This season should really have been renamed “Surgical Wards” a good 25% of this season is actually set up in the surgical wards following Carter and Benton and a whole flock of new nurses and doctors. It’s interesting to follow patients’ treatments from ER to surgery to post op, but the show seemed to lose track of the fact it was called ER. I think the show-runners realised this too as they put Carter (who is definitely the heart of the show) back into the ER at the end of the season. The new characters such as Abby Keaton, Maggie Doyle (with a rather Sara
like Jorga Fox) and the rest of the flock manage to be interesting and well formed even given limited time. Meanwhile the effects of increased film commitments mean a noticable decrease in screen-time for several of the actors, they tend only to appear when they’ve got a main story to be told, rather than being supporting as they were in earlier seasons.
Story-wise the show maintains it’s principles of usually having a couple of main storylines and a flurry of more short lived ones. The multi-ep arcs tend to be more character development with everyone getting some nice plots. I think some of the story-lines were over-egged slightly, particularly the “nurses are valuable but under-appreciated” bits and Benton’s continual failings as a human being which really began to drag a lot. The character reversals of Ross and Greene are fun though, as is Carter’s transition from doctor to student. Kerry continues to be fascinating in her outward appearance as a monster to all but those closest to her.