|"Never Say Never"|
|Season 8, Episode 4|
|Air date||October 18, 2001|
|Written by||Dee Johnson|
|Directed by||Félix Enríquez Alcalá|
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"Never Say Never" is the fourth episode of the eighth season of ER. It first aired on NBC at October 18th, 2001. It was written by Dee Johnson and directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá. Sherry Stringfield marks her return as Dr. Susan Lewis since her departure in the third season episode "Union Station". Susan comes back to Chicago looking for a job and has a lunch date with Mark Greene while Kerry Weaver and Jing-Mei Chen clash over management issues which causes Chen to make a drastic decision.
After a five year absence, Dr. Susan Lewis returns to Chicago and meets Mark and her fellow colleagues which leads to Susan getting a new job at County General. In the aftermath of the incident in The Longer You Stay which had Chen and Malucci accidentally kill a patient, Chen is brought before a risk management meeting with Weaver going to great lengths to cover herself as well which later results in Chen making a drastic decision.
Abby's attempts to make peace with Luka are jeopardized by the arrival of Luka's mysterious female friend, Nicole.
When a injured man arrives into the OR, Benton faces a crisis as the man wishes to die, believing his death will improve his family's financial future with Benton being left stranded in surgery and as he battles to save the man's life, Benton contacts Roger for help.
As this goes on, Mark and Elizabeth treat a six-year old boy who is suffering from Edwards Syndrome and who is also a Trisomy 18. Elizabeth attempts to help the boy recover, only to discover too late that the youngster's parents have secrets of their own.
'ER' ALUM SHERRY STRINGFIELD RETURNS TO COUNTY GENERAL: Former County General alumna Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) returns to Chicago looking for a new job and swings by her old digs to renew friendships especially with Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) while a nervous Dr. Chen (Ming-Na) is accompanied by Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) to a "risk management" review of her treatment of a deceased patient.
Elsewhere, Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) is caught between a life-saving surgery and the need to pick up his young son before his school locks up.
Dr. Corday (Alex Kingston) meets Dr. Lewis and struggles with the parents of a young boy with a rare and chronic disease who have grown discouraged with his long-term prognosis.
Dr. Kovac (Goran Visjnic) is surprised when a beautiful French waitress (guest star Julie Delpy, "Killing Zoe") shows up in the ER and asks for him. Noah Wyle, Maura Tierney, Paul McCrane and Michael Michele also star.
Having been absent for five years, Susan Lewis returns to Chicago and eventually meets with Mark while also reuniting with her ER colleagues including Weaver and Carter. Thanks to Mark's efforts, she eventually gets a position as an Attending, resulting in Susan rejoining the ER team once again.
In the aftermath of Chen and Malucci's actions in "The Longer You Stay", a risk management meeting is called. Chen and Weaver attend and Chen attempts to defend herself, only to discover that she's taking the fall for the actions that resulted in the patient dying.
Furious over Weaver's actions, Chen later chooses to quit the ER team for good after learning that she has been stripped of the Chief Resident position while also telling Weaver to go to Hell and believing that Weaver is blaming everyone but herself for what happened.
Following Chen's resignation, Weaver offers the Chief Resident position to Carter with Carter promising Weaver that he'll give her an answer by tomorrow.
When an injured man comes into the ER, Benton works to save the man but the patient insists that Benton not do that with the patient believing that his death will ultimately improve the financial future of his family.
Despite Benton's best efforts, the man eventually dies with the patient's wife being left stunned by what's happened and commenting that they don't need cable.
With Benton stuck in surgery, he attempts to contact his niece, Joanie and sister, Jackie so that they can get his son, Resse, only to learn that Joanie's car has broken down and that Jackie isn't around but in fact, Jackie is there, simply choosing not to answer the phone and she opts to walk away instead.
Benton eventually calls Roger for help with Roger agreeing to take care of Reese until Benton's finished.
Meanwhile, as Mark catches up with Susan, Elizabeth treats a six-year-old Edwards Syndrome patient named Kenny Schudy. She also meets his parents, Mr. Schudy and Mrs. Schudy who after caring for their gravely ill son for six years have apparently reached their limit with Elizabeth revealing that their son needs surgery. In spite of that, the Schudys agree, filling out a form.
However, after the surgery, Elizabeth learns that the parents have completely disappeared from the hospital without a trace. Despite searching the hospital for them and asking Cleo and Mark for help, Elizabeth ultimately fails to find them and realizes far too late that they've left the hospital for good, abandoning their gravely ill son.
In the OR Recovery Room, Elizabeth later reveals to Romano that the information that Mr. Schudy wrote on the form that Elizabeth gave him is a lie as the addresses and phone numbers is all completely fake, meaning that not only does Elizabeth not know where the Schudys are but she's also quite certain that the Schudys may have been using a false name all along and that their son's real name may not even be "Kenny".
Despite Romano's coldness as well as his belief that the parents are probably aboard by now, having earned money from their son's quality of life, Elizabeth disagrees, telling Romano that the strain of taking care of an ill boy had the Schudys or whoever they really are called pushed to their limit, physically and emotionally, especially after six years and it's probably why the desperate parents subsequently came up with the plan to abandon their son in a hospital in Chicago before disappearing altogether.
Having offered Carter the Chief Resident position, Weaver goes to the locker and meets Malucci who's cleaning out his locker, having been sacked in the previous episode. The two don't exchange words, instead choosing to glare resentfully at each other.
Abby and Carter treat a patient named Karen McDuffy with Abby soon revealing that McDuffy is pregnant much to Carter's surprise.
As Chen prepares to leave, she talks Carter on the roof of the building and tells Carter to make sure that whatever sacrifices he makes for the ER count.
Weaver later heads into a lesbian bar and stays there, alone in the corner, occupied by nothing but her thoughts.
- Susan Lewis (Returned after five years)
- Mark Greene
- John Carter
- Kerry Weaver
- Jing-Mei Chen
- Peter Benton
- Elizabeth Corday
- Robert Romano
- Luka Kovač
- Abby Lockhart
- Cleo Finch
- Dave Malucci (Final appearance)
- David Hewlett as Mr. Schudy.
- Susan Traylor as Mrs. Schudy.
- Mickey Chavez and Ricky Kurtz as Kenny Schudy.
- Mary Pat Green as Karen McDuffy.
- Matt Craven as Gordon Price.
- David Hewlett who appears in this episode as Mr. Schudy would later go to play Dr. Rodney McKay in the Canadian/American sci-fi TV series, "Stargate SG-1", "Stargate Atlantis" and "Stargate Universe" while Matt Craven (Gordon Price) would later on to go to appear in the highly popular American crime drama series, "NCIS" as Clayton Jarvis, the Secretary of the Navy.
- Both David Hewlett and Alex Kingston are originally from the United Kingdom with both actors also hailing from the small English county of Surrey.
- During the episode, Carter and Abby both reveal that tomorrow is Friday, suggesting that the events in this episode take place on a Thursday.