Chicago Hope (TV Series 1994–2000) Poster


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Had Its Good and Bad Eras
tresjolie91 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
During its 6 season run, Chicago Hope had several inceptions, which different viewers either like or dislike.

When the show first started out, during the David E. Kelly/Jeffery Geiger era, it was pretty good. It had a dynamic cast, and exciting characters. It primarily dealt with issues of law, and the life of the Jeffery Geiger, a troubled cardiologist, whose wife had drowned his baby during a schizophrenic episode. The most fascinating aspect of the show was "will Jeffery Geiger go crazy.'

During the show's second season, David E. Kelly decided to leave. The lawyer, Alan Birch was killed off, and Jeffery Geiger took a `leave of absence.' At this point, many of the David E. Kelly and Mandy Patinkin fans decided to give up, saying that the show was no longer as good. With the loss of Alan Birch, the `law aspect' of the show disappeared. However others prefer the `post DEK period.' The show became more of an ensemble, with a great mix of characters. There was quiet Aaron Shutt, who was a good supporting character, feminist Kate Austin, tough Billy Kronk (who ended up in a relationship with his polar opposite, Diane Grad), lothario Danny Nyland and fatherly Philip Watters. Later on Jack McNeil, an orthopedist with a gambling addiction, and Rocky Caroll, a no nonsense doctor were added. This mix of characters did a good job carrying the show for the next two seasons. These seasons were some of the best television I have ever seen. They included storylines involving Danny Nyland and Billy Kronk helping out an inner city youth `doctor.' Kate Austin dealing with her difficult ex husband, and precocious daughter.

But, by the fourth season, things began to crumble. Danny Nyland (my favorite character), was written out, without a clear reason. Diane and Billy became engaged, married and then parents within one season! Because of this Billy began to loose the edge that made his character interesting. But the biggest nail in the coffin was the fact that Aaron's character had changed overnight! After an aneurysm, he went from being a neurosurgeon, to a psychiatrist. The show attempted to show the more `emotional' side of Aaron, but we had already seen that various times beforehand. Instead of developing the character, they changed him overnight into a `caring sensitive guys,' who attempts to help boys whose brothers had committed suicide. To replace Aaron they added a new neurosurgeon, Lisa Catera (named after a car commercial 'lease a catera). While the character would not have been that bad had they added her a season or two beforehand, the fact that she was `Aaron's replacement' and that she was getting too many storylines, gave the audience the impression that she was being shoved down our throats. Because of this, she became one of the shows most loathed characters.

By the fifth season, things began to deteriorate completely. Philip Watters was turned from a fatherly figure, into a man whose regretted having an affair with his wife. This was horrible. Two seasons beforehand he revealed to Billy Kronk, that he woke up with and went to bed with the same women for 30 years, and in the episode after Alan's death, felt guilty about starting a relationship with another women. They did a lame storyline with Kate Austin going into space...and added yet ANOTHER annoying character played by Eric Stoltz, who was diagnosing people using his 6th sense. By this point, many frustrated fans began quitting. It clearly should have been the end of the show, but for some odd reason, CBS gave it `a second chance.' In the final episode of that season, they suddenly fired four major characters, Kate Austin, Billy Kronk, Dennis Hancock, and Lisa Catera. As a longtime fan of the show, I would have preferred seeing what happened to them, despite their deterioration 

The sixth season was an attempt to bring the show back to its roots. While Jeffery Geiger was brought back, he wasn't the same character he was first season. He lost his `will he lose it edge.' He became the `evil one' who fired the rest of the cast. In addition to Geiger, they had three new female doctors running around the hospital. It was very difficult to bond to these characters, especially in the 'absence' of the ones from the previous season. David E. Kelly, was supposed to stay at the helm, but abandoned the show, prompting Jeffery Geiger, to leave the show quickly, this time to take care of his daughter (who had been aged into an annoying 6 year old, a stark contrast to Kate Austin's daughter). By the time the show was done, it had deteriorated once again. In the final episodes of the show, the hospital was purchased by an eccentric millionaire played by James Garner. The last episode was a sad reminder of what the show had become. It dealt with a paralyzed millionaire(who did something in computers) making a pair of `fake hands' so he could move again.
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Life and times of doctors at Chicago Hope Hospital.
julia_rakowski21 March 2004
Chicago hope is one of the best medical dramas, and television shows in general, I have ever seen. The cast is amazing and includes some of Hollywood's top names. The show follows the lives of numerous doctors through their daily work and personal routines. The show tends to be very dramatic, but it has comedic elements. Each character has their own way of dealing with personal loss and trauma, which is a very common element in Chicago Hope. The characters are all different, with diverse personalities and temperaments. Though there is some jargon, it is mostly explained clearly and easy to follow. I find myself relating to some of the characters and their problems. The episodes are very touching and realistic. The on screen chemistry between the characters is incredible. A glimpse into the everyday life of a typical inner city hospital physician. Two thumbs way up!
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Lacking Dr Gieger
ewknowle4 February 1999
Chicago Hope is full of good actors and dialogue, Hector Elizondo is a notable example. And is fresh in the fact that it has wonderfully light hearted moments which intense programs such as ER lack.

I have two major problems with the show recently, in that it is severely lacking two characters which I believe made it the best series on television rather just the good series it is now.

1) Peter Mchnicol as the eel was a wonderful character and he is missed (although its good to see him on Ally Mcbeal) 2) The major flaw in the series though is that Mandy Patinkin is not there. He is such a wonderfully sincere, intense, and brilliantly funny actor that he gave the series a depth not possible without him. For god's sake bring him back.

Good series, can only be brilliant again with Dr Gieger back at the operating table.
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Hospital life
Petri Pelkonen19 September 2000
Chicago Hope is a hospital show with amazing cast.Hector Elizondo plays the boss Dr. Phillip Watters.Other doctors include Dr. Aaron Shutt (Alan Arkin), Dr. Jack McNeil (Mark Harmon), Dr. Keith Wilkes (Rocky Carroll) and so on.Mandy Patinkin plays Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, who was gone for a few years but came back in 1999.He fired a few doctors, like Dr. Kathryn Austin (Christine Lahti) and Dr. Robert Yeats (Eric Stoltz).They were replaced by some others, like Dr. Gina Simon (Carla Cugino) and Dr. Jeremy Hanlon (Lauren Holly).To be honest I kind of miss the old characters but these new ones are doing a nice job.Chicago Hope is a great TV show, that is often very touching.It's amazing to watch these people saving lives, but it's sad when they don't succeed in it.Watch Chicago Hope if you want to see TV drama at it's best.
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a classic
oego6 October 2002
Chicago hope is an absolute classic. David E Kelley triumphed again with this one. Although even I must admit the show grew a little tiresome at the end of its' run, it was still streets ahead of the opposition. The first few years, particularly 94,95, and 96 were just amazing eps', with great true to life (mostly!), well-rounded and heartfelt characters like the eel, camille , schutt and geiger, keeping me tuning in week after week. An awesome show, with such amazingly talented writers and actors! Although not always action packed, the shows deep and subtle storylines would get you hooked, whether 11 (like I was) or 111! I used to love this show so much that i used to beg permission to stay up until 10.30 on a school nite to watch this, and i am sure there were many others just like me! If there are repeats on, please catch them if you can, it will be well worth it! Oh and look out for cameos' by the likes of Julia Styles, Ryan Phillipe, Mena Suvari etc.
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Lahti didn't replace Patinkin
amyhpete15 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know where people got the impression that Lahti came on after Patinkin left the first time. They were on the show together, quite memorably in my opinion. Lahti was either part of the original cast or added very shortly after it began. And no one is talking about Tommy Wilmette, the ex-husband. He was evil-brilliant. My favorite episode (which I still have on VHS in a packing box somewhere) was when an argument broke out between Geiger and Willmette in the corridor.

They were facing each other, sort of countering each other's aggression by moving in a circle, and the camera circled with them, giving us a view of both of them, and they were talking over each other at exactly the same decibel, yet you could sort of understand what each was saying. Finally Wilmette prevailed, raising his voice. Geiger says, "That was fun. I'd go two for three, but I have surgery," turned around and left. It was classic! And while I agree it was a mistake to write out Peter MacNichol's character, the lawyer, his death was some of the best dramatic writing I've ever seen in television. He was shot by a patient, and as he was struggling to speak, he said, "You can take steps to make sure the hospital assumes no liability for this..." the gathered cast then cheers and says, "He's going to be just fine!" which as it turns out he wasn't, but he was in every cell of his body a lawyer until the end.

Then there was the time Camille Schut had, inexplicably, slept with Billy Cronk. The next day she encountered Aaron at a funeral for their mutual longtime rabbi. "You smell like sex," he told her as they were standing around the burial site. "Excuse me," she says. "You smell like sex," he replies, "I've had sex with you and I know that you smell like sex." I thought Diane Grad and Billy Cronk were a great storyline - until they got married. I liked Aaron Schut and his struggle after his stroke. It gave him a chance to really explore his anger. Prior to that, the extent of his emotional range was whining to Hector Elizondo, "Why is everyone else more important than me?" Most of the time I think crossover shows are stupid, but there was one with Picket Fences where reference was made to Cook County General (the hospital portrayed on ER) and Hector Elizondo said, "We never talk about that other hospital." Anyway, Christine Lahti was on with Patinkin during his original stint with the show. His torment of her and his ardent dislike for Tommy WIlmette was one of the points of watching. It was far and above ER in terms of quality and writing. But it did go downhill in the last two seasons.
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Chicago Hope
Coxer9922 March 1999
Started off great with Mandy Patinkin in the lead, but when he left and Christine Lahti stepped in, the quality got lost. While Hector Elizondo still gives great performances episode after episode, the show doesn't have its original punch. Peter MacNicol and E.G. Marshall were wonderful members of the original cast while Berg annoys incessantly. Harmon isn't really in the show much; he just sticks his head in once and a while. One more year and it'll be gone.
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The best medical series on TV
filmsfan3816 March 2004
I used to watch this show every week till it ended, though it may be in syndication and on my TV at some late hour. I always watched the show every week and I particularly liked the attractive Adam Arkin, and Nurse Camille (Roxanne Hart) as his wife. One episode about both of them getting back together was very romantic and touching. Mandy Patinkin was good as the sometimes temperamental Dr.Geiger. Also I liked Hector Elizondo as Dr. Watters, the head of the hospital. I didn't care much for Christine Lahti. In my view, she is not a very good actress. I don't know why they haven't brought out some of the episodes on DVD/VHS. I would buy it and probably lots of others.Its better than a lot of junk you see on DVD. I would buy it and probably lots of others.
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Not bad for a doctor show
Goon-227 May 1999
I don't really care for the genre of "doctor" TV shows, but to give Chicago Hope credit, it does have more appeal than the majority of them. I was once a faithful viewer in its first season, after seeing the characters played by Mandy Patinkin and Hector Elizondo on a brilliant "cross over" episode of Picket Fences. Back then, Chicago Hope was admirable for its "quirky" plots and great character development, but over the years it has adapted more of the "formula" doctor show(6 thousand subplots and little chance to "bond" with the characters)and I have moved on. I still catch an occasional rerun on the show, and while it would not convert me back to being a regular viewer.

I do enjoy the characters of Adam Arkin and Hector Elizondo and the others aren't bad, except Christine Lahti's "feminist" character gets tiresome, and tends to overuse and ugly word that is a part of the male anatomy. Nevertheless, even an episode consisting of her, Jayne Brook and Stacy Edwards going to the mountains that I thought I would loathe did not turn out to be too bad, considering. Mark Harmon and Peter Berg's characters bring a slight amount of life, but as I said, it's still not enough to make me watch the show regularly and I hope it does not steal viewers away from Frasier, as it prepares to face against it in the 1999-2000 season. It's not THAT great.
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My favourite show!!!
Stewey22 October 1999
I love this show!!! I love the characters--well, not the new ones. I think the 5th season was so great! I mean, Eric Stoltz was on! I think it's horrible how things have been going downhill, and to be honest, I don't think pitting Chicago Hope against Frasier is going to help. Nevertheless, I think the ability to mix the hospital situations with the individual problems of the staff is great. There isn't too much focus on personal problems, but enough so it isn't too hospital-oriented.

Finally, being the sap that I am, I like that they manage to incorporate relationships without them becoming the focus. And I'd just like to say that I really think the Kate Austin/Bobby Yeats thing was brilliant, and should've been pursued. I just saw the episode "McNeil and Pray" and they were great! When she's reaming him out, "Oh come on! I'm sure she wasn't influenced by those seductive blue eyes, boyish good looks, that thing you do with your hair..." Okay, I didn't get it all but it was great! And when they're at the Christmas party and that guy says, "Well okay, whisper to someone you choose" to Bobby and he goes and whispers in Kate's ear, it's priceless! That was definitely my favourite episode-and not just because of that.

Okay, I'm sorry I've gone on and on, but this is the only show I really like to watch on tv.
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