George Clooney on ER: The Final Season

9:30pm Monday, December 14 on TV2

The wait for the most highly anticipated episode of ER: The Final Season, is over – tonight on TV2, George Clooney is back.

In the special episode, Clooney is reunited with his blue scrubs – and his old co-star Juliana Margulies (Carol Hathaway). The couple haven’t been seen in the hospital drama since 2000, when Hathaway left Chicago to live with Ross in Seattle, and it’s there that their story resumes. Neela (Parminder Nagra) and Sam (Linda Cardellini) arrive in the city to collect some organs from a recently deceased young man. However, the operation hits a snag when the man’s grandmother (Susan Sarandon, Shall We Dance) is reluctant to give her permission for organ donation, and it’s up to Ross and Hathaway to convince her otherwise.

Back in Chicago, and unknown to Ross, one of the patients in need of the man’s kidneys is John Carter (Noah Wyle). And, as he lies seriously ill in a hospital across town from County General, Carter is surprised to run into his former mentor, Dr Benton (Eriq La Salle).

When Clooney left the series in 1999, he told the crew he’d miss them, and added, “I might come back for some episodes”. Now, ten years later, that time has finally arrived, though Clooney has remained continually tight-lipped about his return to the show amid the fierce press speculation – and at one point even denied that it was happening at all.

For current cast member Parminder Nagra, the experience on the top-secret closed set was one of the highlights of her acting career. In a scene featuring Linda Cardellini, Nagra and Clooney, she reveals that the two women could barely hide their grins, forcing the director to ask them to tone down their performances. But, Nagra says, “It was an absolute pleasure. Finally, I can say I’ve done a scene with George Clooney”.

The episode also reunites another classic pairing from the show’s past – Eriq La Salle and Noah Wyle, as former mentor and protégé Benton and Carter. La Salle has been on hand to direct an episode of the final season, but this is the first time Dr Benton has been on screen since he briefly appeared at Mark Green’s funeral in season 11.

“There are a lot of things that I do think needed to be addressed,” says La Salle, on his character’s reunion with Carter. “There was something about the relationship that still needed to be explored. I don’t know that we’re going to finalise anything, but it’s nice that we have another chance to deal with certain things.”

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

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