Jerry was the comic relief character in the series. The character was mostly seen playing jokes on other staff members, organizing parties and celebrations, trying to make money on the side via various get-rich-quick schemes and making humorous remarks. During the fourth season, Jerry accidentally blew up an ambulance with a grenade launcher; this led to a suspension from day turns by Dr. Kerry Weaver, thus Jerry was forced to attend at nights, but he would get his job back on days later that season.
Jerry was last seen at the end of season 5. To date, there has been no official explanation for the character's absence during that period. When asked by a fan, Benrubi offered "I think Jerry went on a spiritual quest around the world for three years. Found no evidence amongst the people. Only in the forests, mountains, the oceans... that is where divinity lies. Then he had to go back to County because rent was past due". Because of his great height and girth, Jerry is also used as a bouncer if patients or customers become aggressive, although he claims he avoids violence and generally has a gentle nature.
It was not until season 8 that Jerry was called back to work after members of the staff became sick. When asked about where he's been for the past three years, he replied that he had been in "retirement." During that time, he developed some rivalry with fellow desk clerk Frank Martin, to the point that they were involved in a fight in which they crashed on Dr. Chen. Jerry and Frank received a warning from Dr. Weaver, and since then Jerry and Frank seemed to be getting along better, and later became friends, as shown when Frank suffered a heart attack, a event that really concerned Jerry. Equally, Frank was deeply affected when Jerry was shot in the 12th-season finale.
Jerry's mother is introduced in the first episode of season 13, when her son was treated by some members of the staff after he was shot by Samantha Taggart's ex-boyfriend Steve Curtis, who went on a rampage in the emergency room in season 12's finale. During the assault, Jerry was shot while protecting a boy. Jerry's mother reveals to Dr. Archie Morris that she applied to Harvard four times for him, but he was never able to make it into college, and complains about Jerry's paycheck. Jerry ultimately survives the surgery, but was never seen again in the ER. In an episode during the 14th season, Frank remarks that Jerry officially quit and is now "slinging beers in Alaska," a reference to Benrubi's character Ben Tomasson in the ABC television series Men in Trees.
The character of Jerry's mother was played by Seinfeld's Estelle Harris in "Bloodline", but she also appeared in a long shot in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", berating him for using her trashcans to trap a kangaroo on the loose. The episode was also one of the last episodes to show Jerry smoking a cigar.
In the Season 15 episode "The High Holiday", Jerry returns to Chicago as he got tired of Alaska, and was first amicably welcomed back by Frank and Morris. Although he has not had any luck getting a job, he is presumably re-hired at County General because Dr. Banfield needs someone to cover for Frank, who is under the influence of marijuana-laced brownies. As of "Dream Runner", it is assumed that he got his old desk clerk job back.
Jerry is also a Universal Life Church Minister, and officiated Neela Rasgotra and Michael Gallant's wedding in the episode "I Do". His politics seemed too progressive, often clashing with Frank's law and order conservatism.
Jerry is single. and there was no mention of him being married or having a girlfriend, although at the beginning of "The Gallant Hero & The Tragic Victor", he turns down Dr. Clemente's offer of a beer because he's meeting a "lady friend." However, in "The Beginning of the End", Jerry, free of inhibition under the influence of a mushroom-derived toxin (from a love potion made by a mushroom expert, Teddy, who is a patient), makes a pass at a returning Dr. John Carter - telling him "Dr. Carter, call me."
In the episode, "Blame It On The Rain", it is revealed that Jerry is deathly afraid of thunderstorms—mainly because he has been hit by lightning on several previous occasions, a fact that everyone in the ER knows but Weaver, who sent him out in a storm to get a gift for her son's birthday. He returns several hours later, dazed and holding a scorched paper bag. Frank asks him, "You got hit by lightning again, didn't you?" to which he only nods. At first Weaver does not believe him, but Jerry finally manages to get out the words, "Here's your change," then hands her a bunch of coins that have been fused together. Needless to say, she's thoroughly convinced.
In a 12th-season episode, it is revealed that Jerry is also fluent in American Sign Language, when he is asked to interpret for a boy who was trying to bring a drugged girl to the ER and wound up being assaulted due to a misinterpretation by the police.
Up until the third season, Jerry was a cigar smoker (as was Benrubi himself, although it is not known if he still smokes), but after the episode "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the character was not seen smoking again.
Jerry's age has never been given on the show, although it is presumed that he is the same age as Benrubi himself (in his late 30s), although when he returned after three seasons, Jerry's hair and goatee are gray, so it is possible he could be older.