best storyline of the episode is of Carol's rape patient.moreless
Clifton Collins Jr.

Clifton Collins Jr.

Mr. Brown

Guest Star

Bonnie Root

Bonnie Root


Guest Star

Richard Fancy

Richard Fancy

Mr. Thomas

Guest Star

Abraham Benrubi

Abraham Benrubi


Recurring Role

Jorja Fox

Jorja Fox

Dr. Maggie Doyle

Recurring Role

Lisa Nicole Carson

Lisa Nicole Carson

Carla Reese

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Mark: When Kenny Law came in, do you think I made racist assumptions?
      Haleh: Black folk see the world one way, white folk see it another.
      Mark: All white people?
      Haleh: When something happens, you say it's got nothing to do with race. But for us, it's always got to do with race.

    • (during a trauma surgery)
      Ross: Carter's on fire.
      Greene: He's better with his scalpel than he is with his lay-up.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Doug: (to Mark, about Carter) Or maybe for our young Jedi surgeon so recently humiliated in hoops.
      Doug's comment is a reference to the Jedi Knights from the Star Wars movies.

    • Dr. Greene: (to Carter, when Carter complains about being stuck with an uninteresting case) It's gomer-tag, and you're it.
      Dr. Green: (referring to a patient) Turf him upstairs.
      In both of these quotes, Mark is using jargon coined from The House of God, a 1978 novel by Samuel Shem (a pseudonym of the psychiatrist Stephen Bergman) that chronicles the lives of six interns at a busy urban hospital. "Gomer" is an acronym for Get Out of My Emergency Room, and refers to a patient who is frequently admitted with complicated but uninspiring and/or incurable conditions; and "turf" means to find an excuse to transfer or refer a patient to a different department or team.