"The Advocate"
Season 9, Episode 17
Air date March 13, 2003
Written by Joe Sachs
Directed by Julie Hebert
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The Advocate is the 17th episode of the 9th season of "E.R."


CAN DR. WEAVER FIND HER WAY OUT OF A DEEP ETHICAL WORMHOLE?: Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) finds herself in a deep hole when she bends the rules to treat the syphilitic lover of her powerful new patron Alderman Bright (guest star Bruce Weitz, "Hill Street Blues"), but when the patient has a severe allergic reaction, she desperately tries to cover her tracks and compromises her ethics even further.

In the meantime, Weaver's career continues to get a boost at the expense of a stubborn Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane) and Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) and Abby (Maura Tierney) reassess their relationship.

Elsewhere, Dr. Kovac (Goran Visnjic) ruminates aloud on his star-crossed career path while he ministers to a rebellious teenaged girl who claims she was sexually abused at a boot camp for wayward youths and Carter cares for a nasty middle-aged woman who's slowly being poisoned.

Alex Kingston, Ming-Na, Sherry Stringfield and Sharif Atkins also star.




  • Although he appears in the opening credits, Mekhi Phifer does not appear in this episode.


  • Luka: Just show up. That's all I've been doing: showing up. Time goes by faster at work. Shift work. Treat and street a few lost souls. You're with them when they're most vulnerable, when they're naked, weak, hurt. You touch them, look at their bodies, see them more closely than their families, their lovers. But it's mechanical, you know, temporary. You fix them up or you watch them die. Either way, it ends and you move on. No next time, no strings, no real connection. Maybe that's why I stay.

Luka: They believe what you tell them. They have to trust you. You're the doctor, you know best. But I don't, I guess. I lie, say the same thing to people over and over again till I can hardly make the words come out of my mouth anymore. It's really hard not to be disgusted. With yourself, with the system, everyone you work with... even with the people you're supposed to help.

Luka: Medicine was exciting, powerful, alive. Today, we saved a teenager's sight. I saved a child's life. I didn't feel it. Didn't feel anything.


Luka: There's a cartoon I once saw in a magazine; a little man is sitting in a room with two doors. One door says "do not enter," and the other door says "do not exit." So he just sits there, holding his hat.
Woman: We only have 15 minutes left. Did you want to keep talking or do you want to get to it?

Carter: [to Abby] You know, right?
Abby: Know what?
Carter: That night at the restaurant. I had a ring. You knew that, right?
Abby: I figured if you wanted to talk about it, you would've.
Carter: I didn't go through with it because at that moment it just felt... It didn't feel right. And I don't why, but I wish I did know why. I think that the fact that I didn't do it, means that there's something that's not working.
Abby: I get it. It's O.k. I gotta go.
Carter: You get it? Well that's good. Maybe you can explain it to me 'cause I don't get it. I know that I show up for work and you're acting like a completely changed person. And I think that's great. If that's real. The patch, the sponsor...
Abby: Real?!
Carter: For real, for you. Or is this something that's gonna be thrown out the window the next time something bad happens? Cause if you're trying to prove something to me...
Abby: What?
Carter: Like some kind of quick fix.
Abby: I didn't do it for you! I woke up sick of my self, o.k? And if you're sick of me, and just all of it, I don't blame you!
Carter: I'm not sick of you. How do you hear that?
Abby: Because all I ever do is disappoint you. I feel like all I'm ever going to do is disappoint you...
Carter: Stop.
Abby: I've said this before, I don't know why you're...
Carter: Stop, stop! Stop with this whole routine! This fatalistic, black-cloud, nothing good is ever going to happen to me routine!
Abby: The problem is, it's not a routine.
Carter: Hey! What do I have to say? What do I have to do to get through to you?