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"A Thousand Cranes"
Season 9, Episode 16
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Air date February 20, 2003
Written by David Zabel
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan
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A Thousand Cranes is the 16th episode of the 9th season of "E.R."


BLACK AND BLUE CLASH WHEN DOCTORS ARE QUESTIONED BY POLICE; SALLY FIELD, PATRICK FUGIT GUEST-STAR: Drs. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) and Gallant (Sharif Atkins) see the when they are pulled over and questioned as possible suspects in a murderous rampage at the hospital's local diner while a sympathetic Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) befriends an enamored teenaged cancer patient (guest star Patrick Fugit, "Almost Famous") who fears he might not have long to live.

Elsewhere, Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) learns a sobering earful from Maggie (Oscar-winning guest star Sally Field) when he reluctantly takes her to the airport even as he ponders a life-changing personal decision.

In addition, troubled Dr. Kovac (Goran Visnjic) ruminates on his tragic life when he is forced to consult a psychologist. Alex Kingston, Laura Innes, Maura Tierney and Ming-Na also star.




  • Although he appears in the opening credits, Paul McCrane does not appear in this episode.
  • The meaning of a Thousand Cranes, is told by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Which inspired by a young girl to make one thousand paper cranes, to help her with her beat her leukemia, but after Sadako thought for awhile, she changed her wish for world peace, Every year on August 6, children from all over the world send folded paper cranes to Sadako's statue to keep this hope alive.


  • "Always in Disguise" by Peter Himmelman
  • "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys


Dr. Meyers: (to Luka) Let's start with you telling me...
Luka: My problem?
Dr. Meyers: What's on your mind.
Luka: My family died during the war in Croatia, so I came to America. I had a relationship with someone I cared about which I then ruined, so I started looking for the answers in the wrong places, you know like sex, drinking, living fast. Killed a patient I should've saved and then I almost killed a medical student in a car crash. So, I woke up one morning and everything I had was gone. Gone or broken. (pauses) So what do you have for that?