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Season 7, Episode 1
Air date October 12, 2000
Written by Jack Orman
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan
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"Homecoming" is the first episode of the seventh season of ER. It first aired on NBC on October 12, 2000. It was written by Jack Orman and directed by Jonathan Kaplan. It has Dr. Carter coming out rehab and makes a slow journey back to Chicago. The ER staff are dealing with the custodial strike and later are packed with participants from a high-school football game riot.


Carter struggles with his recovery as he completes his drug rehabilitation. Mark and Elizabeth learn that they got rash from poison ivy during their vacation.

Abby is forced to drop out of med school when she discovers that her ex-husband didn't pay her tuition.

The custodial strike causes problems in the ER while the ER staff members treat patients from the high-school football game riot.

NBC Description

IN SEASON OPENER, DR. CARTER BATTLES DRUG DEMONS WHILE EMERGENCY ROOM COPES WITH STRIKE AND RIOT: In the season premiere, Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) struggles to overcome his chemical dependency in a detox center while Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) returns from vacation to find the ER awash in garbage during a custodial strike and a riot during a high school football game further clogs the halls with the rival wounded.

Meanwhile, Greene finds unexpected complications when he treats the first victim, a likable injured player (guest star Wentworth Miller) and discovers that he must also minister to himself for a rash caused by poison ivy.

Abby (Maura Tierney) arrives back from another rotation and tries to help an elderly man (guest star James Callahan) whose wife is dead on arrival; later, she's furious when her ex-husband (guest star Mark Valley) jeopardizes her clerkship when he does not pay her tuition.

Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) grits his teeth when he interviews for an attending, a lucrative supervisory position with Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane). Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, Goran Visnjic, Michael Michele, Ming-Na and Erik Palladino also star.


John Carter spent 3 months at a rehab facility in Atlanta. He is discharged after having an exit interview with his mentor. He takes a plane back to Chicago. While on the plane, he shaves off his goatee and smokes in the bathroom. He almost gets fined for smoking but talks his way out of it. Once he landed, he'd expected Peter Benton to be waiting for him at the gate. Instead one of the hospital interns picks him up because Peter was called into a mass casualty. On the drive back to the hospital, the intern talks Carters ear off but Carter is barely paying attention. They arrive at the hospital but instead of going inside he just grabs his car and heads home.

The hospital is a mess due to a housekeeping and janitor strike. Elizabeth Corday and Mark Greene return from a camping trip. Unknowingly, Elizabeth touched poison ivy and it spread from her hands to Mark's private parts. She gave him a shot and some ointment for the pain. Mark had a football player patient who arrived after being hit by the opposing team. His x-rays came back normal but later he complained of having trouble breathing and chest pains when they removed his pads. Mark talks to the mom and tells her that her son might have a broken rib so they need to do another CT scan. The CT scan revealed that her son had internal bleeding around his heart. Mark says that they need to perform a simple procedure to drain the blood. The mom gives her consent but there are no available ORs upstairs so they have to do the procedure in the ER. Before he can get the needle in, the football player passes out. Mark accidentally pushed the needle in too far causing them to have to open the football player up. He goes and tells the Mom that her son had a heart attack and that they are doing everything they can to bring him back. It looks like they're going to lose him which starts a riot in the ER. Luckily, they are able to bring him back after shocking him a bunch of times.

Kerry Weaver asks Abby Lockhart why she isn't on her roster. Abby says that on her school schedule it says that she's supposed to be on ER rotation. Weaver attributes the mistake to them being backed up. Abby watches as Luka Kovač performs CPR on a lifeless woman just so that the husband doesn't blame himself for his wife's death. Abby tells Luka that what he did for that man was nice. She wonders how long they were married. Luka asks her if she's married. She says she was but her divorce was finalized the last month. He asks if Lockhart is her maiden name. She says no but that she's going to keep it because its the only good thing that came from the marriage. Weaver finds Abby and tells her that because she hasn't paid her tuition she can't work in the ER. That her clerkship was pulled and that she needs to wait 3 months until she can get another rotation. Weaver sends her home. Upset and angry, Abby goes to confront her ex-husband on a golf field. She tells him that she's going to hire a lawyer to get her tuition money from him as she throws his golf clubs out onto the field.

Jing-Mei Chen is seen having an ultrasound. She is pregnant and learns that she is going to have a baby boy. The OBGYN tells her that she needs to schedule some time off with Weaver. That she doesn't have much longer to hide this. Jing-Mei is distracted throughout the day lost in her own thoughts. While walking down the hall, she notices that the husband of Luka's patient isn't responsive. He overdosed on his wife's pills. She gives him medicine that should help counteract the pills but Jing-Mei isn't able to save him.

Peter is called into Romano's office with Elizabeth because he is trying to interview for an attending position at the hospital. Romano asks if he's applied anywhere else. He says he has but only as a backup. Romano gets called away so they postpone the meeting leaving a flustered Peter. Peter is working on a patient when Cleo Finch asks him if he sees anything wrong with the new batch of interns. How there isn't a black kid among them but Peter says its fine. Peter is trying to leave the hospital when Robert Romano tells him to walk with him. He goes to the bathroom and asks Peter about his loyalty. Romano says he has to be sure that Peter is going to be part of the team and that he expects his full commitment. Peter says, of course, he'll be part of the team. Romano tries to shake his hand but Peter tells him to dry them first. Peter is walking through the bay to leave but the protestors block his path so he turns around so that he can find a way around them. As he's walking back to the hospital, Weaver tells him he's not leaving anymore because there was a mass casualty. The bleachers at the football game had collapsed. Peter jumps into the fray but calls one of the med students to him. He has him go to the airport and pick up Carter.



  • Abby tells Luka her divorce became final the previous month (suggesting August) but in the Season 6 episode Such Sweet Sorrow (which is set in May), she told Malucci that her divorce became finalized that day.


[As Luka & Abby are working on a patient]
Malucci: She have a pulse? Whoa, she's dead.
Luka: I know.
Malucci: Like, blue dead.
Malik: Pulse ox 65.
Malucci: That's because she's dead.
Malucci (after noticing that Mark scratched his groin while meeting new med students): Dr. Greene, I have a question. Something wrong with the Australian boys?
Mark: Who?
Malucci: You're scratching "down under." Doesn't make a good first impression.
Romano (to Benton): Don't take this the wrong way Peter, but you have a real propensity to be a pain in the ass. (enters the men's bathroom) I'm not going to jump you, you homophobe.