From the September 4-10 issue of TV Guide
It’s been clear for several years that Chicago Hope — the other hospital series — has been seriously ailing. Now, rather than pull the plug, CBS has decided on some radical surgery. The show’s creator, David E. Kelley, took time off from writing Ally McBeal and The Practice to devise last season’s ender, in which half the hospital staff was axed. Shedding their scrubs: Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Stacy Edwards, Christine Lahti, Eric Stoltz and Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Taking up residence on the show will be three new surgeons (played by Carla Gugino, Lauren Holly and, in a rare TV turn, Barbara Hershey). A new nurse and lawyer might sign on later. Former series star Mandy Patinkin, who returned last May just in time for his character, Jeffrey Geiger, to order the hospital layoffs, will be seen in about half the episodes this season. Why come back after famously departing for personal reasons? "David called me to say Hope was struggling," Patinkin says. "When he promised he’d be a presence, I said yes in a heartbeat." (Kelley wrote the season-premiere episode, which airs September 23, and may write several more.)
Surviving last May’s cuts: Adam Arkin, Hector Elizondo, Rocky Carroll and Mark Harmon. "The hospital is once more a major character," says executive producer Michael Pressman. "The misdirection of last season was to leave the hospital and explore personal lives. A hospital show about breakthrough advances in medicine is ideal for [having] a long life."
Matt Says: We have every right to be skeptical, but we should also remember that this series once had some terrific qualities. With Geiger back, perhaps lightning will strike twice.