Elliot Reid

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This article is about the fictional character. For the radio and television actor, see Elliott Reid.
Dr. Elliot Reid, M.D.
Scrubs character
First appearance "My First Day"
Last appearance "Our Stuff Gets Real"
Created by Bill Lawrence
Portrayed by Sarah Chalke
Alexandra Lee (child)
Nickname(s) Barbie, Smelliot, Mole Butt, Roller Molar, Stick, Blonde Doctor, Blondie, Marshmallow
Gender Female
Occupation Doctor of Internal Medicine
Title Private Practice Physician
Family Dr. Simon Reid (father)
Lily Reid (mother)
Dr. Barry Reid (brother)
Dr. Bradley Reid (brother)
Sam Dorian (father-in-law, deceased)
Barbara Hobbs Dorian (mother-in-law)
Dan Dorian (brother-in-law)
Spouse(s) John Dorian
Children Unnamed daughter

Elliot Reid, M.D. is a fictional character played by Sarah Chalke in the American comedy-drama Scrubs. She appeared in every episode during the first eight seasons except two Season 8 episodes, "My Last Words" and "My Lawyer's in Love".

Sarah Chalke was a regular cast member for the first eight seasons, and appeared in four episodes of season nine. Elliot was a close friend and a frequent love interest to series protagonist John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) for the first eight seasons, and in season 9 was his wife. Her character is portrayed with multiple neuroses and cripplingly low self-esteem. She is also close to Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes) and Christopher Turk (Donald Faison), the series' other chief characters.

Family history[edit]

She is the daughter of Simon and Lily Reid (Lane Davies and Markie Post), and is of German descent. Her father is Chief of Medicine at St. Augustines, a private hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut.[1] She grew up privileged but love-starved; she once attributed her many neuroses to the way she was treated by her parents. Her mother is a cold, self-absorbed alcoholic, and her father attempts to interfere with her career, eventually cutting her off financially after he tries to push her into specializing in gynaecology, a career path she refuses.[2] Elliot also has several brothers who are also doctors, but are never portrayed on the show; one of these unseen characters is her brother Barry, a closeted homosexual whom their parents sent to "hetero camp".

She grew up in an apple orchard, where she learned to fight to drive away apple thieves.[3] She is a Republican, and supports the Iraq War.[4]


Elliot was valedictorian of her high school and attended Brown University,[5] where she was in the sorority Omega Beta Gamma (a fictional sorority, first appearing in season 2; ΩΒΓ stands for the first three letters in OB-GYN) with best friend Melody O'Harra (Keri Russell).[6] She also played tambourine in a Christian rock band in college.[7]

At Sacred Heart, Elliot begins as an intern and later becomes a resident after a grueling, year-long internship. She serves as Co-Chief Resident with J.D. during season 4. At the end of that season, she briefly leaves to take on an endocrinology fellowship, which ends five days later after her research partner finds the cure to osteogenesis imperfecta, the disease they are researching.[8] After a brief spell at a free clinic, she returns to Sacred Heart and becomes a senior attending physician. At the end of the episode "My Coffee", she accepts an offer to go into private practice, allowing her to receive double the pay, still work at Sacred Heart, and never have to deal with superiors Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) or Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) again. In "My Full Moon", she ponders her future career after struggling to deliver the bad news to a patient diagnosed with HIV, and tells Turk that if she was lucky enough to get married and had enough money to not have to work, she would "walk out of this place [the hospital] and never look back".


When first introduced, Elliot is portrayed as socially awkward and hyper-competitive, but her personality was modified slightly by the second episode, and according to Chalke, her character was shown totally lacking "social skills".[9] She became a chatterbox who puts her foot in her mouth at every conceivable opportunity (in "My Mentor", she asks an overweight woman "When's the baby due?", and accidentally insults Turk's Jehovah's Witness mother by describing people of that faith as "crazed, annoying busybodies").[10] According to J.D. and various patients, her bedside manner is cold and mechanical, although in more recent seasons she's been shown to bond with several patients. Her bedside manner (or lack thereof) is part of the reason that Dr. Cox decides to split the role of Chief Resident between her and the more sensitive J.D. (saying the two of them together would make "one barely passable doctor/Labradoodle").[11]

Elliot has frequently been shown telling "inspirational stories" to both fellow staff and patients that invariably end with someone killing themselves, to the extent that by "My Happy Place" it has become the expected result of any story she begins. In the episode "My Fishbowl", she admits she attempted suicide as a teenager.

In Season 3, Elliot undergoes a noticeable transformation; she begins dressing and grooming herself in a more sexually provocative manner, and adopts a somewhat more assertive and self-assured personality.[12] This was the result of a directive from NBC's marketing department, which wanted the show to have a sexier female star to offer the network's coveted young male demographic. A short feature on the Season 3 DVD set entitled "The New Elliot" explains the reasons for the makeover, and the response it engendered from Chalke and the show's writers.

Chalke, speaking about her character, has stated how much Elliot has changed throughout the run of Scrubs. She has stated that at the start of the series, Elliot is a competitive and independent person until she realizes that she needs the help and support of her co-workers.[13] Talking about Elliot's transformation in the episode "My Own American Girl", Chalke stated that the transformation didn't really help Elliot's life and that Elliot is still "on a never ending journey to find respect [in season four] and now she's a lot more confident and together."[13]

Relationships with other characters[edit]


J.D. and Elliot have a complex relationship; they are close friends, and often grapple with their romantic feelings for each other. In an interview, Sarah Chalke said that Bill Lawrence wanted to avoid a "will they or won't they" get together plot for the series, instead opting for a running gag where they hook up once a year and "have everything blow up in [their] faces and not work out".[14]

In the season 1 episode "My Drug Buddy", they start a relationship but break up in the following episode. They repair their friendship, but it is later revealed that they still have feelings for each other[15] and they begin sleeping together again in "My Monster". They arrange to sleep together as "sex buddies" without romantic involvement, but this ends after only a few days, with J.D. having realized that he has deep feelings for her.[16] In Season 3, J.D. again realizes his feelings for her as she rekindles her past relationship with her old boyfriend Sean, but later in the season J.D. and Elliot sleep together again.[17] Although Elliot initially decides to stay with Sean, she later leaves him to be with J.D. However, this relationship ends when J.D. breaks up with Elliot after realizing that he doesn't love her.[18] In Season 4, following Elliot's brief fling with J.D.'s brother Dan (Tom Cavanagh), they once again repair their friendship and then move in together in Season 5.

J.D. and Elliot also have a very close friendship, built on their shared experiences as residents at the hospital, similarities in their personalities and the knowledge of each other's quirks and issues. In the episode "My Cold Shower", J.D. realizes that he may still have feelings for Elliot; in the season finale "My Point of No Return", J.D. and Elliot lean in for a kiss after a night of discussing their doubts about their respective relationships. However, in "My Own Worst Enemy", the Season 7 opener, Elliot realizes she is making a mistake and pulls away, asserting that the almost-kiss had nothing to do with her feelings for J.D.

Later on in the season, there are some subtle hints that Elliot and J.D. may be getting closer, and possibly romantic. For instance, the episode "My Waste of Time" ends with J.D. and Elliot sitting in a cafe, commenting on how everyone thinks they're together, then playing with J.D.'s son Sam, as if they were a family. Also, in "My Bad Too" Turk tells Carla (in unsubtitled Spanish), "Those two will be getting back together in five weeks." In the season seven finale "My Princess", Elliot and J.D. mutually agree that the almost-kiss, a point of tension between them, had nothing to do with their feelings and was merely a response to stress. However, at the end, Dr. Cox, who is telling the story says, "They decided that their almost kiss... meant nothing. Because in the end, they were both idiots.", perhaps suggesting that he thinks they are both stupid for not realising that they have feelings for each other. In "My Happy Place", Elliot and J.D. reevaluate their relationship after an unexpected comment from Dr. Kelso, admitting their lingering feelings for each other. However, it is only after Dr. Kelso tells them to do whatever makes them happy that they decide to give their relationship another chance. J.D. and Elliot are shown to officially be a couple again in "My Cookie Pants".

In the season 8 episode "My Cuz", J.D. leaves Sacred Heart to move closer to his son, Sam. Though she remains at Sacred Heart, Elliot moves in with him despite the long commute. Before J.D. leaves the hospital for good, he has a prolonged fantasy (which is implied to be a flashforward), which shows that he and Elliot get married, and have at least one child together. By the start of Season 9, they are married and expecting their first child; taking place a year after the finale.[19]


Elliot and Carla initially clash over their duties at the hospital and because of Elliot's somewhat condescending attitude, but they gradually become close friends. Carla becomes a source of personal and professional advice for Elliot; for her part, Carla reveals before her wedding[20] that she feels closer to Elliot than to her own sisters. After Carla's marriage, the two begin to drift apart, but when they realize it they vow to work harder on maintaining their relationship.[3] Carla supports Elliot throughout her various breakups, and is overjoyed to see her and J.D. become a couple again. The flashforward scene at the end of "My Finale" shows all of them together as a big, happy family.

Cast and crew have commented that the development of Carla and Elliot's friendship is somewhat parallel to the development of that between Chalke and Judy Reyes, who plays Carla.[21]


Despite clashing initially, Elliot and Turk grow to be close friends, a relationship begun in "My Mentor" when he tells Carla to give her a break. In "My Heavy Meddle", he convinces Elliot, who has just broken up with J.D., to mend their relationship for the sake of the group dynamic. Throughout the series, Turk watches out for Elliot, J.D. and Carla, and occasionally acts as a go-between. The flashforward scene at the end of "My Finale" shows all of them together as a big, happy family.

Dr. Cox[edit]

In the show's first season, Elliot is alternately terrified of and eager to please Dr. Perry Cox, Sacred Heart's acerbic Chief Attending Physician (later Residency Director and Chief of Medicine). Cox responds by constantly berating her, a trend that would continue throughout the series. He has occasionally shown signs of support, however; in "My Blind Date", he relies on her as a replacement "go-to guy" when J.D. is busy, and in "My Dream Job", he defends her from Kelso's verbal abuse by punching him.

From the third season on, their relationship is one of mutual contempt, based mostly around trading quips and insults. Even so, Cox continues to give her personal and professional advice (albeit in the form of mockery), and in "My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu", they admit that, while they don't like each other, they do respect each other.

Molly Clock[edit]

Molly Clock (Heather Graham) is Elliot's close friend and mentor during the fourth season; in "Her Story", Elliot sees her as a role model, even after Molly makes some questionable choices. Molly moves to Milwaukee in "My Last Chance", and tells J.D. to ask Elliot's permission for the two of them (Molly and J.D.) to sleep together; Elliot uses the situation to get even with J.D. for J.D getting "uneven" because he kissed Molly. Later on down the line, J.D. had a near relationship with Molly—but then left to further his relationship with Kylie.


Elliot and Janitor have a friendly if asymmetric relationship; she views him as a nice hospital employee, while he harbors an intense schoolboy crush on her. She finally realizes his feelings for her in "My Best Laid Plans" when he outright confesses them, and goes on to say that that she's the only doctor who treats him like a person. Elliot is seemingly oblivious to the Janitor's true nature of tormenting the other staff members because she is usually only exposed to his softer, helpful side. Elliot has many nicknames, the one given to her by Janitor is "Blonde Doctor."

Romantic relationships[edit]

In season 1 she dates her former patient Sean Kelly (Scott Foley). In season 2 she dates nurse Paul Flowers (Rick Schroder). In season 3 she meets again Sean Kelly and starts a new relationship with him, but when J.D. reveals his feelings for her, she leaves Sean at once. Then it's J.D. who leaves Elliot, after realizing he has confused love with friendship. In season 4 she dates J.D.'s brother Dan (Tom Cavanagh), and then a man named Jake (Josh Randall). The two break up when Elliot realizes that Jake doesn't really know her. In season 6, Elliot gets engaged to fellow Sacred Heart doctor Keith Dudemeister (Travis Schuldt) but breaks it off when she realizes that she does not truly love him.

Keith Dudemeister[edit]

Elliot starts a sex-only relationship with intern Keith Dudemeister in "My Buddy's Booty", much to J.D.'s chagrin. Eventually, however, they begin a romantic relationship, and, after navigating a rough patch, they declare their love for each other. Keith proposes to Elliot at the end of "My Turf War," and she says yes in the following episode.[22] Elliot soon realizes that she does not truly love him (even nearly cheating on him with J.D.), however, and cancels the wedding.[23] He despises her for the rest of the season, but they finally bury the hatchet in the season 8 episode "My Jerks", when she apologizes for hurting him.

Sean Kelly[edit]

Elliot meets Sean (Scott Foley) in the Season 1 episode "My Way or the Highway", when he is a patient of hers. Knowing that he has the many of the same insecurities as her, Elliot is instantly attracted to him and eventually asks him out. Their relationship ends in "My Sacrificial Clam", however, when Elliot finds herself unable to juggle a relationship with the stresses of her internship.

Elliot meets Sean again at the beginning of Season 3, when he is with another girl. They begin dating again (much to J.D.'s consternation). Although their relationship is strong, Sean attempts to end it in "My Lucky Night" when he has to move to New Zealand for six months, because he does not believe in long distance relationships, but Elliot convinces him that they can make it work. However, in "His Story II", Elliot comes to believe during Sean's absence that J.D. loves her more and sleeps with him, only to immediately realize the depth of Sean's commitment when he returns from New Zealand, and goes back to him. J.D. initially agrees to remain silent, but when Sean and Elliot begin planning to move in, J.D. tells Elliot how he feels, prompting her to leave Sean for an ultimately doomed relationship with J.D. After breaking up with her in "My Self-Examination", J.D. finds and tries to convince a depressed Sean to take Elliot back in "My Best Friend's Wedding". However, even though Sean arrives at Turk and Carla's wedding to discuss their relationship with Elliot, they do not get back together, to the disappointment of J.D., who was trying to repair their relationship, and in turn, repair his relationship with Elliot. Elliot tells J.D. that "...if Sean and I were meant to be together, I never would have gone home with you that night and sabotaged everything I ever had with him."

Sean appears again in the season 8 episode "My Cuz", in a relationship with Kim Briggs (Elizabeth Banks), the mother of J.D.'s child, Sam. It's revealed that they were introduced by Elliot before she and J.D. had gotten back together, irritating both J.D. and Sean, who still harbored a dislike for each other.


  1. ^ "My Old Man". Scrubs. Season 1. Episode 19. April 9, 2002. NBC. 
  2. ^ "My Fruit Cups". Scrubs. Season 2. Episode 8. November 14, 2002. NBC. 
  3. ^ a b "My Lucky Charm". Scrubs. Season 4. Episode 14. January 25, 2004. NBC. 
  4. ^ "His Story IV". Scrubs. Season 6. Episode 7. February 1, 2007. NBC. 
  5. ^ "My Turf War". Scrubs. Season 6. Episode 18. April 26, 2007. NBC. 
  6. ^ "My Cold Shower". Scrubs. Season 6. Episode 19. May 3, 2007. NBC. 
  7. ^ "My Rule of Thumb". Scrubs. Season 3. Episode 10. January 22, 2004. NBC. 
  8. ^ "My Rite of Passage". Scrubs. Season 5. Episode 2. January 3, 2006. NBC. 
  9. ^ "Sarah Chalke Scrubs Tv Interview". SarahChalkesChannel on Youtube. Uploaded: Jul 31, 2008. Accessed: Aug 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "My Mentor". Scrubs. Season 1. Episode 2. October 4, 2001. NBC. 
  11. ^ "My Old Friend's New Friend". Scrubs. Season 4. Episode 1. August 31, 2004. NBC. 
  12. ^ "My Own American Girl". Scrubs. Season 3. Episode 1. October 2, 2003. NBC. 
  13. ^ a b Sarah Chalke, actress (2007-02-04). Sarah Chalke StarTv interview (Stream). TV Star. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  14. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Sarah Chalke Talks About 'Scrubs' " About.com Hollywood Movies. Accessed September 6, 2011.
  15. ^ "My Overkill". Scrubs. Season 2. Episode 1. September 26, 2002. NBC. 
  16. ^ "My Sex Buddy". Scrubs. Season 2. Episode 11. January 2, 2003. NBC. 
  17. ^ "His Story II". Scrubs. Season 3. Episode 18. April 7, 2004. NBC. 
  18. ^ "My Fault". Scrubs. Season 3. Episode 20. April 22, 2004. NBC. 
  19. ^ "Scrubs - 9.01 JD and Elliot Sneak Peek". BeccaScrubs's Youtube Channel. Uploaded: November 13, 2009. Accessed: September 5, 2011.
  20. ^ "My Best Friend's Wedding". Scrubs. Season 3. Episode 22. May 4, 2004. NBC. 
  21. ^ Special features, Season 1 (Scrubs)
  22. ^ "My Cold Shower". Scrubs. Season 6. Episode 19. May 10, 2007. NBC. 
  23. ^ "My Own Worst Enemy". Scrubs. Season 7. Episode 1. October 25, 2007. NBC.