Love is a many splendored thing. It's also a battlefield, isn't always on time, and in the case of ER, is fraught with the same kind of dramatic turns and sudden emergencies the staff of County General Hospital came to expect as their day to day lives. So if you're feeling like your opinion on love is going into cardiac arrest, we've got the defib: here are 14 romantic ER quotes that'll make you believe in love again.
For every patient saved and shunt put in, there were makeups and breakups, hookups and revelations, rolling through every member of the staff. Most famously, Doug and Carol's on and off, and on, then off, then secretly on, then off, then on again romance took up the lion's share of fan attention, but subtler non-romances like Mark Greene and Susan's sustaining friendship also get their due. Sustaining a relationship is difficult, and when you throw in late nights, last-minute shift extensions, and looooooong hours, it's even harder. As such, most of the series' relationships hinged on couples realizing they were together out of convenience and weren't really compatible, or desperately trying to make it work in spite of their busy schedules. The biggest surprise in the emergency room was how often love did triumph.
1. Bad Boys Make You Feel So Good
Carol: What's wrong with me? Why can't I fall in love with a nice guy? Someone who loves me, who wants to be with me, who is honest and decent?
Doug: Mmm... And boring.
Carol: God, he was dull!
Season 1, Ep. 25
2. Different Types Of True Love
[on losing custody of her niece to her older sister]
Susan: I always knew you loved your children. I just never realized how much you fell in love with them. Little Susie was like a storybook, one you never wanted to put down. Every smile was some new page to be poured over, studied, touched, remembered. I loved my storybook. For the first time in a long time, I didn't feel alone.
Season 2, Ep. 21
Carol: I have to go find out.
Luka: Find out what?
Carol: If he's still in love with me... because... I'm still in love with him. I am. I've been in love with him since I was 23 years old. He's everything to me. He's my life. I feel complete when I'm with him and I feel empty when we're apart. He's the father of my children... and he's my soulmate.
Season 6, Ep. 21
4. Relationships Take Work
Benton: [to Cleo] Look, I know you might not want to hear this right now; I know it's been rough, with everything…between us…I'm not easy, I haven't been here for you, not the way you've been here for me. I've never worked at being with someone, I've never even wanted to, but I want to, with you.
Season 7, Ep. 11
5. A Message From Beyond
Michael Gallant: [On his video to Neela] So... hopefully you're never gonna see this thing. But if you are, then something went wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but certainly not according to plan. I love you, Neela. Marrying you was the happiest day of my life. You just, you make me strong. Now, I know you didn't want me to come back to Iraq. And if you're watching this, you owe me a big I told you so, but I did what I had to do. You're the most beautiful and kind person that I know. I just, want you to be happy. And just know that I'll always be with you. I want you to find somebody, get married, have a baby. Of course he won't be as fine as me, but you'll just gonna have to live with that. I love you Neela. Forever.
Season 12, Ep. 21
6. Love Is More Of A Marathon Than A Battlefield
Brenner: (to Lucy) You know, having someone that you really care about, who you really love, who's sick, that's a lot like running a marathon. Be sure to take one step at the time, one day at the time, but if you keep running and having faith that it'll happen, then one day, eventually, you finish the race.
Season 15, Ep. 19
7. Date Night Dare
Morris (to Claudia): This is totally random, but sometimes I imagine a night, in the future, a night where I would take you out, spend money, make a big deal about it, and it would end like this. (he places a friendship bracelet doubled up in the shape of a ring on Claudia's finger) When I ask you to marry me. What do you think?
Claudia: I think I'd say yes.
Season 15, Ep. 21
8. The Good Kind Of Secret
Carol: Can I have your attention everybody. Hello, can I have your attention please. I have an announcement to make. Can you turn down that music. Okay, I have kept this a secret far too long, Doug Ross and I are seeing each other again.... And we are very happy.
Season 4, Ep. 10
9. I Hate You So Much I Think I Love You
Neela (to Brenner): Why do you have to be so damn...
Brenner: What? Charming, sexy, kind of good at math?
Neela: Ok, yes, I did think about you the whole time you where away. You happy now?
Brenner: Yes. Why are you so mad?
Neela: Because I like you. I don't want to, but I do, and I... want to be with you. There, I said it. Just go ahead and gloat now.
Brenner: Gloat? Why would I gloat?
Neela: Because you predicted it. Go ahead. You know you want to.
Brenner: I'd rather do something else. (leans over and they kiss)
Season 15, Ep. 13
10. Blood Is Thicker Than Anything Else
Eleanor Carter: Your brother believed me when I told him he'd get better. It didn't matter where he was, how he felt, what the doctor said. I told him he'd get better. He died believing me.
Dr. John Carter: No. He was pretending for you. That was another one of our secrets. I was supposed to not let you be sad. I was supposed to make you forget. To make you happy. He made me promise to make you happy... I'm sorry, Mom. [they hug]
Eleanor Carter: I love you. Do you hear me? I love you.
Season 8, Ep. 14
11. Meet Sassy Beats Meet Cute Any Day
Dr. Michael Gallant: You know, earlier, in the ambulance bay, I was thinking of asking you out.
Neela Rasgotra: And I was thinking of saying yes.
Season 10, Ep. 17
12. A Father's Love Transcends Even The Teen Years
[to his sleeping daughter Rachel]
Dr. Mark Greene: I love you. Do I tell you that enough? I love you.
Season 6, Ep. 21
13. The Very Definition Of The Word
Doug Ross: Carol... I'm in love with her. I mean, I used to think I knew what love was. I cared about a lot of women, I just don't think I've ever really been in love. I think about her all the time. I don't like it when I'm not with her, I don't want to be with anyone else. That's love, isn't it?
Dr. Mark Greene: Yeah... That's love.
14. Parting Sometimes Really Is Sweet Sorrow
Dr. Mark Greene: [chasing after Lewis' train, shouting] Susan! Susan! Susan!
Dr. Susan Lewis: Mark!... My God, are you okay? You came to say goodbye?
Dr. Mark Greene: No... stay. I want you to stay.
Dr. Susan Lewis: But, Mark, I...
Dr. Mark Greene: I love you. And I'm stupid for not saying it before.
Dr. Susan Lewis: No, it's OK. I knew. In a way I knew.
Dr. Mark Greene: We belong together. Tell me you don't feel the same.
Dr. Susan Lewis: I'm sorry.
Dr. Mark Greene: We're right together.
Dr. Susan Lewis: Mark, you are my best friend in the whole world, I don't know how I'm gonna make it without you.
Dr. Mark Greene: Don't go!
Dr. Susan Lewis: I have to. I don't belong here any more, I have a new life, it's going in a different direction.
Dr. Mark Greene: Susan... I don't wanna lose you! [they kiss and Lewis boards the train]
Dr. Susan Lewis: I'll never forget you. [as the train pulls away] I *do* love you.
Dr. Mark Greene: [can't hear] What?
Dr. Susan Lewis: I love you!
Season 8, Ep. 3
What better bittersweet note to end on than ER's deepest more-than-friendship spanning the seasons.