Show Type: Medical Drama
First Telecast: October 26, 1982
Last Telecast: August 10, 1988
Dr. Donald Westphall..... Ed Flanders
Dr. Mark Craig..... William Daniels
Dr. Ben Samuels (1982-1983)..... David Birney
Dr. Victor Ehrlich..... Ed Begley, Jr.
Dr. Jack Morrison..... David Morse
Dr. Annie Cavanero (1982-1985)..... Cynthia Sikes
Dr. Wayne Fiscus..... Howie Mandel
Dr. Cathy Martin (1982-1986)..... Barbara Whinnery
Dr. Peter White (1982-1985)..... Terence Knox
Dr. Hugh Beale (1982-1983)..... G.W. Bailey
Nurse Helen Rosenthal..... Christina Pickles
Dr. Phillip Chandler..... Denzel Washington
Dr. V. J. Kochar (1982-1984)..... Kavi Raz
Dr. Wendy Armstrong (1982-1984)..... Kim Miyori
Dr. Daniel Aushlander..... Norman Lloyd
Nurse Shirley Daniels (1982-1985)..... Ellen Bry
Orderly Luther Hawkins..... Eric Laneuville
Joan Halloran (1983-1984)..... Nancy Stafford
Dr. Robert Caldwell (1983-1986)..... Mark Harmon
Dr. Michael Ridley (1983-1984)..... Paul Sand
Mrs. Ellen Craig..... Bonnie Bartlett
Dr. Elliot Axelrod (1983-1988)..... Stephen Furst
Nurse Lucy Papandrao..... Jennifer Savidge
Dr. Jaqueline Wade (1983-1988)..... Sagan Lewis
Orderly Warren Coolidge (1984-1988)..... Byron Stewart
Dr. Emily Humes (1984-1985)..... Judith Hansen
Dr. Alan Poe (1984-1985)..... Brian Tochi
Nurse Peggy Shotwell (1984-1986)..... Saundra Sharp
Mrs. Hufnagel (1984-1985)..... Florence Halop
Dr. Roxanne Turner (1985-1987)..... Alfre Woodard
Ken Valere (1985-1986)..... George Deloy
Terri Valere (1985-1986)..... Deborah May
Dr. Seth Griffin (1986-1988)..... Bruce Greenwood
Dr. Paulette Kiem (1986-1988)..... France Nuyen
Dr. Carol Novino (1986-1988)..... Cindy Pickett
Dr. John Gideon (1987-1988)..... Ronny Cox
St. Elsewhere was a hospital show with a difference. There was high emotion, there were dedicated, caring doctors - but there were no miracles. Sometimes the patient made and sometimes they didn't. As in real life, they weren't always brave about it either.
St. Eligius was one of the seedier hospitals in Boston - a big-city dumping ground for patients not wanted by the higher-class and more expensive medical facilities. In a typical day, the staff would deal with things like: a drug addict trying to raid the pharmacy; a doctor being mugged in the emergency room; a mentally ill patient who wandered away and the wealthy, snobbish parents of an ill child who insisted the she be transferred to a fancier hospital.
Whatever St. Eligius' reputation was, the staff was first-rate. The older doctors included: Dr. Westphall, the chief of staff, and seasoned doctor and father figure to the young interns and residents completing their training there; Dr. Craig, an egotistical heart surgeon who was a brilliant doctor, but totally oblivious to his patients' feelings and Dr. Auschlander, a veteran doctor who found he must fight his own battle with cancer.
Among the younger doctors were: Dr. Samuels, a free spirit who had slept with practically every nurse in the hospital; Dr. Fiscus, who was having an affair with pathologist Cathy Martin, who insisted on making love on a slab in the morgue - among the sheet-draped corpses!; Dr. Morrison, who was so dedicated to his work that he neglected his young wife, who died tragically in 1983; Dr. Cavanero, who tended to become too involved with her patients; Dr. Axelrod, who was constantly fighting a weight problem and Dr. Chandler, the young resident who was always afraid he did not quite measure up to the high standards of medicine.
St. Elsewhere's stories could be funny yet tragic. In one episode, sexually active Dr. Caldwell decided not to wear any underwear under his pants and proceeded to catch his most private part in the zipper. It had to be surgically freed and stitched up by a female colleague. Meanwhile, young resident Dr. Wendy Armstrong, overwhelmed by the pressure and the rage of a woman whose baby was lost through her misdiagnosis, committed suicide.
Continuing stories included: Dr. Auschlander's coming to terms with his own illness; Nurse Rosenthal and her breast surgery; Dr. Ehrlich's progression from a bright but inexperienced intern to a confident doctor and new husband and Dr. Peter White, a troubled young doctor, who, after having difficulties in his marriage, turned rapist - and was eventually shot to death by Nurse Daniels.
In 1987, St. Eligius was taken over by the huge, profit-oriented Ecumena Hospitals Corporation, subjecting the staff more than ever to the pressures of medicine. The new Chief of Services, Dr. Gideon, orchestrated a showdown with Dr. Westphall, who responded by "mooning" him and quitting. Dr. Craig pursued an artificial heart project (the "Craig 9000"), but found his marriage to Ellen was collapsing.
The shows final episode in May 1988, was bizarre to say the least. Dr. Auschlander saved the hospital from closing, then died of a stroke; Dr. Westphall returned; Dr. Craig moved to Cleveland and in a final, surrealistic scene, the entire six-year run of St. Elsewhere appeared to have been a figment of the imagination of Westphall's uncommunicative, autistic young son.
St. Elsewhere was produced by the same people responsible for Hill Street Blues and it had much of the same reality and filming techniques of the police show. It also won several Emmy's during its run.