Kellie Martin as Lucy Knight
|First appearance||September 24, 1998.
(5x01, "Day for Knight")
|Last appearance||February 17, 2000.
(6x14, "All in the Family")
|Portrayed by||Kellie Martin|
|Title||Medical Student (1998-2000)|
|Family||Barbara Knight (mother)
Mr. Knight (father)
In the NBC television series ER, the fictional character Lucy Knight is a medical student portrayed by actress Kellie Martin. The character was part of the show for the 5th and 6th seasons. When she was first introduced on ER, Dr. Doug Ross called her a "by the book" medical student. Kellie Martin's image was removed from the main cast opening credits in the 15th episode of season 6.
Conception and creation
Prior to this role in ER, Martin called herself "One Take Kellie". She was not used to the medical jargon her character had to say, and claimed that it once took 12 takes to correctly pronounce "renal vein thrombosis."
During season 5 she was a third-year medical student. Dr. John Carter was quickly assigned as her resident while she completed her emergency room rotation. Knight and Carter varied between respectful and contentious interactions.
At the beginning of her rotation at County General, she was popular with the attendings and nurses, who often treated her as another colleague. Lucy does run into trouble with Nurse Carol Hathaway after she asks for help with an IV. Lucy, unable to start an IV asks Carol for help and doesn't own up to Carter that she can't start one until they end up in a trauma where she admits the truth. Carter was furious at her for lying to him and said if she ever did so again she would be off his rotation permanently, and the relationship between them was never quite the same. Lucy wound up in trouble with Carter again after a Halloween party at her med school gets out of control and two students nearly die. Angry about work that has been thrown at him at the last minute, Carter leaves Lucy in charge of the party even though, as RA, that is his responsibility. Carter blames Lucy for him losing his RA position and they fight again when Carter overrules her on a case where Lucy's judgment was correct, with Lucy then making comments on her Palm Pilot that Carter accidentally hears that describe his condescending treatment of her. Carter and Lucy eventually come to an agreement after the episode "The Good Fight" when the pair spend a day and evening searching for a little girl's father who has the same extremely rare blood type as she does.
Although the pair find the father, the girl's condition remains critical as the story ends and it's not clear that the blood donation came in time to help save her. At the end of this episode, Carter and Lucy reconcile over the efforts they made. During this episode, Lucy reveals to Carter that she was brought up by her mother, and that she did not know her father.
During the episode The Storm: Part 1, Lucy accidentally karate kicks Carter while performing a work-out video with a patient in an exam room. Carter is knocked over and has to be put on a gurney and treated for a cut head. The pair did make out in the x-ray room, but nothing came from it. Carter ended their brief relationship since it is unethical for medical students and their residents to be romantically involved. Lucy's rotation in the psych department goes exceptionally well, with the senior doctors there ending up audibly impressed with her successful results. It is strongly implied that Lucy will be an excellent doctor but is simply not cut out for emergency medicine.
Near the end of Season 5, it is revealed that Lucy is on Ritalin and has been since high school. Carter urges her to quit and she eventually does. When her performance at County begins to suffer, Lucy goes back on the Ritalin without telling Carter.
Lucy's role in the early episodes of season 6 is rather small, having only minor sub plots such as helping a young artist who was taking cocaine or by urging Dr. Dave Malucci to come forward and admit his possible mistake when using a Bunsen Burner that was thought to have caused an explosion in the ER. The explosion was later proven to have nothing to do with the Bunsen Burner which Dave, thanks to Lucy's urging, admitted to using.
Lucy clashed with nurse Carol Hathaway when they both made a plea for the last bed in a rehab clinic. The bed ultimately went to Carol's patient which led to renewed friction between the pair when the patient did not show up for treatment. Lucy also clashed with Dr. Cleo Finch when Cleo undermined Lucy's judgment in regard to a young boy and his mother who both had alcohol abuse problems.
Lucy was finally able to come into her own and show her potential in the Christmas episode How the Finch Stole Christmas when patient Valerie Paige comes to the ER in desperate need of a heart transplant. Lucy goes above and beyond to ensure Valerie gets the life saving procedure she needs - even going so far as to bang on Dr. Robert Romano's door in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. Though initially angry with her, Romano agrees to do the operation after Lucy berates him for his seemingly flippant attitude towards the dying patient. Though she faces a reprimand from Romano, he seems to have more respect for her from then on.
Later in the episode The Domino Heart, Valerie dies from complications after another surgery, devastating Lucy. This makes her ponder her time at County General and prompts her to give a moving speech to Dr. Luka Kovac about it, "It's never been very easy for me to be here, sometimes I felt like I would never fit in. But at the beginning of every day I have been grateful that I'm walking in here of my own choosing and not being carried in here on some gurney and at the end of every day if I have helped just one person, it's been worth it. And that didn't happen today and it makes me sad...". Luka reminds her that her day is not yet over and that she may still help that one person. At that moment another patient arrives near the ambulance bay, and Luka asks her to assist. The episode ends with them rushing the patient into the ER and Luka teaching her procedures and asking her questions.
In various interviews, Kellie Martin stated that she and the producers felt the character of Lucy was not working, so it was decided that Lucy would be written out of the show permanently. Martin also said that having family members face serious real-life medical issues nixed her interest in working on a medical show. On February 14, 2000, over the course of two episodes, "Be Still My Heart" and "All In The Family", Paul Sobriki (played by David Krumholtz), a man with schizophrenia, checks into the emergency room. Lucy picks up on his mental problems, but Carter noticeably dismisses her and refuses to contact the Psych department on her behalf, leading her to angrily say "Just forget it, Carter!" and stop seeking his advice on the case.
While in a delusional state, Paul later acquires a knife that was to be used to cut a Valentine's Day cake and stabs Knight multiple times before lying in wait for Dr. John Carter. When Carter enters the room and sees a Valentine for Lucy on the floor, he picks it up and looks over it smiling just as Paul emerges from the shadows and stabs him twice before fleeing. Upon glancing at his blood-stained fingers, Carter falls into shock and hits the floor, gazing in surprise at Lucy lying in blood on the other side of the gurney. Both lose consciousness.
Both are later discovered by Dr. Kerry Weaver and immediately taken to the main Trauma rooms to be treated. It's discovered that Lucy had received four serious stab wounds to her internal organs, lung, and neck. Although Dr. Weaver and Dr. Corday are able to stabilize Lucy in the ER, and Corday and Dr. Romano are then able to repair her tissue damage, she soon develops complications, including a pulmonary embolism. Despite the heroic efforts of Doctors Corday and Romano, Knight dies while in the catheter lab awaiting a Greenfield filter.
Lucy's memorial service takes place in the episode "Be Patient", although it is not seen on-screen. In the episode, Carter asks Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen about the funeral. Deb replies that it was quite pleasant, but that it was strange to be attending a funeral for Lucy. That same day, Lucy's mother, Barbara Knight, arrives to clear out her locker. She eventually seeks Carter out and they spend the afternoon talking. She asks Carter if being stabbed hurts. Carter lies and says that it didn't hurt at all in order to put her mind at ease. Carter later talks to a few characters and says Lucy was a better doctor than he gave her credit for. He also says in the Season 6 finale "May Day" that Lucy's death is "partly my fault".
In the episode "A Match Made In Heaven", a letter for Lucy arrives from a med school. She had matched to County, and, had she lived, she would have been given a position as a psych resident.
In the episode Insurrection, originally aired on 10/10/2002, Lucy is referenced during a protest of County General's lack of security in the emergency department. The protest followed an incident where an angered and drug-seeking patient held doctors of the ER at gunpoint. A frustrated Carter, trying to convince Dr. Kerry Weaver that staff shouldn't have to risk their lives to work in the hospital, says, "We've already had a staff member murdered on duty," then "I got stabbed, Lucy got killed, and today Abby and Chen get a gun to their head."
Eight years after Lucy's death, during the 15th season of ER, at the end of the October 16, 2008 episode The Book of Abby, long-serving nurse Haleh Adams shows the departing Abby Lockhart a closet wall where all the past doctors and employees have put their locker name tags. Among them, the tag "Knight" can be seen. The same happens when Dr. Neela Rasgotra on episode 20 Shifting Equilibrium put her tag name on that wall.
- Christopher Chulack (director); Jack Orman (writer) (1999-05-13). "Responsible Parties". ER. Season 5. Episode 21. NBC.
- Yoo, Paula (7 December 1998). "Talking with...Kellie Martin" 50 (21). People.
I'm One-Take Kellie," says Martin, recalling one recent episode. "And it took One-Take Kellie 12 takes to say "renal vein thrombosis!'
- The Complete fifth season: ER DVD. 1998. Disk1/Side B, Episode 8.
- The Complete fifth season: ER DVD. 1998. Disk2/Side B, Episode 14.
- The Complete sixth season: ER DVD. 1999-2000. Disk2/Side A, Episode 11.
- ER Series 6, Episode 15.