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Chicago Hope is an Americanmarker medical drama series created by David E. Kelley that ran from September 18, 1994 to May 5, 2000. It takes place in a fictional private charity hospital.


The show stars Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, a hot shot surgeon with emotional issues stemming from the psychiatric condition of his wife (Kim Greist) who drowned their infant son. Adam Arkin plays Patinkin's colleague and best friend. Peter MacNicol and Hector Elizondo feature as the house counsel and director of medicine, respectively. Christine Lahti joined in the second season as a talented cardiac surgeon with a feminist chip on her shoulder who vies with Geiger for the chief of surgery position.


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

The show stayed in that slot and performed well with ratings peaking at 11.9 and 20 shares. In the second season, however, Kelley and Patinkin decided to leave the show and Chicago Hope began its slow march toward cancellation. The show was moved to Wednesdays at 10pm 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 including newcomers Barbara Hershey and Lauren Holly but excluding Lahti, Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Stacy Edwards. They also moved the show back to Thursday nights against NBC's Frasier and ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; however, this proved too daunting a task, and the show was canceled in May 2000.

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.

Nielsen ratings

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° Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers

(in millions)
1st Thursday 10:00PM September 18, 1994 May 22, 1995 1994–1995 #29 11.161
2nd Monday 10:00PM September 18, 1995 May 20, 1996 1995–1996 #24 11.412
3rd Monday 10:00PM September 16, 1996 May 19, 1997 1996–1997 #30 10.185
4th Wednesday 10:00PM October 1, 1997 May 13, 1998 1997–1998 TBA TBA
5th Wednesday 10:00PM September 30, 1998 May 19, 1999 1998–1999 TBA TBA
6th Thursday 9:00PM September 23, 1999 May 4, 2000 1999–2000 TBA TBA
°Times listed are in ET


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.



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

Emmy awards

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 Hector 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"


Chicago Hope has aired for six straight seasons and 141 episodes.


  • Many of the actors have appeared together in other TV shows since Chicago Hope. Three members of the show have been on the CBS hit show NCIS: Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Lauren Holly played Director Jenny Shepard, and Rocky Carroll plays Leon Vance, the new director after Holly's exit from the show. All three actors shared scenes together during the fifth season of NCIS. Additionally, Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson worked together on the hit show Criminal Minds for two seasons.

  • The name of the character that Stacy Edwards portrayed, Lisa Catera, is based on the phrase from the Cadillac commercials, "Lease a Catera".


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

  • On 18 November 1999, Chicago Hope became the first regular series episode to be broadcast in HDTV. The episode was entitled, "The Other Cheek".

  • Also, the series was the first to use the word "shit" on network television. It was spoken by Mark Harmon's character after a meeting, in which he says "shit happens"


  • Adam Arkin, Mandy Patinkin, and Christine Lahti (neurosurgeon Aaron Shutt, cardiothoracic surgeons Jeffrey Geiger and Dr. Kate Austin, respectively) all appeared in the 1991 film The Doctor.
  • The series has yet to be released on Region 1 DVD.

In Popular Culture

  • In the South Park episode "Worldwide Recorder Concert," Kyle Broflowski asks Eric Cartman if he knows what he is thinking, to which Eric Cartman replies "that they should bring back Chicago Hope for another season?"

See also


  4. CEA: Digital America - HDTV

External links

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