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"Dear Abby"
Season 10, Episode 3
Air date October 9, 2003
Written by R. Scott Gemmill
Directed by Christopher Chulack
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Dear Abby is the third episode of the 10th season of "E.R." The episode aired on October 9, 2003.


New residents arrive at County, including 2nd year Nick "Coop" Cooper. Coop talks back to Romano and is nearly killed when Neela gives him too much epi during an asthma attack.

Pratt and Chen's dinner is invaded by her parents. Chen later dumps him when he states his feelings about their relationship.

Romano's hospital insurance doesn't cover a good prosthetic arm. Instead, he gets a hook. He has been trying to cut the budget by giving the nurses fewer shifts and filling the rest with temps. Most of the nurses stage a walkout and receive 90-day suspensions as a result.

Abby and Lewis treat a girl whose parents don't want to tell her that she's dying. Fast Eddie and Corday do it in a car.

Luka arrives at County and Gillian gives Abby her letter from Carter in which he dumps her. Frank picks it up off the ground from next to a trash can and soon everybody knows about it.

NBC Description

ALL IN ONE DAY, BESIEGED ABBY GETS A LETTER, A LECTURE -- AND A LESSON IN EXASPERATION: Abby's (Maura Tierney) frustrating day gets worse when she gets a special "Dear John" letter from Dr. Carter in the Congo while her fellow nurses threaten a walkout and her opinions are ignored especially when she is chastised as she seeks to inform a teenaged girl (guest star Stephi Lineburg), with failing lungs and heart that her life is in grave danger.

Elsewhere, Dr. Romano's (Paul McCrane) mood gets nastier when he is fitted with an antiquated hook for his missing arm and he takes out his rage by firing several much-needed nurses.

In addition, three new second-year residents join the staff including the self-assured Dr. "Coop" (guest star Glenn Howerton).

Dr. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) uneasily meets Dr. Chen's (Ming-Na) old-fashioned parents for dinner and the playful Dr. Dorset (guest star Bruno Campos) makes an impression with his style and substantial skills.

Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, Sherry Stringfield, Sharif Atkins, Goran Visnjic and Parminder Nagra also star.


  • This is Archie Morris' first appearance.
  • This is Lydia Wright's last appearance until the finale.
  • At the 21:31 mark, the Doctor that Dr. Lewis is talking with is wearing Jeanie Boulet's ID badge.


Abby: Congratulations, you just saved your first resident.
Romano: I've got two letters for the insurance company: "F" and "U"!
Abby: Patients are signed in and vitalized by whoever's working the 'cage'.
Coop: Cage?
Abby: Yeah, like a shark cage. You can see them out there circling around, but they can't get at you.