Twenty years ago this week, a little hospital show called “ER” debuted on NBC to much fanfare and managed to exceed the hype. For years, it was television’s #1 drama; it reinvented the television form, bringing a previously-unseen cinematic approach to shooting action in its Chicago hospital setting. And it had one of the deepest, craziest, most lovable ensembles in the history of television, both helped and eventually done in by its excessive longevity. There are so many characters in the history of “ER” that of course it’d be impossible to rank them all in any kind of definitive way. What’s that? Someone’s done it? He must have been mad to approach such a task single-handedly. Below follows a ranked consideration of “ER”’s cast, including any recurring hospital employee who made an impact; briefer guest stints were not considered, and neither were peripheral characters like family members.
“‘22. Maggie Doyle (Jorja Fox)”’
(Recurring Seasons 3-5) “ER” should have paid to keep Fox around (she departed for “The West Wing” and then “CSI”). Appearing before Weaver came out, she was the show’s first major gay character (although her orientation was much more obliquely referenced) and just the kind of admirable no-nonsense physician “ER” had plenty of in the early seasons. Later years demanded everyone have some kind of crippling personal drama, but Doyle mostly just did her job well.