"Father and Sons"
Season 4, Episode 7
Air date November 13, 1997
Written by John Wells
Directed by Christopher Chulack
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"Fathers and Sons" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of ER. It first aired on NBC at November 13, 1997. The episode was written John Wells and directed by Christopher Chulack. It was the first episode to take place entirely outside the County General hospital. It has Mark Greene and Doug Ross travelling to California to claim Ross' deceased father and his belongings as well as them making a pit stop to visit Greene's parents.

Plot SummaryEdit

Greene and Ross travel to California to claim Ross' deceased father's belongings as well as learn some surprising facts about his father. Along the way, they make a pit stop to visit the home of Greene's parents in San Diego and receive a surprise visitor.

NBC DescriptionEdit

LONELY CROSSROADS: After learning of the untimely death of his father, Dr. Ross (George Clooney) sets off by car for California with Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) along for moral support.

Ross discovers surprising facts about his father's life while wrestling with demons from his troubled childhood and comes to a decision about his future.

A side trip to visit Greene's mother (guest star Bonnie Bartlett, 'St. Elsewhere') and father (guest star John Cullum, 'Northern Exposure') in San Diego leads to a disturbing confrontation between Ross and Greene. Julianna Margulies also stars.

Short summaryEdit

Accompanied by Mark Greene, Doug Ross travels to California after being informed that his father has died. He learns that his drunken father ran a stop sign killing not only himself but the female occupant of his own vehicle as well the man in the other vehicle, a hard working family man who leaves behind a widow and several children. All of Doug's unhappy childhood memories come flooding back as he learns of his father's last days. A surprise visitor lifts his spirits, however. When he learns that Mark's parents live only a few hours away in San Diego he insists that they visit. Mark's relationship with his own father, a retired US Navy Captain, is strained and distant.

Cast & CharactersEdit

Main CastEdit



  • "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
  • "Pony Boy" by The Allman Brothers Band
  • "Queen of Hearts" b Gregg Allman


Doug (to Mark): I'm confused now. Your father's still alive, right? He's still with your mother.

Mark: So that's the criteria for a good father? Longevity?

Doug: Did he smack you around a lot? Used to smack your mom around?

Mark: Poor Doug.

Doug: Wait, poor Doug? Your father, did he, did he come into your room in the middle of the night and throw up on your bed and pass out? Did he do that? Did he leave you in a hallway in Atlantic City while he screwed some hat check girl, Mark? Did he do that? Did he do that, Mark? Your father was there for you every night, you and your mother. And that's love. Now, whether it's the way you want it or not, it's love, Mark. You grew up in "Ozzie and Harriet" land. Get your head out of your ass.


Doug (as he dumps his dad's ashes off a cliff in the desert): I hated the son of a bitch and I loved him.


[Doug has just revealed that he's dating Carol]

Dr. Mark Greene: Does she make you take a lie detector test every week?_______________________________________

Dr. Mark Greene: What are you thinking about, Doug?

Dr. Doug Ross: Carol... I'm in love with her. I mean, I used to think I knew what love was. I cared about a lot of women, I just don't think I've ever really been in love. I think about her all the time. I don't like it when I'm not with her, I don't want to be with anyone else. That's love, isn't it?

Dr. Mark Greene: Yeah... That's love.

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