The finale of “ER” season 14 literally ended in a bang. An ambulance carrying patient Art Masterson (played by Steve Buscemi) is idling at a stop light when it suddenly blows up. It was a predictable ending because Art was hiding from the mob and had already survived an attempt on his life in the ER. The cliffhanger is who was in the ambulance with Mr. Masterson. Before the ambulance explodes Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) and Sam (Linda Cardellini) are deciding who should ride with Art to make sure he gets to his destination safely. Then, after Abby (Maura Tierney) and Luka (Goran Visnjic) decide to get back together and leave Chicago forever, we watch Abby walk behind and to the side of the doomed vehicle. When it does go up in flames we’re left wondering who it was that was killed and/or mortally wounded. And any fans left wondering about the last season, the cliffhanger proves that Season 14 isn’t it.
Unfortunately, it’s been confirmed that next season, the 15th, will definitely be the last for the history making drama. Producers are expecting to roll out 19 new episodes of “ER”, with the final episode airing in mid-February. Maura Tierney will only return for 2 more episodes of the loved, but struggling, Abby Lockhart. Her on-screen husband most likely will not return at all. Other favored cast members aren’t telling what their characters are up to and we’re left to wonder about whoever was unlucky enough to be riding in that ambulance.
County General is going to get a new physician next fall, though. Angela Bassett, the Oscar-nominated actress who played Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, will be joining the cast as a doctor who’s spent the last year helping victims of the Indonesian Tsunami. Her character is likely to bring some baggage back to the States with her and most definitely will shake up the ER.
Also joining the cast next season- or “rejoining” as the case may be – is Noah Wiley. He’ll be back in his role as Dr. Carter for just the last four episodes. Noah told Dave Walker of the Times-Picayune that he owes the show four more episodes from his contract and that the producers can use him however he wants. He also noted that Eriq LaSalle and George Clooney definitely wouldn’t be returning to the long-running TV show. He also stated that he’s “very excited” to be returning to his own haunt, though he’s unsure of which members of the “ER” family are still there.
“ER” producers are hoping to bring back some old, familiar faces to give the program a proper ‘good-bye’. They’d like to do some flashback scenes where characters remember shows of the past. They want to pay homage to the past, but also move forward, leaving County General in better shape than they found it. Even without the return of former cast members who’ve since made it to the big-time, the final season of “ER” is sure to leave us all hanging on the edge of our seats as we wait to see what’s in store.