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"Great Expectations"
Season 6, Episode 8
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Air date November 25, 1999
Written by Jack Orman
Directed by Christopher Misiano
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"Great Expectations" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of ER. It first aired on NBC on November 25, 1999. It was written by Jack Orman and directed by Christopher Misiano. It has Carol Hathaway going into labor complications while on an El train on Thanksgiving and the ER staff helps her to give birth to her twin daughters, Tess and Kate. This is also the first appearance of Maura Tierney as O.B. nurse Abby Lockhart as she helps Carol on her delivery.


Carol suffers labor complications on the El train and Luka carries her to the ER to help her delivery. With help from her ER colleagues and OB nurse Abby Lockhart, Carol gave birth to her twin daughters Tess and Kate.

Elizabeth has an interesting Thanksgiving with Mark's father and daughter as Mark went out to help Carol's delivery. Malucci helps Carter diagnosing a patient with a very rare disease and reveals that he went to medical school in Grenada.

NBC Description

A HARROWING THANKSGIVING TO REMEMBER FOR PREGNANT HATHAWAY; MAURA TIERNEY ('NEWSRADIO') GUEST-STARS: A snowy Thanksgiving turns chaotic for Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) when she suddenly goes into labor on the subway and fights just to get to the ER where the real harrowing battle begins to save her premature twins with the help of an obstetrics nurse (guest star Maura Tierney, "NewsRadio").

At the same time, Hathaway's Lamaze mate, Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) is unaware of her plight as he brings his precocious daughter (guest star Yvonne Zima) and his cantankerous visiting dad (guest star John Cullum) over to Dr. Corday's (Alex Kingston) for a traditionally dysfunctional holiday dinner.

When Greene is notified of Hathaway's situation, he leaves poor Corday with his two relatives who each encounter a personal crisis.

Dr. Malucci (Erik Palladino) impresses Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) with his knowledge of a rare affliction. Laura Innes, Kellie Martin, Paul McCrane, Goran Visnjic and Michael Michele also star.

Short summary

Carol goes into labor on the El train. Luka happens upon her and helps her to the ER. She delivers one twin there and is then taken up to Maternity, where she is cared for by OB nurse Abby Lockhart. Dr. Coburn delivers the second twin by emergency c-section. Mark abandons his Thanksgiving dinner at Elizabeth's to be Carol's birthing coach, leaving Elizabeth with his grumpy father and a rather sullen Rachel, who unexpectedly experiences her first menses. In the ER, Luka cares for an old woman who is dying on what happens to be her birthday. Dr. Dave helps Carter with a diagnosis of a very rare disease, and reveals that he went to medical school in Grenada.



  • Although listed in the opening credits, Eriq La Salle, Kellie Martin and Paul McCrane didn't appear in this episode.
  • First appearance in the series by Maura Tierney, playing Abby Lockhart. She would become a series regular four episodes later.
  • Carol's daughter, Kate, is named after Mark's mother, whose middle name was Katherine.


Abby Lockhart: How you feeling?

Carol Hathaway: I'm in love with the epidural man.

Abby Lockhart: Some people like to call him an anesthesiologist.

Carol Hathaway: Oh, he will always be the epidural man to me.


Dr. Luka Kovac: [Carol's water has broken on the train] Your contractions are too close together! You are in active labor!

Carol Hathaway: [Gives Luka an incredulous look] Gee, you think?


[about Elizabeth]

Rachel Greene: Is she pretty?

Dr. Mark Greene: Yes, she's pretty.

Rachel Greene: Prettier than Cynthia?

Dr. Mark Greene: Different kind of pretty.

David Greene: Beauty is overrated.

Dr. Mark Greene: I said she's pretty. Jeez.


Dr. Elizabeth Corday: The British were fighting the Germans 3 years before the Americans. Perhaps they were just being cautious.

David Greene: That would be one word for them.

Dr. Elizabeth Corday: I suppose "tea-loving" would be another.

Rachel Greene: That's two words!

Dr. Elizabeth Corday: It's a hyphenate, actually!


[Carol has had the first of her twins]

Dr. Mark Greene: One down, one to go.

Carol Hathaway: Uh-uh. I quit.


Dr. Elizabeth Corday: Do you know what time it is?

David Greene: Yeah, time my 10-year-old granddaughter started her period!


[Carol has just had twins]

Dr. Mark Greene: You know, they both came out so good, you oughta think about doing it again.

Carol Hathaway: [sarcastically] Yeah, I'm gonna get right on that.