These 'ER' Couples May Have Been Underrated — But They Had Some Of The Best Love Stories On The Show
On any given prime-time drama, it's expected that characters will pair up as often as they break apart. But throw in the high-stress setting of an emergency room, and the emotional dial gets cranked up to 11. Over the course of its 15-season run, ER had wild romances, one-time flings, and more than a few couplings that had fans raising eyebrows (Neela and Tony, anyone?). But there were also plenty of underrated ER couples that were pretty much soulmates, even if their relationships aren't the first ones folks think of when remembering County General Hospital.
The early draw of ER was its realism in depicting the pure chaos of an emergency room, with the constant flow of incoming patients and doctors thinking on their feet. Though in later years, things got a bit more dramatic (hospital security must've been pretty bad for everyone to get held hostage and shot up so frequently), the show kept fans following until the very end, and that's due in part to the many irresistible relationships we couldn't get enough of. Seriously, thanks to these romances, ER stuck the landing to stay in fans' hearts long after the show left the air. So, let's revisit some of the very best.
1. Luka Kovac / Abby Lockhart
Possibly the rockiest relationship ever to hit ER — their first date had Luka murdering a mugger who attacked them — Luka and Abby managed to ride the extreme ups and downs of alcoholism, long distances apart, and cheating. They ultimately pushed through despite the difficulties, and as Abby told Luka after surviving being held hostage by irate patient Ames, "I realized that if we could get through this we could probably get through anything."
2. Susan Lewis / Mark Greene
Their relationship really began just as it seemed to end, when Mark chased down Susan as she boarded a train to Phoenix, AZ at the start of Season 3 and the two shared how they felt. Fans had to wait five (!) seasons for Lewis to return, and when she did it was bittersweet, as she helped Greene come to terms with his terminal cancer diagnosis. Still, of all the never-quite-official relationships that flitted through ER, theirs had the most charm and heart.
3. Peter Benton / John Carter
Sometimes the best relationships aren't romantic. The mentor/mentee drama between newbie Carter and tough-guy Benton brought out the best in both; Carter grew into a great doctor, and Benton occasionally let his guard down, with a growing mutual respect that had plenty of fans declaring this the ultimate OTP of the entire series.
4. Ray Barnett / Neela Rasgotra
A roommate situation that blossomed into something more, the resident bad-boy of the ER and good girl dutifully following through on her promises eventually found love, but only after amputations, marraiges, and untimely deaths.
5. Kerry Weaver / Sandy Lopez
This relationship hit its rockiest moment when Sandy forced Kerry to come out in front of her coworkers, but the two were able to ultimately reconcile. Their time together may have had a few too many LGBTQ+ TV character cliches, but overall, it was a major deal for a lesbian couple to be shown on TV as loving and affectionate.
6. Jing-Mei Chen / Greg Pratt
Although their relationship didn't work out (romances borne of smallpox quarantines tend to wither, surprisingly enough), it was good while it lasted. Ultimately, Pratt wasn't serious enough for Chen, and Chen had enough drama in her life without getting into road-rage incidents because of Pratt. She returned home to China, but not before Pratt helped her close a chapter in her life that had wrecked their chances for love.
Sure, there were plenty of grand romances on ER that fans of the series might remember more than the pairings above, but these are the true loves that quietly burned in the background of one of television's most intense shows.