Dr. Luka Kovač is a fictional character portrayed by Croatian-born actor Goran Višnjić. Visnjic's character was added to the cast at the beginning of Season 6 (1999) following the mid-season 5 departure of leading character Doug Ross, played by George Clooney.
Luka is an emergency room attending physician originally from Croatia. He speaks of having a joyful, though financially modest, childhood, with at least one brother, and he keeps in contact with his father, who is an amateur painter and engineer on a Zagreb train line. Luka served in the Croatian Army, and saw combat. He was a family man, with a wife (Danijela), son (Marko), and daughter (Jasna). Jasna was his older child, and from a birthday photo we know she was at least four.
When the Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995) broke out, Luka was at first hesitant to move away, as he wanted to finish his internship. He ended up waiting too long, and it became unsafe to leave. While he was out one morning his apartment building was hit by a mortar shell. His infant son died instantly. His wife and daughter died a few hours later. He carries guilt from the incident because in choosing to stay and perform CPR on his daughter, his wife bled to death, all of which was revealed in the Season 7 episode, The Crossing.
Luka later moved to the United States of America some time after that for a fresh start and later began working as a physician at County General ER but evidence he suffered from both survivor's guilt and PTSD soon emerged, largely in terms of his personal relationships.
Luka started his career at County General as a locum tenens physician in episode 6.01, "Leave It To Weaver". He assisted the ER after a mass casualty when a vehicle crashed through a coffee shop. Luka would assist in more cases up until 6.03, "Greene with Envy", when Kerry Weaver fired him after he goaded a patient's husband into punching him to prove that the husband was an abuser. He would return, and was offered a full-time attending physician after Gabriel Lawrence was let go due to his growing Alzheimer's. From there Luka would assist in a number of cases, including helping save John Carter after he was stabbed by a patient in "All In The Family".
- Carol Hathaway
- Samantha Taggart (Girlfriend)
- Abby Lockhart (Wife)
- Gillian (Africa)
While Luka and Carol's relationship was largely platonic, they did share a kiss and Carol reminded Luka of his late wife. Carol eventually left Luka, and County General, behind after she realized that Doug Ross was her true soulmate.
Luka and Abby met when she was still a nurse, at first they were just friends, then they dated but Abby broke up with him. After the break up, Luka started sleeping around and eventually traveled to Africa where he met Gillian. After returning from Africa, Luka started dating nurse Samantha Taggart (a single mother with a son named Alex), for a short period of time they were living together. Samantha Taggart dumped Luka after dramatic events when her son ran off to see with his criminal dad, after that Dr. Kovac was alone for a while. One day Luka and Abby started sleeping together again, then went back to dating. They were a happy couple, Abby got pregnant and Luka proposed to her but she didn't gave him an answer. A shooting in the hospital caused early labor, Abby gave birth to Josip, and finally a few months after she and Kovac got married.