"Spoilers: While the television show ER lost some of its finest cast members in the preceding years, including founders Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies and the great Eriq LaSalle, it also gained some high calibre acting talent in the process.
Noah Wyle takes charge following the death of Mark Greene (in season eight), while Laura Innes's Kerry Weaver (a great characterization) continues with her usual ambitious plans, facing health and moral dilemmas on the way. Maura Tierney ably continues her role as Abby Lockhart, with Goran Visnjic maintaining his rebel ways. Newcomer Mekhi Phifer receives a top billing credit for his part as Gregory Pratt and although he has his moments, Sharif Atkins takes the upper hand with his portrayal of the likable Michael Gallant. Alex Kingston, a staple of the series has little to do this season while Sherry Stringfield returns as Susan Lewis, displaying some fine moments including a nice friendship with a terminal cancer patient. Ming-Na returns as Jing-Mei Chen, turning up the heat with her relationship with Pratt.
Season nine however, is highlighted by the brilliance of the underrated Paul McCrane. McCrane's Robert Romano faces a hard road to recovery after a devastating accident in the season opening. Though previously considered the shows 'villain', McCrane's character (who previously had few redeeming features other than his brilliance as a surgeon) is fleshed out more during season nine. With a more deeply felt characterization, McCrane gets the opportunity to display some brilliant acting talent, with a mix of the poignant and a touch of his trademark satiric wit. His friendship with Alex Kingston steps up a notch, with the two sharing a great mutual respect after years of relative hostility. It is a touching friendship.
Frances Sternhagen's Millicent Carter (John Carter's grandmother) is also worthy of a mention. First appearing in 1997, Sternhagen contributed to some great episodes and her pairing with Wyle left some great moments in the series history. This season is also graced with the presence of some great character actors including Bruce Weitz and Don Cheadle as a doctor in training with Parkinson's disease. On the whole, season nine is filled with solid work from all cast members and is a vast improvement over season seven and eight."
Vitals still strong after nine years!
Nathan B. Blake | Kirkland, IL USA | 06/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, it would be a lie to say the departures of Eriq La Salle and Anthony Edwards didn't hurt the show. They did. Dr. Greene was the heart of the ER, and Dr. Benton was the heart of the OR. After they both left the show in season eight, some reinventing would clearly be needed. ER continued on brilliantly for season nine. No, it was not the same show it had been a season before, but season eight was much different than the first season. Nine was different. It had to be. It was not awful by any means.
Season nine picks up where eight left off. The hospital is in lockdown after a smallpox scare. It turns out the infection within County General is not smallpox, but monkeypox. Everyone is vaccinated and evacuated. Everyone except Carter, Abby, Chen and Pratt. During the evacuation, Dr. Romano is involved in an accident that will change the rest of his life. That accident has time and again been hailed as one of the most shocking moments of TV history!
The rest of the season is just as excellent as the season premiere. There are guest appearances by Sally Field, Don Cheadle and Edward Asnwer, among others. There is also a memorable Christmas episode that plays in reverse (a la MEMENTO) and of course the intense 200th episode, which alternates between the day and night shifts.
This season marks a change for ER. But the change isn't as bad as some people say. I think of season nine as the last truly CLASSIC season of ER. And while I'm still a loyal fan to this day, seasons 1-9 were the best of the best and I'll gladly add season nine of ER to my DVD collection.
ER...still a great show!
Marcos Rodriguez | Chicago, IL USA | 05/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ER continues to just as great as its previous seasons. Despite the departure of Anthony Edwards and Eriq La Salle, the drama and action still remains.
In this season, Carter must step up as the leader while dealing with his dysfunctional relationship with Abby. Luka hits rock-bottom and questions his desire in medicine. Weaver gets into hot water after an unethical favor for an alderman has tragic results. Pratt and Chen begin a relationship. Corday grieves after the death of Greene while teaching a medical student with Parkinson's Disease played by Don Cheadle. Romano's "dead" arm begins to be a burden and may derail his career in surgery. Susan treats a teenager with testicular cancer played by Patrick Fugit.
"There is a void in the ER with Dr. Green and Dr. Benton gone and John Carter fills it nicely. It was really cool to see him and Abby get together finally. They have such great chemistry, even if its explosive at times! This season is just as good, maybe better, than the other seasons in my mind. If you love ER, this season is a must have in your collection. Can't wait for the next season to be released!"
Calling Dr. Romano!
Amber Meadows | Indianapolis, IN | 06/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many ER fans after Dr. Greene was killed off in late Season 8, I was weary about what Season 9 would be like. But after watching the first episode of the season, I was dragged in once again! My favorite character/storyline of this entire season would be the episodes with Robert Romano which is ironic because in past years I never really cared for his character, but Paul McCrane is such a exceptional actor - and I really loved the scenes with him and Dr. Corday! Now they would of made a interesting romance pair. The whole Benton/Corday or even Greene/Corday seemed kind of awkward for me. Others might disagree.
The only thing I didn't like about this season, was the "Africa" episodes. I prefer seeing action happening inside of county general rather then somewhere else.