ER: Season 4, Episode 4

When the Bough Breaks (23 Oct. 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 121 users  
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His ex-wife Jennifer tells Mark he can't see Rachel until he's got his act together. Reece gets to go home. Al has lost his job.



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Title: When the Bough Breaks (23 Oct 1997)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Willis / 'Angel'
Peter Flanders ...
Fleeing Motorcyclist (as Pete Flanders)


Mark Greene's ex-wife Jen takes him to task for his mixed-up life and tells him he can't see their daughter until he gets some help. Kerry Weaver tries to get Doug Ross to complete his fellowship research proposal. She also tells him he has to find research grants to cover his salary or he's out of a job. Baby Reece Benton finally gets to go home. Now that his HIV status is known, Al Boulet finds himself out of a job and unable to find work. The ER has to deal with a mass casualty alert when a school bus is involved in a highway accident. A crack addict gives birth while waiting for a doctor to treat her. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

23 October 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is based upon an American child's lullaby: "Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop, When the wind blows, the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, And down will come baby, cradle and all." See more »


When Kerry asks Doug if she can speak to him in the beginning about his research study, she calls him Mark. See more »


[a patient is annoying Dr. Weaver]
Dr. Kerry Weaver: Carter! Take our friend here. I'm afraid I might stick an IV pole up his ass.
See more »

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User Reviews

When the Bough Breaks (#4.4)
27 December 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This was a very eventful episode which was great. So much happening and one is interested by it all, now its even hard to believe its only an hour episode considering all the events.

Dr. Benton and his child played a big role again. The little guy went for the first day home and it took Peter a while to be able to do so as well. And in this time he also got to see a crack baby die. A pretty great idea.

HIV plays a big role again. Al lost his job and Jeanie is getting in trouble because she can't follow the guidelines in order to save a patient.

Was also great to see David Denman! It was his first acting job and he was pretty good. Very young too, but I recognized him right away.

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