Chicago Hope

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Chicago Hope
Chicago Hope.jpg
Chicago Hope cast photo
Genre Medical Drama
Serial Drama
Created by David E. Kelley
Written by David E. Kelley
David Amann
and more...
Starring Mandy Patinkin
Héctor Elizondo
Vondie Curtis-Hall
Barbara Hershey
Christine Lahti
Peter Berg
Mark Harmon
Thomas Gibson
Rocky Carroll
Adam Arkin
Lauren Holly
Jayne Brook
E. G. Marshall
Opening theme Theme from Chicago Hope
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 141 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Henry Bromell
Bill D'Elia
David E. Kelley
John Tinker
Location(s) Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
Cinematography James R. Bagdonas
Running time approx. 42–44 minutes
Production company(s) David E. Kelley Productions
20th Television (1994-1995)
20th Century Fox Television (1995-2000)
Distributor 20th Television
Original channel CBS
TVGN (reruns)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original release September 18, 1994 (1994-09-18) – May 4, 2000 (2000-05-04)
Related shows Picket Fences

Chicago Hope is an American medical drama television series, created by David E. Kelley.[1] It ran on CBS from September 18, 1994, to May 4, 2000. The series is set in a fictional private charity hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The show is set to return in the fall of 2013 on TVGN in reruns.[2]


The show starred Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, a hot-shot surgeon with emotional issues stemming from the psychiatric condition of his wife (played by Kim Greist), who drowned their infant son. Adam Arkin plays Dr. Aaron Shutt, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and Dr. Geiger's best friend. Thomas Gibson played Dr. Daniel Nyland, a promiscuous ER doctor and trauma surgeon who was later suspended due to him having an affair with a patient's family member and later was injured in a car crash. Dr. Keith Wilkes played by Rocky Carroll, often clashed with Nyland and was known for his back-to-basics and rough demeanor. He was good friends with Peter Berg's character, Dr. Billy Kronk. Kronk was known for his cowboyish demeanor and known to be very cocky, as showed in an episode where he cuts off a man's injured leg with a chainsaw in a scene where Kronk helps out at an accident site. Peter MacNicol, Héctor Elizondo and Alan Rosenberg feature as the hospital's in-house attorney and chief of staff, respectively. Christine Lahti joined in the second season as a talented cardiac surgeon with a chip on her shoulder, vying with Geiger for the chief of surgery position. She was known fighting in a custody battle with her malicious ex-husband and businessman, Tommy Wilmette, played by Ron Silver. Mr. Wilmette did everything he could to get Austin to lose custody of their daughter. He purchased the hospital at the end of Season 2. Dr. Austin is suspened because she and her daughter go AWOL on a trip to New Zealand. Mr. Wilmette was upset because it took him three months to find his ex-wife and daughter. In Season 3, the doctors want Mr. Wilmette to sell the hospital and the doctors would run it. The doctors viewed that Wilmette didn't know how to run a hospital and cut too many costs that involved patient care. Mr. Wilmette later met with Senator Kennedy at the White House to talk about Healthcare Reform. In Season 2, Geiger resigns from Chicago Hope after trying to save Alan Birch from a deadly gunshot wound to his heart.

Geiger adopted Birch's baby daughter. Geiger later rejoins the doctors at the end of Season 5 when he becomes Chairman of the Board and fires half of the doctors. In Season 4, Dr. Shutt became a psychiatrist and temporarily lost his ability to operate after suffering from a brain aneurysm. In Season 6, Shutt returns to Neurosurgery and works alongside Carla Gugino's character, Dr. Gina Simon.[3]


Name Portrayed by Occupation Season Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6
Aaron Shutt Adam Arkin Neurosurgeon Main 141
Phillip Watters Hector Elizondo Hospital Chief of Staff Main 141
Jeffrey Geiger Mandy Patinkin Surgeon Main Guest Main 60
Billy Kronk Peter Berg[4] Guest Main 106
Dennis Hancock Vondie Curtis-Hall Guest Main 104
Diane Grad Jayne Brook Guest Main 103
Danny Nyland Thomas Gibson Main 70
Camille Schutt Roxanne Hart Nurse Main 47
Alan Birch Peter MacNicol Hospital Attorney Main 31
Arthur Thurmond E.G. Marshall Main 13
Angela Giandamenicio Roma Maffia Main 13
Kate Austin Christine Lahti Cardiac surgeon Main 97
John Sutton Jamey Sheridan Main 18
Keith Wilkes Rocky Carroll Main 96
Jack McNeil Mark Harmon Main 95
Lisa Catera Stacy Edwards Main 44
Robert Yeats Eric Stoltz Main 22
Gina Simon Carla Gugino Main 23
Francesca Alberghetti Barbara Hershey Main 22
Jeremy Hanlon Lauren Holly Main 22
Stuart Brickman Alan Rosenberg Hospital Attorney Main 16
Laurel Canyon Monique Edwards Nurse Guest 16
Joseph Cacaci Bob Bancroft Guest 31


The pilot episode of Chicago Hope was broadcast the day before NBC's ER in a special Sunday, 8 p.m. time slot. After the first week, however, the two Chicago-based hospital dramas went "head to head" in their primetime 10 p.m. Thursday night slot. ER was the victor: its first season proved a ratings winner. Despite receiving critical acclaim, Chicago Hope was shifted to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and ultimately to Monday nights in 1995 in a bid for higher ratings, while ER remained in its time slot.

Chicago Hope remained in the Monday slot and performed well, with ratings peaking at 11.9, with a 20 share. In the second season, however, Kelley and Patinkin decided to leave the show. The show was moved to Wednesdays at 10 p.m. in 1997 to make room for the Steven Bochco drama, Brooklyn South, on Mondays. In 1999, both Kelley and Patinkin returned, with a revamped cast now including Barbara Hershey and Lauren Holly, but excluding Lahti, Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Stacy Edwards. CBS also moved the show back to Thursday nights, against NBC's Frasier and ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The show was canceled in May 2000.

In 2007, former co-stars Rocky Carroll (Dr. Keith Wilkes); Mark Harmon (Dr. Jack McNeil) and Lauren Holly (Dr. Jeremy Hanlon) worked together on the series NCIS. Holly left the show after three seasons, while Harmon and Carroll remain with the cast today. In addition, Carroll has a recurring role as his NCIS character, Director Leon Vance, on that series's spin off, NCIS: Los Angeles. Jayne Brook (Dr. Diane Grad) has guest starred on NCIS as well.

Thomas Gibson would later star alongside Patinkin in the highly successful Criminal Minds, as well as Shemar Moore who was a guest star on Chicago Hope during Season 4. Patinkin later left the show early in its third season.

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Chicago Hope.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Timeslot[nb 1] Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions of households)
1st Thursday, 10:00 p.m. September 18, 1994 May 22, 1995 1994–1995 29 11.2[5]
2nd Monday 10:00 p.m. September 18, 1995 May 20, 1996 1995–1996 24 11.4[6]
3rd Monday 10:00 p.m. September 16, 1996 May 19, 1997 1996–1997 30 10.2[7]
4th Wednesday 10:00 p.m. October 1, 1997 May 13, 1998 1997–1998 39 8.9
5th Wednesday 10:00 p.m. September 30, 1998 May 19, 1999 1998–1999 73 9.9
6th Thursday 9:00 p.m. September 23, 1999 May 4, 2000 1999–2000 62 9.4


With the exception of some infrequent on-location scenes, the vast majority of Chicago Hope was filmed on sound stages at the studios of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, located in the Century City area of Los Angeles.


Chicago Hope aired for six straight seasons and 141 episodes.


Fyvush Finkel and Kathy Baker appeared as their Picket Fences characters in the first season. Likewise, Mandy Patinkin and Hector Elizondo brought their Chicago Hope characters to Picket Fences that year. Both Adam Arkin and Lauren Holly had previously appeared on Picket Fences as a lawyer and as a deputy sheriff, respectively.

Mandy Patinkin appears in an uncredited role as Geiger in a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Chicago Hope producer John Tinker shot this footage as a favor to his St. Elsewhere colleague Tom Fontana.[citation needed]

Chicago Hope characters crossed over to Early Edition early in that show's run. Rocky Carroll, Jayne Brook, and Héctor Elizondo all guest-starred in scenes taking place in the hospital.

DVD releases[edit]

Revelation Films has released all seasons of Chicago Hope on DVD in Region 2 (UK) for the very first time.[8][9][10][11][12]

DVD Name Ep# Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 22 N/A March 5, 2012 N/A
Season Two 23 N/A July 23, 2012 N/A
Season Three 26 N/A November 5, 2012 N/A
Season Four 24 N/A March 18, 2013 N/A
Season Five 24 N/A September 16, 2013 N/A
Season Six 22 N/A July 21, 2014 N/A


The series broke a network television taboo by showing a teenager's breast after her character underwent reconstructive surgery. This was generally seen as relevant to the subject matter and went relatively uncriticized.[13]

On November 18, 1998, Chicago Hope became the first regular series episode to be broadcast in HDTV.[14] The episode was entitled "The Other Cheek".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Over its six seasons, Chicago Hope was nominated for many accolades and won several, including seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.

Emmy awards[edit]

Year Award Recipient
1995 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mandy Patinkin
1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series Tim Suhrstedt for the episode "Over The Rainbow"
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for a Series Debi Manwiller
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Drama Series Jeremy Kagan for the episode "Leave Of Absence"
1997 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Héctor Elizondo
1998 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Christine Lahti
1998 Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series Russell C. Fager, R. Russell Smith, and William Freesh for the episode "Brain Salad Surgery"

International airings[edit]

In the UK, seasons 1 and 2 originally aired on BBC One. More recently, all seasons of the show have been shown on ITV3. Starting on September 3, 2007, it began airing on Zone Romantica in the UK and Ireland. In Australia, the series originally aired on The Seven Network. In Germany the first seasons were shown in the 1990s. In Hungary, the series aired on Viasat3.
In Indonesian, the series originally aired on RCTI, starting from October 1998 ended from August 2001. As of November 2013 it is airing on UK Freeview/Freesat/Sky/Eutelsat 28A/Virgin Media/WightFibre television channel True Entertainment.


TVGN has announced that Chicago Hope will air in reruns in the fall of 2013 and TV Guide has also announced that TVGN will be changing their schedules at this time.


  1. ^ Times listed are Eastern time


  1. ^ "Some say the exciting plots of 'Chicago Hope' lack medical accuracy. But the drama's creator says caution is exercised-and that people know too much to be fooled. : False Hope? - Los Angeles Times". 1995-04-03. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ HOWARD ROSENBERG (1994-09-17). "TV Reviews : 'Chicago Hope' a Medical Melodrama - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  3. ^ Howard Rosenberg (1994-10-13). "'ER' vs. 'Hope': Which Medicine Is Easier to Swallow? - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Peter Berg: A Man of Action and Words : Television: His dual life as actor and screenwriter has put him in a state of enjoyable overload. He's on 'Chicago Hope' and has a production deal for his screenplay. - Los Angeles Times". 1995-04-08. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  5. ^ "TV Ratings > 1900's". Classic Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  6. ^ "TV Ratings > 1900's". Classic Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  7. ^ "TV Ratings > 1900's". Classic Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Chicago Hope- Season 1". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  9. ^ "Chicago Hope- Season 2". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  10. ^ "Chicago Hope- Season 3". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Chicago Hope- Season 4". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  12. ^ "Chicago Hope- Season 6". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  13. ^ Blowen, Michae l (March 12, 1995). "Television censors use situational standards". Baltimore Sun. Boston Globe. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ CEA: Digital America – HDTV[dead link]

External links[edit]