|Season 8, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 27, 2001|
|Written by||Jack Orman|
|Directed by||Christopher Misiano|
"The Longer You Stay"
"Four Corners" is the first episode of the eighth season of ER. It first aired on NBC on September 27, 2001. It was written by Jack Orman & David Zabel and directed by Christopher Misiano. This is the special episode that focuses on the events of a single day that are presented through the eyes of four characters: Kerry Weaver, Peter Benton, John Carter, and Mark Greene.
In the aftermath of mass-murderer Derek Fossen's death, Greene prepares for an M&M conference with Elizabeth suspecting something is amiss. Weaver returns to the hospital from an impromptu vacation and fears that Romano has outed her as a lesbian.
As Benton helps Cleo cope with the side-effects of her HIV meds, he learns that Jackie and Walter's marriage is in trouble due to the death of their son Jesse and out to his grieving sister. Carter attends to his recently-deceased grandfather's funeral and also deals with his chilly parents as Abby comes to the reception to comfort him.
The staff in the ER is overwhelmed with patients who were in a brawl at a TV talk show with tragedy striking for one person associated with the talk show.
SEASON PREMIERE OFFERS DIFFERENT TAKES AS GREENE CONFRONTS FATAL DECISION; MARY MCDONNELL AND MICHAEL GROSS GUEST-STAR: The season premiere offers multiple points-of-view of the same events a la "Rashomon" as Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) ministers to a sobbing young woman (guest star Jessica Townsend) who was injured during a confrontational television talk show melee where she learned bitter family news, but Greene has to face his own demons when a board of inquiry investigates the case of his serial killer patient.
Meanwhile, a stoic Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) must attend a family funeral which reunites him with his detached rich parents (guest stars Mary McDonnell, "Dances with Wolves" and Michael Gross, "Family Ties").
Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) keeps a watchful eye on the recovering Cleo (Michael Michele) while he deals with his grieving sister's (guest star Khandi Alexander) attempts to cope with her teenaged son's death. A nervous Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) returns from her "African" sabbatical and warily waits to see how her colleagues react.
Alex Kingston, Goran Visjnic, Maura Tierney, Paul McCrane, Erik Palladino and Ming-Na also star.
After a holiday in Africa, Weaver returns to work, fearing that she has been outed as a lesbian, only to learn that nothing has happened. She also attends the M&M conference.
Benton later gets his car serviced and later in the ER, helps a group of patients who were involved in a brawl at a talk show. He later talks to Cleo who's having trouble with her meds. On Cleo's advice, Benton treats a twenty year old girl, Alice who was one of the victims at the talk and who also discovered that her boyfriend is her half-brother. Benton also informs Alice that she is pregnant with her half-brother's baby and that it's ten weeks which greatly devastates Alice. Benton later confronts Greene about Cleo's meds and later heads into the Trauma Room after learning that his patient, Alice is in there, having jumped from the fourth floor. Despite Benton's efforts, Alice is later pronounced dead much to the devastation of her mother, Mrs. Jenkins who breaks down in tears while screaming hysterically as Luka informs her. In the evening, Benton arrives to meet Jackie, his sister who reveals that she's going through a tough time following the death of her son, Jesse, Benton's nephew.
Carter attends his grandfather's funeral and later returns to County to meet a young patient who's waiting to be admitted to a ward. He then returns to the Carter house, meeting his parents with Abby later dropping by and revealing that Carter's young patient has been admitted. After a confrontation with his father, Carter and his grandmother, Gamma let go out for a drive in the Jag.
Greene undergoes a CT scan and arrives at the ER to help assist with the patients from the talk show. He discovers that Cleo is suffering from the side effects of taking her meds and he later meets Romano who wants to talk about the Fossen case although the meeting is interrupted by Romano's assistant arriving and informing Romano that an ER patient jumped from the fourth floor. Greene later attends the M&M conference and arrives to meet Mrs. Jenkin, the mother of Alice, the girl Benton treated earlier and who later committed suicide by jumping from a fourth-story window. At home, Greene and Corday later talk to each other.
- Kerry Weaver
- Peter Benton
- John Carter
- Mark Greene
- Elizabeth Corday
- Abby Lockhart
- Cleo Finch
- Luka Kovač
- Robert Romano
- Dave Malucci
- Jing-Mei Chen
- The 8th season premiere episode was originally scheduled to air on September 20, 2001, but it was delayed one week in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.