|Season 10, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 25, 2003|
|Written by||John Wells|
|Directed by||Jonathan Kaplan|
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Now What? is the 10th season premiere of "E.R."
Carter returns from Africa, going straight to Abby's bedside. Her response to seeing him is to ask for her key back. She is very chilly towards him all day until new med student Neela Rasgotra answers a phone call for Carter. The message: Luka is dead. Carter decides to go back to the Congo to bring the body back. Abby pleads with him to stay, but he leaves anyway.
Neela has a tough first day in the ER, earning Chen's ire after Pratt flirts with her. Gallant (now a full-fledged doctor) helps to show her the ropes.
Romano returns from his medical leave. Susan is still seeing Chuck. The ER is being renovated, causing Weaver to scream a lot.
OUT OF AFRICA, WEARY CARTER RETURNS TO HOSTILE ABBY -- AND PARMINDER NAGRA ('BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM') JOINS CAST IN SEASON PREMIERE: In the season premiere, a frazzled Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) returns from his harrowing mission to the Congo only to be confronted by a hostile Abby (Maura Tierney) while an exotic new British medical student (Parminder Nagra, "Bend It Like Beckham") causes a stir when she unexpectedly helps a patient and angers Dr. Chen (Ming-Na) as Dr. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) flirts with her.
In addition: a concerned Dr. Pratt works the margins to help an HIV-infected patient obtain the necessary medical insurance.
A woman and her young children are treated after their wrecked car is struck again by a large truck; construction workers add to the chaos of the emergency room.
Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane) sports a new look and Carter gets an ominous call from Africa. Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, Sherry Stringfield, Sharif Atkins also star.
- Romano: This department is a money pit!
- Kerry: We have more people coming through the door everyday and we're legally obligated to treat them.
- Romano: Which is why we should grab some wood, nail the entrance shut and paint "go away" in big letters.
- Neela (to Frank): Excuse me. Can you help me, sir?
- Frank: You need to find a triage nurse.
- Neela: No, I'm sorry. I work here.
- Frank: Lucky you.
- Neela: I..I'm supposed to start today. Neela Rasgotra?
- Frank: Rag what?
- Neela: Rasgotra.
- Frank: Don't we hire Americans anymore?
- Neela: The phone was ringing and no one was around, so I thought I should answer it.
- Frank: Big mistake.
- Neela: It's long-distance, overseas, for a Dr. Carter.
- Frank: 'Course, who else? Take a message.
- Neela: (on the phone Yeah, can I take a message? (to Frank) They say it's important. Someone who's died.
- Jerry: Who?
- Neela: Someone named Kovac. A Dr. Luka Kovac.
- Abby (to Carter): Where's Luka?
- Carter: Is that what this is about?
- Abby: No.
- Carter: Luka's fine. Luka's more than fine.
- Abby: What does that mean?
- Carter: Nothing.
- Abby: Nothing. You know we don't talk?
- Carter: We're not talking now?
- Abby: Your mouth is moving, I mean, you give the impression we're having a real conversation, but when you finish, I have no idea what you're thinking.
- Carter: I was trying to tell you about Africa.
- Abby (to Carter): I don't know. You knew I didn't want you to go, and you went anyway. What, were you trying to hurt me?
- Carter: Why would I want to hurt you?
- Abby: I, I don't know! I don't know! Why would you want to hurt me?
- Carter: It wasn't about you.
- Abby: Oh, come on! You weren't even going to tell me you were going! If I hadn't bumped in to you when you were leaving, I wouldn't even have known!
- Carter: I wasn't trying to hurt you. I wanted to feel like I was really doing something.
- Abby: Did you even think about me?
- Carter: Yes.
- Abby: Okay, what did you think (pause) What did you think? I don't know why you bothered to come back (she starts walking away)
- Carter: Oh, you're just going to walk away?
- Abby: Yeah.
- Carter: Okay, walk away, Abby. That's what you do best.
- Abby: You want to know what you do best? You make this all about my problems, but you know what? You have some problems too. You've got some really big problems.