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Dr. Abigail Marjorie Lockhart (née Wyczenski) is a fictional medical doctor from the television series ER. She is married to Dr. Luka Kovač, with whom she has a son, Josip. She is portrayed by Maura Tierney.

History

Early life

Abigail Wyczenski was born to Eddie Wyczenski and Maggie Wyczenski; she has a single brother, Eric. Eddie left the household when Abby was little; she recounts little of him, only remembering he loved to watch boxing, especially Joe Frasier (as he considered him to be the best pure fighter).[1]

Maggie and Eric both suffer from bipolar disorder. Abby's childhood was troubled as she struggled to keep up with them; her relationship with them in her adult years was strained due to this history.

Biography

Abby first appears in the Season 6 episode, "Great Expectations", guest starring as Carol Hathaway's labor and delivery nurse. Three months later, she became a regular character in February 2000 as a third-year medical student beginning her ER rotation. On her first day, she meets Dr. Luka Kovač, her first teacher, with whom she will experience a professional and personal relationship, and who will become the most important character in her long-running story. Lockhart's first months in the ER is proved challenging for her transitioning from OB nursing to the ER.

In her first few months, she sees John Carter stabbed and another medical student, Lucy Knight, killed by a schizophrenic patient, Paul Sobriki, and also has to speak to superiors Kerry Weaver and Mark Greene about Carter's growing drug addiction. Although Carter is hostile at first, he and Abby become friends over the course of the next season.

Abby's medical training had gone into hiatus and she had become a full-time obstetrics nurse to provide for her then-husband Richard Lockhart's medical school education, but once they divorce she resumed her medical training. Later on, at the start of Abby's final year of medical school, Weaver breaks the news to her that her registration for that quarter has been denied for lack of payment at the start of Season 7. Abby confronts her ex-husband to discover that he has stopped paying her tuition because he is bankrupt. She resumes her part-time OB nursing job, and soon Weaver offers her a full-time ER nursing position. Abby accepts the offer.

After several generally rewarding years as a nurse, Abby got her ex-husband to sign off on a loan so she could finish medical school. While she failed her first exam to fully become a doctor, she passed on her second try, and she earned her Medical Doctor degree in the Season 10 finale.

In the 2000–2001 season, Abby is visited by her mother, Maggie Wyczenski, who suffers from bipolar disorder. Abby's childhood is revealed to have been very difficult; she was forced to cope with her mother's erratic behavior and long absences, and had to take care of her younger brother Eric. Eric, who has been in the US Air Force but went AWOL, was introduced later. He too is showing signs of bipolar disorder, but refuses to accept it.

In 2003, Abby starts her final year of medical school as newcomer Samantha Taggart replaces her as the central nurse character on the show. Towards the end of the academic term, she is told that someone has anonymously paid off the balance on her tuition. She later discovers it was Carter. On graduation day, Abby finds out that Carter's girlfriend, Kem, has suffered a stillbirth. Abby offers to stay with Carter. He is grateful, but tells her that it's not necessary. Abby goes on to graduate from medical school and finally becomes Dr. Abby Lockhart.

Abby's father, Eddie, left the family when Abby was a child, due at least in part to Maggie's uncontrollable behavior. Abby reunited with her father in season 13, when he initially approached her under the guise of being a patient named Eddie Jackson, before finally revealing his true identity to her.

Abby's final appearance as a series regular was in the Season 15 episode "The Book of Abby", when she quietly left with Luka and her son Joe to live in Boston, after the couple decided it was time for a clean start.

Abby appears once more in Season 15 in episode 20, "Shifting Equilibrium", during a phone call with Neela, who needed Abby's encouragement to leave County. Abby is seen in her new home, looking after a group of children.

Personality

In Abby's first year in the ER, she is seen as shy and reserved, but with an unerring sense of empathy for her patients. Due to her years of nursing experience, she has developed an instinct for when a patient is ill.

As she furthers in her career as a doctor, she becomes more confident and assertive, going as far as to bust in between Clemente and Kovač while they were arguing to present her case.

Relationships

Romantic

Luka Kovač

Soon after taking the position in the ER, Abby begins a relationship with Dr. Luka Kovač. The beginning of their relationship is overshadowed when they are attacked by a mugger on their first date, whom Luka kills to protect them. She and Luka stay together for about a year, but their relationship becomes more strained after the arrival of Abby's mother, the increasing closeness between Abby and Carter, and a heated argument leads to their breaking up at the beginning of the eighth season. Despite an initial period of awkwardness and jealousy after their romance ends, Luka and Abby become good friends again in fairly short order.

In Season 12, Abby rekindles her relationship with Luka in the episode "The Human Shield". Initially, they decide to remain friends, but soon become lovers. Three weeks into their relationship, it is revealed that Abby is pregnant. She and Luka decide to keep the baby. Luka proposes to Abby while she is pregnant, but Abby is not comfortable with the idea and was discouraged because of her past problems, and later claims she 'doesn't need a white dress' to prove she loves him. Their baby, a son named Josip (after Luka's father) or Joe, for short (after Joe Frazier, the boxer whom Abby's long-disappeared father was a fan of) is born by emergency C-section at the beginning of season 13. Abby also has to have an emergency hysterectomy. Joe is premature and spends several weeks in the hospital's NICU, requiring surgery during his stay. Abby and Luka's relationship becomes strained during this period, but they appear much happier in later episodes, caring for their now healthy baby boy.

Throughout Season 13, Abby is shown growing into her role as Joe's mother, first by taking time off to be with her seriously ill baby, then by participating in classic maternal activities like Mommy and Baby classes, and walks in the park. She gradually reintroduces herself into the ER world. Mid-season tension develops between Abby and Luka, partly as the result of Luka's apparently paranoid behavior regarding Curtis Ames (Forest Whitaker), a disgruntled former patient who has sued Luka due to a stroke he suffered that cost him the use of his arm. Ames eventually breaks into Abby and Luka's apartment, and demands to see Luka. Abby tries to bargain with him, telling him that she is a recovering alcoholic, and recounting an occasion where she felt as if she had hit 'rock bottom'. Luka is taken hostage, threatened, and has his hand crushed by Ames, but survives his ordeal when Ames commits suicide.

In the next episode, an emotional Abby asks Luka to propose to her again. She says if they got through the shooting incident and the Curtis Ames nightmare, they can get through anything - he proposes and the couple gets engaged. Later Luka realises that Abby is hesitant about planning the wedding, so he decides to prepare a surprise wedding for her. At first, she has her doubts and fears but eventually she agrees and asks one of her best friends, Neela Rasgotra, to be her maid of honor.

At the end of the thirteenth season, Abby and Luka plan to honeymoon in Hawaii. However, the night before they are due to depart, Luka receives a phone call from Croatia informing him that his father is ill, so the honeymoon is put on hold until Luka can return from his urgent trip abroad. After Luka's departure, Abby along with the ER staff has a tough time with the stern and poised new ER Chief Kevin Moretti, who plans to mold the department into a more efficient and professional work environment. Moretti quickly tells Abby he is very impressed with her work. In Season 14, Abby is struggling to deal with Luka's absence, raise Joe and work at the ER; in "Gravity", Joe is injured after falling off a jungle gym at the playground and Abby ends up falling back into drinking at the episode's end. Her drinking problem continues to escalate, and Abby realizes how bad it is in "Blackout", when she shows up drunk to a party in honor of Pratt and Morris passing their boards. Abby finds herself waking up at 3 am in Moretti's apartment, realizing later (after sobering up at the airport when trying to find a flight to Croatia to see Luka) she slept with him.

When Luka arrives back to Chicago, he soon gets news that his father has died. Abby tells Luka to take Joe to Croatia for the funeral while she seeks help for her alcoholism. Upon her return to the ER, Abby faces the reality of her situation; she must tell her co-workers the truth about her disease. The only negative reaction at work is from Sam who displays disgust at Abby's weakness, but the two women mend fences when Sam tells Abby she was being harsh because of her own long history of being around alcoholics who refused to clean up their lives. Luka is angry that she cheated on him and put their son's life in danger, so he decides to move out of the apartment. He also decides to work at a long-term care facility, and soon has a change of heart about Abby's mistake. Abby and Luka embrace at the end of the 14th season, she tells him how much she loves him, and they kiss. At the conclusion of the 14th season, it would appear that Abby and Luka are willing to continue to work on their marriage.

At the beginning of the 15th season, it is revealed that Abby has sought a position at a hospital in Boston where she and Luka plan to move with their son for a new start. In the third episode, Abby's secret that she has accepted the job and resigned from County is slowly revealed to the others in the ER, although Abby asks them to keep it secret because she doesn't want it to be a big deal. Long-serving nurse Haleh Adams shows the departing Abby a closet wall where all the past doctors and employees have put their locker name tags. Abby then adds both hers and Luka's tags to the wall. Abby finally leaves, saying goodbye to most of the staff who are gathered in the ambulance bay. She is picked up by Luka who has arrived in his car with their son.

John Carter

Abby's next relationship is with Carter. Abby discovers Carter shooting up the painkiller Fentynal. She tells the doctors about it, and at their urging and with their help he enters a rehab program. Once he returns, he sees Abby at an AA meeting. She tells him that she is a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for five years. She agrees to become his AA sponsor. Abby and Carter develop a very strong friendship. This strains her relationship with Luka.

Several months later, Abby has a particularly horrible birthday and starts drinking again. When Carter catches her having a beer, he confronts her, and she tells him not to worry about her. When Mark Greene passes away, Carter seeks solace in Abby. She returns to her AA meetings, telling Carter she did it for him, and they become a couple. Abby continues drinking, and Carter compulsively tries to "fix" her.

At one point Carter is ready to propose to Abby at a special dinner he's arranged, but at the last minute he ends up putting the ring back in his pocket; although they discuss it briefly in a later episode, he never proposes again.

Their relationship is badly strained when Carter's grandmother dies, and Abby's brother, Eric, conclusively diagnosed with bipolar disorder, behaves disrespectfully, disrupts the funeral, and falls into the grave. Soon after that, Carter flies to the Congo and joins Luka, who is volunteering with Doctors Without Borders.

When Carter goes to Africa for the second time (presumably to recover the body of Luka, who, in a plot twist, has not actually died), he sends Abby a break-up letter, and their relationship finally ends. Just as with the end of Luka and Abby's relationship, Abby and Carter remain close friends after a period of distance between them.

Jake Scanlon

Abby briefly dates a medical student named Jake in season 11, but their relationship eventually fizzles when Abby does not respond positively to Jake's desires to stay in Chicago to be with her.

Friendships

Kerry Weaver

Kerry and Abby's friendship begins difficultly; when Abby returns as a nurse after Richard pulls his tuition for Abby's med school program, Kerry pushes her to become an ER nurse without consulting her. As time goes by, Kerry becomes one of Abby's biggest supporters. Abby reciprocates her support when she learns her then-boyfriend Luka Kovač plans to fire Kerry; she argues on Kerry's behalf and gives her a heartfelt speech when she comes back to clean out her locker.

Susan Lewis

Initially, Susan and Abby make little effort to reach out to each other as they both harbour interest in Carter. The two get to know the other more when they are stuck in sexual harassment class, and have been friendly ever since.

Neela Rasgotra

Trivia

  • Abby is a fan of Stevie Wonder.
  • She at first refused a nanny for her and Luka's son after a horrifying encounter with a group of nannies at a playground, where she learned they slept with their employers' husbands and stole their employer's clothes.

References

  1. Bloodline, 13x01


ER Characters
Characters Mark GreeneDoug RossSusan LewisJohn CarterCarol HathawayPeter BentonJeanie BouletKerry WeaverAnna Del AmicoElizabeth CordayLucy KnightLuka KovačAbby LockhartCleo FinchDave MalucciJing-Mei ChenMichael GallantGreg PrattNeela RasgotraSamantha TaggartRay BarnettArchie MorrisTony GatesSimon BrennerCate Banfield
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