It's hard out there for an E.R. character. The medical drama's 15-season run included a total of 331 episodes, all full to the brim with great characters. But, while even non-E.R. fans will recognize Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney) or Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle), there are plenty of tragically underrated E.R. characters just waiting for their moment in the spotlight. It's true, not everyone can be Clooney, by far the most successful and recognizable E.R. alumnus, but that doesn't mean that other actors and their characters should get overlooked. These 11 most underrated E.R. characters deserve your love, too.
The people on this list aren't here because fans don't remember them, or that they never got their moment to shine, it's just that they never quite got to the level of fame as, say, a Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) or a Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane). But, hey, not ever character can get their arm chopped off by a helicopter propeller, only to die years later when a helicopter actively falls from the sky and crushes them. Memorable deaths are often the way some E.R. characters are remembered, but others have to rely on their charm. Granted, in over 300 episodes, there have been plenty of underrated characters on E.R., and it would be impossible to list them all. These 11 are simply the best of the best.
1. Michael Gallant
Michael Gallant, as played by Sharif Atkins, was on E.R. for almost five years, first as an adorably by-the-book med student, and later as a studly doctor. His nice guy personality kept him from ever becoming a heartthrob in the same vein as, say, E.R.'s resident bad boy, Dr. Ross, but looking back, fans will see just how swoon-worthy he really was.
2. Jing-Mei Chen
Dr. Chen, played by Ming-Na Wen, dominated E.R. for a good five seasons, but she never quite got the credit she deserved. It's likely because she was never over-the-top, always kept a level head, and was damn good at her job. Over the years, Dr. Chen provided some of the most subtle and interesting storylines, including giving up her baby for adoption and caring for her dying father.
3. Jeanie Boulet
Jeanie Boulet, played by Gloria Reuben, was another sneaky scene stealer. And as an HIV positive doctor, Jeanie did not get nearly enough credit as a groundbreaking character on television.
4. Mobalage Ikabo
Before Djimond Honsou was a two-time Oscar nominated actor, he had a guest arc on E.R. as Mobalage Ikabo, a janitor who developed a friendship with Dr. Greene in Season 5. As a society, we do not talk about this stunning performance nearly enough.
5. Cynthia Hooper
Before she was saving New York City as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay played the sweet, if slightly stalker-ish Cynthia Hooper on E.R. Sure, she was a pretty clingy girlfriend, but she also helped Dr. Greene get past his womanizing phase and opened him up to more emotions. Honestly, she deserved better.
6. Lucy Knight
Adorably enthusiastic med student Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) is probably best remembered for her dramatic death (one of the best ever in E.R. history), but she should also be remembered as one half of E.R.'s most exciting love-story-that-never-was with her mentor and supervisor, Dr. Carter.
7. Chuny Marquez
Really, all of the nurses who stuck around for almost the entire run of E.R. deserve more love, but Chuny Marquez (Laura Cerón) stands out as the nurse who always had a good comeback, funny comment, or supportive smile. She also had a few sexy relationships with docs that kept everyone in the emergency room on their toes.
8. Maggie Wyczenski
Yes, in case you forgot, Sally Field guest starred in a handful of E.R. episodes as Abby's mom, Maggie Wyczenski. Maggie was truly an amazing character. She had bipolar disorder and was always desperately trying to connect with her daughter. Field, as usual, always brought the laughs and the tears.
9. Anna Del Amico
Anna Del Amico (Maria Bello) was only on one full season of E.R., so she's not necessarily the first person you think of when you think of the show. That said, she certainly made an impression. As Carter's BFF and sort of crush, she was smart, fun, and just a great addition to the cast.
10. David Morgenstern
David Morgenstern, played by William H. Macy, appeared in the early seasons of E.R. as a veteran surgeon. His friendly demeanor, mostly due to Macy's innate charm, was a joy to watch, as was his eventual dramatic breakdown and retirement.
11. Jake Scanlon
Jake Scanlon (Eion Bailey) only appeared in 10 episodes of E.R., which is a shame. A med student who got cuddly with Abby, Jake had the potential to be a major heartthrob for the show. It's too bad that never happened, but at least we can all look back now and give him the appreciation he (and his scruff) deserved.
If nothing else, all of these characters deserve to have been stars of some highly popular fan fiction.