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Season 14, Episode (13)
Air date January 17, 2008
Written by Lisa Zwerling
Directed by Stephen Cragg
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"Atonement" is the 13th episode of the fourteenth season of ER. It first aired on NBC on January 17 in 2008. It was written by Lisa Zwerling and directed by Stephen Cragg.


Julia tries to help a prison doctor seeking forgiveness after saving the son of a man he once executed, but the mother is unable to do so. Neela participates in the ortho v. surgery hockey match, but discovers the surgeons have a "ringer." Pratt confronts his issues with commitment when Betina wants to take their relationship to a new level.

Short summary

he ortho docs face off in a hockey game against the trauma docs, who have enlisted the aid of a ringer. Bettina wants to take her relationship with Pratt to the next level, but Pratt is hesitant. Gates and Sam disagree over how to treat a young patient. Julia's attempt to provide spiritual guidance to a prison doctor and help ease his conscience leaves her devastated. This episode costars Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad's Mike) in a major role.



  • Although listed in the opening credits, Maura Tierney does not appear in this episode.
  • This was the last episode completed before the WGA strike that started on November 5, 2007.
  • When the announcer tells who is playing against the ortho docs vs trauma docs, the announcer says the 'Mighty Docs' it is a play on words on the Mighty Ducks.


Wexler: Ever see bonobos at the zoo?

Dubenko(watching Skye strip down) What's a bonobo?

Wexler: Pig and a chimp. Famous in the primate world for their social-sexual behavior. 

Dubenko: How fascinating.

Wexler(joins him in the hot tub) In bonobo communities, sex is a way to say hello.

Dubenko: Oh, really? 

Wexler: Mhmm.

Dubenko: Hello. ________________________________

Pratt: You don't believe in monogamy?

Skye: No, I believe in monogamy. I just don't believe in the concept "forever."


Dr. Grossman(tossing a shirt right at Neela as she and Morris enter the room) Do you know how hard it was to find a jersey that small?

Morris: Hockey?

Neela: See? I'm fun!

Dr. Craig(tossing Neela a hockey stick) We're going to finish rounds and then head to the rink.

Morris: Oh, Neela, this is, this is so hot! Can you do a triple axel?

Dr. Ramsey: Dude, that's figure skating.

Dr. Grossman(under his breath, as they are walking away) You're friends with that guy?

Neela: Sort of...

Morris(very loudly) Oh, tell the truth! We slept together. (Neela looks back at him with a threatening look, and Morris adds, just as the automatic door closes) She gave me a rash!


Morris: You need to work on your presentation style.

Neela: Excuse me?

Morris: Yeah. You're too serious! Have a little fun. Take some joy in your work.

Neela: I'm fun.

Morris: No, you're English. I get it, I get it! It's hard to let your hair down. But you're an American now!


(Sam and Tony kiss)

Sam(smiling) I hate you.

Tony: I hate you too.


Dr. Truman: I don't want to go on. Can't you see? I'm old. I have cancer. I've had enough. The only thing that is holding me back is that I am afraid. I am afraid of what comes next.

Julia: What do you think that is?

Dr. Truman: No, you tell me. Is atonement even possible? What does God want from me?

Julia: I think it's up to each one of us to interpret what God wants.

Dr. Truman: So people can do anything? They can rape, murder, they can steal, all in the name of God, and it's okay?

Julia: No. That's not what I'm saying.

Dr. Truman(voice rising to a shout) Well, what are you saying? Because all I'm hearing is some new age, God is love, one size fits all crap!


Julia(to Pratt) You know, doubt, (pauses) it's uncomfortable. But certainly, (pauses for a long moment) I don't think it's real.


Pratt: Did it ever occur to you that maybe your destiny was to be on that pier this morning? That may be your life's path and all the choices that you've made led you right there?

Dr. Truman: Why? 

Pratt: To save that kid!

Dr. Truman: Why? Why would God do that? Why would he have me kill 17 people to save one?

Pratt: We may not understand it, but that little boy is alive because you were there! Now, whatever you need that to count for, it counts!

Dr. Truman(takes a long pause, then shakes his head and buries his face in his hands) It doesn't make sense. 

Pratt(places his hand gently on Dr. Truman's shoulder) It doesn't have to make sense. That's why it's called faith.


Gates: Hey, we're going to Ike Ryan's. You should come.

Sam: Should I?

Gates: Yeah! As long as, if I order you a beer you don't change it to vodka gimlet or something. (Sam rolls her eyes)

(later, at the bar)

Gates(to bartender) Will you get her a beer, please?

Bartender: You got it.

Sam(sits down, looks at Gates, and calls out to the bartender) Vodka gimlet, with a twist.


Julia: I think sometimes it's easier to feel guilty than forgiven.


Morris: Do you know the definition of a double blind study? Two ortho docs looking at a chest film!


Sam: You stole my keys and fixed my car?

Tony: I think the proper response would be, "Thank you, Tony."