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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Season 3, Episode 3
Air date October 10, 1996
Written by Paul Manning
Jason Cahill
Directed by Perry Lang
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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the third episode of the third season of ER. It is the 50th episode overall. It first aired on October 10, 1996. It was written by Paul Manning & Jason Cahill and directed by Perry Lang. It has Peter Benton deciding to try pedatric surgery while County General gets more staffers from the closed Southside Hospital.


Peter decides to try pedatric surgery. County General Hospital gets more refugees from Southside Hospital, including doctors Maggie Doyle and Abby Keaton.

Mark is surprised that Susan invited him on a joint vacation in Hawaii. Jeanie tries to keep her HIV-positive status a secret when Weaver makes inquiries.

NBC Description

NEW STAFF ARRIVES: With the merging of now-defunct Southside and County General, the ER gains a new intern, Maggie Doyle (Jorjan Fox) and must contend with their new Chief of Staff, Anspaugh. The patient load also increases.

Weaver learns about Jeanie's HIV status; Benton transfers out of Anspaugh's cardiothoracic elective to work with a pediatric surgeon,

Dr. Abby Keaton (Glenne Headly). Carter's neighbor (Eileen Brennan), ignores Carter's advice and smokes while using her oxygen tank consequently blowing up their apartment building.

Short summary

Although the staff is happy that the hospital will remain open, that doesn't mean there aren't changes on the way. The new Chief of Staff, Dr. Donald Anspaugh, has his own ideas on increasing the ER's productivity and a new intern, Maggie Doyle, joins the team. Carter gets into trouble with Anspaugh when he lies about the seriousness of a patient's condition in order to book an operating room. His troubles continue when he learns his apartment building has burned down. Jeanie Boulet continues to struggle with her condition and Benton makes it clear he does not want her handling any of his cases. On a spur of the moment, Susan Lewis invites Mark Greene to go on holidays with her. Benton decides to pursue a fellowship in paediatric surgery.



  • Glenne Headly was heavily pregnant during her time on the show, necessitating camera angles that only showed her from the waist up or standing behind something, and requiring her to wear larger scrubs to cover her stomach.
  • This is the first appearance in the series of Jorja Fox (credited as Jorjan Fox) as Dr. Maggie Doyle.
  • The title refers to the United States' Department of Defense policy on gays in the military.