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
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)
Nana Hobbs (grandmother-in-law)
Grandma Dorian (grandmother-in-law, deceased)
Spouse(s) John Dorian
Children Unnamed daughter
Sam Perry Gilligan Dorian (step-son)

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."

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

Family history[edit]

She was the daughter of Simon and Lily Reid (Lane Davies and Markie Post), and was of German descent. Her father was chief of medicine at St. Augustine's, 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 was a cold, self-absorbed alcoholic, and her father tried to interfere with her career; he eventually cut her off financially after he tried to push her to specialize in gynecology and she refused.[2] Elliot had several brothers who were also doctors but were never portrayed on the show; one of these unseen characters was 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 was a Republican and supported 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 began as an intern and later became a resident after a grueling yearlong internship. She served as co-chief resident with J.D. during Season 4. At the end of that season, she briefly left to take an endocrinology fellowship, which ended five days later after her research partner found a cure for osteogenesis imperfecta, the disease they were researching.[8] After a brief spell at a free clinic, she returned to Sacred Heart and became a senior attending physician. At the end of the episode "My Coffee," she accepted 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 pondered her future career after struggling to deliver the bad news to a patient diagnosed with H.I.V., and told Turk that if she were lucky enough to get married and to have enough money to survive without working, she would "walk out of this place and never look back."


When first introduced, Elliot was portrayed as socially awkward and hyper-competitive, but her personality was modified slightly by the second episode. According to Chalke, her character was shown totally lacking "social skills."[9] She became a chatterbox who put her foot in her mouth at every conceivable opportunity (in "My Mentor," she asked an overweight woman, "When's the baby due?" and accidentally insulted 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 was cold and mechanical, although in later seasons she was shown to bond with several patients. Her bedside manner (or lack thereof) was part of the reason that Dr. Cox decided 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 was frequently shown telling "inspirational stories" to fellow staff and patients that invariably ended with someone killing themselves, to the extent that by "My Happy Place" it had become the expected result of any story she began. In the episode "My Fishbowl," she admitted that she had attempted suicide as a teenager.

In Season 3, Elliot underwent a notable transformation; she began dressing and grooming herself in a more sexually provocative manner and adopted 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 for the network's coveted young male demographic. A short feature on the Season 3 DVD set titled "The New Elliot" explained the reasons for the makeover and the response it engendered from Chalke and the show's writers.

Chalke, speaking about her character, has noted how much Elliot changed through the run of "Scrubs." At the start of the series, Elliot was a competitive and independent person until she realized that she needed the help and support of her co-workers.[13] Chalke said that Elliot's transformation in the episode "My Own American Girl" did not really help her life, and that Elliot was still "on a never-ending journey to find respect [in Season 4], and now she's a lot more confident and together."[13]

Relationships with other characters[edit]


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

In the Season 1 episode "My Drug Buddy," they started a relationship, but broke up in the following episode. They repaired their friendship, but it was later revealed that they still had feelings for each other,[15] and they began sleeping together again in "My Monster." They decided to be "sex buddies" without romantic involvement, but this ended after only a few days, with J.D. realizing that he had deep feelings for her.[16] In Season 3, J.D. again realized his feelings for her as she rekindled her relationship with an old boyfriend, Sean. Later in the season, J.D. and Elliot slept together again.[17] Although Elliot initially decided to stay with Sean, she later left him to be with J.D. However, J.D. soon broke up with Elliot after realizing that he didn't love her after all.[18] In Season 4, following Elliot's brief fling with J.D.'s brother, Dan (Tom Cavanagh), they once again repaired their friendship and then moved in together in Season 5, after J.D has no where to live.

J.D. and Elliot also had a very close friendship built on their shared experiences as residents at the hospital, similarities in their personalities, and their knowledge of each other's quirks and issues. In the episode "My Cold Shower," J.D. realized that he might still have feelings for Elliot; in the Season 6 finale, "My Point of No Return," they leaned 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 realized she was making a mistake and pulled away, asserting that the almost-kiss had nothing to do with her feelings for J.D.

Later in Season 7, there were some subtle hints that Elliot and J.D. might be getting closer, and possibly romantically involved. For instance, the episode "My Waste of Time" ended with J.D. and Elliot sitting in a cafe, commenting on how everyone thought they were together, then playing with J.D.'s son, Sam, as if they were a family. Also, in "My Bad Too," Turk told Carla (in unsubtitled Spanish), "Those two will be getting back together in five weeks." In the Season 7 finale, "My Princess," Elliot and J.D. agreed that the almost-kiss, a point of tension between them, had nothing to do with their feelings and had merely been a response to stress. However, at the end, Dr. Cox, who was telling the story, said, "They decided that their almost-kiss... meant nothing. Because in the end, they were both idiots," perhaps suggesting that he thought they were stupid for not realizing that they still had feelings for each other. In the Season 8 episode "My Happy Place," Elliot and J.D. reevaluated their relationship after an unexpected comment from Dr. Kelso, admitting their lingering feelings for each other. However, it was only after Dr. Kelso told them to do whatever made them happy that they decided to give their relationship another chance. J.D. and Elliot were shown to officially be a couple again in "My Cookie Pants."

In the Season 8 episode "My Cuz," J.D. left Sacred Heart to move closer to his son. Though Elliot remained at Sacred Heart, she moves in with J.D., despite the long commute. Before J.D. left the hospital for good, he had a prolonged fantasy (implied to be a flash-forward) that showed him and Elliot getting married and having at least one child together. By the start of Season 9, set a year after the Season 8 finale, they were married and expecting their first child.[19]


Elliot and Carla initially clashed over their duties at the hospital and Elliot's somewhat condescending attitude, but they gradually became close friends. Carla became a source of personal and professional advice for Elliot; for her part, Carla revealed before her wedding[20] that she felt closer to Elliot than to her own sisters. After Carla's marriage, the two began to drift apart, but when they realized it, they vowed to work harder on maintaining their friendship.[3] Carla supported Elliot through her various breakups and was overjoyed to see Elliot and J.D. become a couple again.

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


Despite clashing initially, Elliot and Turk grew to be friends, a relationship begun in "My Mentor" when Turk told Carla to give Elliot a break. In "My Heavy Meddle," he convinced Elliot, who had just broken up with J.D., to mend their relationship for the sake of the group dynamic. Throughout the series, Turk watched out for Elliot, J.D., and Carla, and occasionally acted as a go-between. The flash-forward scene at the end of "My Finale" showed all of them together as a happy family.

Dr. Cox[edit]

In Season 1, Elliot was 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 responded by constantly berating her, a trend that would continue throughout the series. He occasionally showed signs of support, however; in "My Blind Date," he relied on her as a replacement "go-to guy" when J.D. was busy, and in "My Dream Job," he defended her from Kelso's verbal abuse by punching him.

From Season 3 on, their relationship was one of mutual contempt, based mostly on trading quips and insults. Even so, Cox continued to give her personal and professional advice (albeit in the form of mockery), and in "My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu," they admitted that, while they didn't like each other, they did respect each other.

Molly Clock[edit]

Molly Clock (Heather Graham) was Elliot's close friend and mentor in Season 4; in "Her Story," Elliot saw Molly as a role model even after Molly made some questionable choices. Molly moved to Milwaukee in "My Last Chance" and told J.D. to ask Elliot's permission for the two of them (Molly and J.D.) to sleep together; Elliot used the situation to get even with J.D. after J.D. had kissed Molly. Later, J.D. nearly began a relationship with Molly but left to further his relationship with Kylie.


Elliot and the Janitor had a friendly if asymmetric relationship; she viewed him as a nice hospital employee, while he harbored an intense schoolboy crush on her. She finally realized his feelings for her in "My Best Laid Plans," when he confessed them outright and went on to say that she was the only doctor who treated him like a person. Elliot was seemingly oblivious to the Janitor's true nature of tormenting the other staff members, because she was usually only exposed to his softer, helpful side. The Janitor's nickname for Elliot was "Blonde Doctor."

Romantic relationships[edit]

In Season 1, she dated her former patient Sean Kelly (Scott Foley). In Season 2, she dated Nurse Paul Flowers (Rick Schroder). In Season 3, she met Sean again and started a new relationship with him, but when J.D. revealed his feelings for her, she left Sean. Then it was J.D. who left Elliot after realizing he had confused love with friendship. In Season 4, Elliot dated J.D.'s brother, Dan (Tom Cavanagh), and then a man named Jake (Josh Randall). They broke up when Elliot realized that Jake did not really know her. In Season 6, Elliot got engaged to fellow Sacred Heart doctor Keith Dudemeister (Travis Schuldt), but broke it off when she realized that she did not truly love him.

Keith Dudemeister[edit]

Elliot started a sex-only relationship with intern Keith Dudemeister in "My Buddy's Booty," much to J.D.'s chagrin. Eventually, they began a romantic relationship and, after navigating a rough patch, declared their love for each other. Keith proposed to Elliot at the end of "My Turf War," and she said yes in the following episode.[22] However, Elliot soon realized that she did not truly love him (even nearly cheating on him with J.D.), and she canceled the wedding.[23] He despised her for the rest of the season, but they finally buried the hatchet in the Season 8 episode "My Jerks," when she apologized for hurting him.

Sean Kelly[edit]

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

Elliot met Sean again at the beginning of Season 3, when he was with another girl. They began dating again (much to J.D.'s consternation). Although their relationship was strong, Sean tried to end it in "My Lucky Night" when he had to move to New Zealand for six months, because he did not believe in long-distance relationships, but Elliot convinced him that they could make it work. However, in "His Story II," Elliot came to believe during Sean's absence that J.D. loved her more and slept with him, only to realize the depth of Sean's commitment when he returned from New Zealand. She then went back to Sean. J.D. initially agreed to remain silent, but when Sean and Elliot began planning to move in together, J.D. told Elliot how he felt, prompting her to leave Sean for an ultimately doomed relationship with J.D. After breaking up with Elliot in "My Self-Examination," J.D. found a depressed Sean and tried to get him to take Elliot back in "My Best Friend's Wedding." Sean arrived at Turk and Carla's wedding to talk to Elliot about their relationship, but they did not get back together — to the disappointment of J.D., who was trying to repair their relationship and, in turn, his own friendship with Elliot. Elliot told J.D., "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 appeared 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 was revealed that Sean and Kim had been introduced by Elliot before she and J.D. got 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.