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  • Warning: Spoilers
    During its 6 season run, Chicago Hope had several inceptions, which different viewers either like or dislike.

    When the show first started out, during the David E. Kelly/Jeffery Geiger era, it was pretty good. It had a dynamic cast, and exciting characters. It primarily dealt with issues of law, and the life of the Jeffery Geiger, a troubled cardiologist, whose wife had drowned his baby during a schizophrenic episode. The most fascinating aspect of the show was "will Jeffery Geiger go crazy.'

    During the show's second season, David E. Kelly decided to leave. The lawyer, Alan Birch was killed off, and Jeffery Geiger took a `leave of absence.' At this point, many of the David E. Kelly and Mandy Patinkin fans decided to give up, saying that the show was no longer as good. With the loss of Alan Birch, the `law aspect' of the show disappeared. However others prefer the `post DEK period.' The show became more of an ensemble, with a great mix of characters. There was quiet Aaron Shutt, who was a good supporting character, feminist Kate Austin, tough Billy Kronk (who ended up in a relationship with his polar opposite, Diane Grad), lothario Danny Nyland and fatherly Philip Watters. Later on Jack McNeil, an orthopedist with a gambling addiction, and Rocky Caroll, a no nonsense doctor were added. This mix of characters did a good job carrying the show for the next two seasons. These seasons were some of the best television I have ever seen. They included storylines involving Danny Nyland and Billy Kronk helping out an inner city youth `doctor.' Kate Austin dealing with her difficult ex husband, and precocious daughter.

    But, by the fourth season, things began to crumble. Danny Nyland (my favorite character), was written out, without a clear reason. Diane and Billy became engaged, married and then parents within one season! Because of this Billy began to loose the edge that made his character interesting. But the biggest nail in the coffin was the fact that Aaron's character had changed overnight! After an aneurysm, he went from being a neurosurgeon, to a psychiatrist. The show attempted to show the more `emotional' side of Aaron, but we had already seen that various times beforehand. Instead of developing the character, they changed him overnight into a `caring sensitive guys,' who attempts to help boys whose brothers had committed suicide. To replace Aaron they added a new neurosurgeon, Lisa Catera (named after a car commercial 'lease a catera). While the character would not have been that bad had they added her a season or two beforehand, the fact that she was `Aaron's replacement' and that she was getting too many storylines, gave the audience the impression that she was being shoved down our throats. Because of this, she became one of the shows most loathed characters.

    By the fifth season, things began to deteriorate completely. Philip Watters was turned from a fatherly figure, into a man whose regretted having an affair with his wife. This was horrible. Two seasons beforehand he revealed to Billy Kronk, that he woke up with and went to bed with the same women for 30 years, and in the episode after Alan's death, felt guilty about starting a relationship with another women. They did a lame storyline with Kate Austin going into space...and added yet ANOTHER annoying character played by Eric Stoltz, who was diagnosing people using his 6th sense. By this point, many frustrated fans began quitting. It clearly should have been the end of the show, but for some odd reason, CBS gave it `a second chance.' In the final episode of that season, they suddenly fired four major characters, Kate Austin, Billy Kronk, Dennis Hancock, and Lisa Catera. As a longtime fan of the show, I would have preferred seeing what happened to them, despite their deterioration 

    The sixth season was an attempt to bring the show back to its roots. While Jeffery Geiger was brought back, he wasn't the same character he was first season. He lost his `will he lose it edge.' He became the `evil one' who fired the rest of the cast. In addition to Geiger, they had three new female doctors running around the hospital. It was very difficult to bond to these characters, especially in the 'absence' of the ones from the previous season. David E. Kelly, was supposed to stay at the helm, but abandoned the show, prompting Jeffery Geiger, to leave the show quickly, this time to take care of his daughter (who had been aged into an annoying 6 year old, a stark contrast to Kate Austin's daughter). By the time the show was done, it had deteriorated once again. In the final episodes of the show, the hospital was purchased by an eccentric millionaire played by James Garner. The last episode was a sad reminder of what the show had become. It dealt with a paralyzed millionaire(who did something in computers) making a pair of `fake hands' so he could move again.
  • Petey-1019 September 2000
    Chicago Hope is a hospital show with amazing cast.Hector Elizondo plays the boss Dr. Phillip Watters.Other doctors include Dr. Aaron Shutt (Alan Arkin), Dr. Jack McNeil (Mark Harmon), Dr. Keith Wilkes (Rocky Carroll) and so on.Mandy Patinkin plays Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, who was gone for a few years but came back in 1999.He fired a few doctors, like Dr. Kathryn Austin (Christine Lahti) and Dr. Robert Yeats (Eric Stoltz).They were replaced by some others, like Dr. Gina Simon (Carla Cugino) and Dr. Jeremy Hanlon (Lauren Holly).To be honest I kind of miss the old characters but these new ones are doing a nice job.Chicago Hope is a great TV show, that is often very touching.It's amazing to watch these people saving lives, but it's sad when they don't succeed in it.Watch Chicago Hope if you want to see TV drama at it's best.
  • oego6 October 2002
    Chicago hope is an absolute classic. David E Kelley triumphed again with this one. Although even I must admit the show grew a little tiresome at the end of its' run, it was still streets ahead of the opposition. The first few years, particularly 94,95, and 96 were just amazing eps', with great true to life (mostly!), well-rounded and heartfelt characters like the eel, camille , schutt and geiger, keeping me tuning in week after week. An awesome show, with such amazingly talented writers and actors! Although not always action packed, the shows deep and subtle storylines would get you hooked, whether 11 (like I was) or 111! I used to love this show so much that i used to beg permission to stay up until 10.30 on a school nite to watch this, and i am sure there were many others just like me! If there are repeats on, please catch them if you can, it will be well worth it! Oh and look out for cameos' by the likes of Julia Styles, Ryan Phillipe, Mena Suvari etc.
  • Chicago hope is one of the best medical dramas, and television shows in general, I have ever seen. The cast is amazing and includes some of Hollywood's top names. The show follows the lives of numerous doctors through their daily work and personal routines. The show tends to be very dramatic, but it has comedic elements. Each character has their own way of dealing with personal loss and trauma, which is a very common element in Chicago Hope. The characters are all different, with diverse personalities and temperaments. Though there is some jargon, it is mostly explained clearly and easy to follow. I find myself relating to some of the characters and their problems. The episodes are very touching and realistic. The on screen chemistry between the characters is incredible. A glimpse into the everyday life of a typical inner city hospital physician. Two thumbs way up!
  • Chicago Hope is full of good actors and dialogue, Hector Elizondo is a notable example. And is fresh in the fact that it has wonderfully light hearted moments which intense programs such as ER lack.

    I have two major problems with the show recently, in that it is severely lacking two characters which I believe made it the best series on television rather just the good series it is now.

    1) Peter Mchnicol as the eel was a wonderful character and he is missed (although its good to see him on Ally Mcbeal) 2) The major flaw in the series though is that Mandy Patinkin is not there. He is such a wonderfully sincere, intense, and brilliantly funny actor that he gave the series a depth not possible without him. For god's sake bring him back.

    Good series, can only be brilliant again with Dr Gieger back at the operating table.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I don't know where people got the impression that Lahti came on after Patinkin left the first time. They were on the show together, quite memorably in my opinion. Lahti was either part of the original cast or added very shortly after it began. And no one is talking about Tommy Wilmette, the ex-husband. He was evil-brilliant. My favorite episode (which I still have on VHS in a packing box somewhere) was when an argument broke out between Geiger and Willmette in the corridor.

    They were facing each other, sort of countering each other's aggression by moving in a circle, and the camera circled with them, giving us a view of both of them, and they were talking over each other at exactly the same decibel, yet you could sort of understand what each was saying. Finally Wilmette prevailed, raising his voice. Geiger says, "That was fun. I'd go two for three, but I have surgery," turned around and left. It was classic! And while I agree it was a mistake to write out Peter MacNichol's character, the lawyer, his death was some of the best dramatic writing I've ever seen in television. He was shot by a patient, and as he was struggling to speak, he said, "You can take steps to make sure the hospital assumes no liability for this..." the gathered cast then cheers and says, "He's going to be just fine!" which as it turns out he wasn't, but he was in every cell of his body a lawyer until the end.

    Then there was the time Camille Schut had, inexplicably, slept with Billy Cronk. The next day she encountered Aaron at a funeral for their mutual longtime rabbi. "You smell like sex," he told her as they were standing around the burial site. "Excuse me," she says. "You smell like sex," he replies, "I've had sex with you and I know that you smell like sex." I thought Diane Grad and Billy Cronk were a great storyline - until they got married. I liked Aaron Schut and his struggle after his stroke. It gave him a chance to really explore his anger. Prior to that, the extent of his emotional range was whining to Hector Elizondo, "Why is everyone else more important than me?" Most of the time I think crossover shows are stupid, but there was one with Picket Fences where reference was made to Cook County General (the hospital portrayed on ER) and Hector Elizondo said, "We never talk about that other hospital." Anyway, Christine Lahti was on with Patinkin during his original stint with the show. His torment of her and his ardent dislike for Tommy WIlmette was one of the points of watching. It was far and above ER in terms of quality and writing. But it did go downhill in the last two seasons.
  • I don't really care for the genre of "doctor" TV shows, but to give Chicago Hope credit, it does have more appeal than the majority of them. I was once a faithful viewer in its first season, after seeing the characters played by Mandy Patinkin and Hector Elizondo on a brilliant "cross over" episode of Picket Fences. Back then, Chicago Hope was admirable for its "quirky" plots and great character development, but over the years it has adapted more of the "formula" doctor show(6 thousand subplots and little chance to "bond" with the characters)and I have moved on. I still catch an occasional rerun on the show, and while it would not convert me back to being a regular viewer.

    I do enjoy the characters of Adam Arkin and Hector Elizondo and the others aren't bad, except Christine Lahti's "feminist" character gets tiresome, and tends to overuse and ugly word that is a part of the male anatomy. Nevertheless, even an episode consisting of her, Jayne Brook and Stacy Edwards going to the mountains that I thought I would loathe did not turn out to be too bad, considering. Mark Harmon and Peter Berg's characters bring a slight amount of life, but as I said, it's still not enough to make me watch the show regularly and I hope it does not steal viewers away from Frasier, as it prepares to face against it in the 1999-2000 season. It's not THAT great.
  • Coxer9922 March 1999
    Started off great with Mandy Patinkin in the lead, but when he left and Christine Lahti stepped in, the quality got lost. While Hector Elizondo still gives great performances episode after episode, the show doesn't have its original punch. Peter MacNicol and E.G. Marshall were wonderful members of the original cast while Berg annoys incessantly. Harmon isn't really in the show much; he just sticks his head in once and a while. One more year and it'll be gone.
  • I used to watch this show every week till it ended, though it may be in syndication and on my TV at some late hour. I always watched the show every week and I particularly liked the attractive Adam Arkin, and Nurse Camille (Roxanne Hart) as his wife. One episode about both of them getting back together was very romantic and touching. Mandy Patinkin was good as the sometimes temperamental Dr.Geiger. Also I liked Hector Elizondo as Dr. Watters, the head of the hospital. I didn't care much for Christine Lahti. In my view, she is not a very good actress. I don't know why they haven't brought out some of the episodes on DVD/VHS. I would buy it and probably lots of others.Its better than a lot of junk you see on DVD. I would buy it and probably lots of others.
  • I love this show!!! I love the characters--well, not the new ones. I think the 5th season was so great! I mean, Eric Stoltz was on! I think it's horrible how things have been going downhill, and to be honest, I don't think pitting Chicago Hope against Frasier is going to help. Nevertheless, I think the ability to mix the hospital situations with the individual problems of the staff is great. There isn't too much focus on personal problems, but enough so it isn't too hospital-oriented.

    Finally, being the sap that I am, I like that they manage to incorporate relationships without them becoming the focus. And I'd just like to say that I really think the Kate Austin/Bobby Yeats thing was brilliant, and should've been pursued. I just saw the episode "McNeil and Pray" and they were great! When she's reaming him out, "Oh come on! I'm sure she wasn't influenced by those seductive blue eyes, boyish good looks, that thing you do with your hair..." Okay, I didn't get it all but it was great! And when they're at the Christmas party and that guy says, "Well okay, whisper to someone you choose" to Bobby and he goes and whispers in Kate's ear, it's priceless! That was definitely my favourite episode-and not just because of that.

    Okay, I'm sorry I've gone on and on, but this is the only show I really like to watch on tv.
  • When Chicago Hope first came on the air in 1994, the cast was superb, it starred Adam Arkin, Mandy Patinkin and Hector Elizondo, what a shame that Mandy Patinkin Left. I really thought he made the show work out well and gave it humor and excitement. I hope he returns.
  • Hey people,

    I am a real life doctor, and watching CH really makes my night. Adam Arkin is one REAL talented actor; the role he has to play is not an easy one, yet he does it so well. Mark Harmon is another hunk. Eric too does a fine job, although personally he was portrayed as a little rebellious guy, which doesn't actually work in the medic world. But soon he captures the audience.

    dr.hemant pande
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I do not regularly enjoy doctor shows, especially since I am the one who will outright refuse to see doctors for anything (and I'm only 19). However, my mother watching this show during my sophomore year of high school prompted me to watch it too, and ask lots of questions.

    The show takes place at Chicago Hope hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and focuses on the lives of several doctors working there, under the guidance and helm of Dr. Philip Watters (Hector Elizondo). In the season I saw in entirety, the 1998-99 season, there was Dr. Bobby Yeates (Eric Stoltz), a free spirit, who consistently clashed with Dr. Kate Austen (Christine Lahti), Dr. Jack MacNeil (the very handsome Mark Harmon), and orthoscopic doctor, Dr. Aaron Shott (Adam Arkin), who is now a psychiatrist after suffering an anyerism (sp?), Dr. Caccachi, who ends up taking his own life by jumping off the roof (I NEVER liked him, and I was with Jack--pull the plug, he's done for), and Billy and Diane, who are juggling their careers with new parenthood.

    This show is interesting, because I've learned so many different kinds of hospital terms that I probably wouldn't otherwise know. This show combines the drama of saving lives with some essential humor (especially from Jack MacNeill--you couldn't have found a better person to play this role!). My favorite episode is the first episode I ever saw, the 100th episode, in which Philip becomes ill and halucinates that Allan Birch (Peter MacNichol) has come back. That episode was freaky, but it ended well, with Philip recovering. My one question: Did Jack date EVERY woman in the hospital?

    In all, this is a great show, with a great cast. I try to catch the reruns as often as they air on Lifetime. If you get the chance, watch it too. You seriously won't regret it.
  • Sorry you had to read that one line summary, but it's my sincere opinion. Chicago Hope is an excellent show. I've seen most of it since 1994. But it can't stand up to ER, which's the best medical drama ever created (by Michael Crichton himself). Chicago Hope was the first David E. Kelley series I've seen. It's just as good as Ally McBeal or The Practice. The stories got a lot better this season. I liked Eric Stoltz's Dr. Robert Yeates. The live episode about the angel show (probably related to CBS's Touched by an Angel) was EXCELLENT. Yeates was incredibly funny. But Christine Lahti's Dr. Kathryn Austin is my favorite character so far. She definetely deserved the Emmy and the Golden Globe for best actress. The theme song is the best part of the show. It's as good as James Newton Howard's ER theme or the NYPD Blue theme.

    As I said, Chicago Hope can't match ER, but it's definetely worth watching. Well done David E. Kelley, John Tinker and Bill D'Elia!
  • I wanted to like this more than I did, my rating reflects my feelings. I've worked in hospitals all my working life, from age 13 as a volunteer until my retirement from being a nurse at 63. This is a well written hospital drama, about the various people who are involved in healthcare, from the physicians to the patients to even the visitors at times. The actors do a terrific job with their roles, but the flaw lies in the writing. In order to make it interesting to the viewing audience, they, well, take artistic license with how things are actually done. Doctors being shown, routinely doing things that are actually done by other healthcare workers in real life is one of the big errors. While this has almost always been done in fictional hospital dramas, that still doesn't make it right. There is plenty of drama in real life healthcare and the interpersonal dynamics between all the workers, patients, relatives, and friends and all the other people that come and go in an average hospital day, that I have seen over my career. There's certainly no reason to invent false behavior to make it more interesting. FWIW, I have yet to see a hospital show that DOESN'T go overboard falsifying what actually happens, in trying to attract a larger audience. Still, just like war movies aren't like real war, police dramas aren't like real police work, and cowboy shows aren't like how it was like in the old west, this show is entertaining. Just don't think it's like what happens in real life, or that being a doctor, nurse, technician, or any role in this show reflects what it is like in real life. For the show, 8/10 stars, for the realism, 3/10. Overall, 5/10.
  • Aired at the same time as ER, unlike the latter, the situations are funnier and seem less realistic (although based on actual cases). It is a bit hard for me to remain objective as this is the series that made me discover David E.Kelley and remain a fan to these days. Here, the sense of humor is second degree, a bit cynical sometimes but always in line with human feelings. All I can recommend is that you watch and see...
  • I can't believe CHICAGO HOPE has a ratings of 6.7. This was one of the very best dramas of the 90's. The cast headed by Mandy Patinkin(at first) and then by Adam Arkin was excellent. Listening to Mandy Patinkin's unique singing style was always a strange joy. It also had a great quirky element to it one episode being when Jeremy Piven had a permanent erection (why do I remember this)was hilarious. was also an episode in which a patient had a spear through his head and what seemed like a ridiculous television story was not so as there have been numerous incidents of this kind since. Like most fans I was saddened when Mandy left the show but when he returned I realized how the standard had not dropped without him,it was just different. I haven't seen the show for many years and wish it would return to free to air television. It would be great daytime or late night viewing now. Like most great shows it had great writing and the name In talking about actors there was none better than Christine Lahti but all the female leads were excellent. David E Kelley is the classiest name in television writing. Great cameos in the show by names like Rip Torn and Alan Arkin as well. So for me a 9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I loved this show when it first began. I watched it over the more popular "ER" in the first season, when they were opposite each other on different networks, and I liked the complexity of the characters. Mandy Patinkin as Jeffrey Geiger made the show for me, but once his character left (after having a breakdown), the show gradually lost its luster for me. Bringing Mandy's character back towards the end was too little too late, and his character's edge had gone from a brilliant but difficult surgeon to just an angry man. It was hard to watch what began as a very good medical drama sink into evening soap opera melodrama. Peter MacNichol's character was killed off, Adam Arkin's character seemed more and more lost and confused, and I eventually stopped watching because the program lost its initial edge and direction. Mandy Patinkin doesn't seem to be able to start a television series and stay with it (he also left "Criminal Minds") and while I understand his personal reasons, it is frustrating because his talent is prodigious and his departures left both shows wanting in his absence. "Chicago Hope" had a marvelous beginning with a wonderful cast, but it became terminally ill and a shadow of its former self and gradually died a slow and painful death, which was sad because the potential which was evident in its early years was gradually lost and it limped off, a shadow of its former self, it its final season.
  • "Chicago Hope" is one of my favorite shows of all time. The cast was as good as it gets, and the writing was great. My "hope" is that it will be released to DVD soon, so that I can eliminate the over 40 episodes, so far, that I have saved on my TIVO. My favorite episodes are ones that feature Christine Lahti, and, or Mandy Patinkin. They are two of the best actors working today. If you like great drama that is also very funny at times, then you will love Chicago Hope. You will be amazed at all of the famous people you will recognize on the show. Every show had wonderful guest stars. The actress that played Dr. Austins daughter, Mae Whitman is also wonderful.

    PLEASE release Chicago Hope to DVD !!!!!

  • I really love Chicago Hope for all of the reasons previously stated... But ... In my area the reruns appear on D-HC the health channel --- Unfortunately they are limited to about 20 episodes and I have seen each of these many many times... I think it is about time to see Chicago Hope on DVD... I also would like to see St. Elsewhere and Trapper John MD... Maybe I am living in a time warp but I really miss the old shows... I also like Crossing Jordan and several other new shows that have not hit the DVD market...

    If you agree with me... Please vote for these shows to be released on DVD.

    Thanks talk to you soon, Doll
  • I really enjoy watching Chicago Hope. I started watching it this summer and continued to watch as many episodes as possible. I really enjoy watching Christine Lahti(Kate Austin) because she is a very beautiful and talented actress. I like the way each character has their own life and problems along with the problems in the hospital. I just started watching the new season and even though many of the actors left, it's still pretty good. I recommend Chicago Hope to anyone!!!
  • Dr. Robert Yeats has graced the set of Chicago Hope this season --- how could a passionate Stoltz fan be more pleased than to see him on television every week? I have always believed he knows how to choose a good script, and he strikes again on one of the best written dramas. I am not an avid television watcher, but Chicago Hope is definitely my favorite of the medical shows. Stoltz has the ability to develop characters worth watching...anything from a philosophical mime to a poker-playing landscaper...I am anxious to see the motivation behind this sexy Buddhist doctor and see how he fits in with Chicago Hope's intellectual humor and zany antics to personal problems. I especially enjoyed last week's episode of Yeats dealing with Deloris, because his character is becoming more three-dimensional. He was given more time to actually be `watched', not rushed through the scenes. I cannot say enough good things about this career move and how glad I am to see Stoltz on C.H. Bottom line: it is a great show gone better.
  • Jeffrey Geiger, played exquisitely by Mandy Patinkin, was the heart and soul of the show. He added depth and realism to a melo-drama. In the times of fix it and get out, like its predecessor ER, Hope added just that hope. This show added something deeper than excitement it added warmth to the over worked doctors. Allowing us to sympathize with the hardship they go through everyday, not just in their work lives, but with their personal ones as well.
  • Chicago Hope is a typical David E. Kelley production, relishing the extreme and the bizarre in favour of the more traditional themes and occurences found in similar shows such as ER. I started watching around the time Christine Lahti and co. joined the show, and found it to be moderately enjoyable, sweetened by the on-screen chemistry between characters and the light touch of humour ever present in each show. However, of late, Chicago Hope has fallen into the trap of believing "out with the old and with the new" will not be a complete and total disaster.

    Entirely replacing the cast except for two characters and bringing back the most annoying one of all, Dr Geiger, was an horrendous mistake. Chicago Hope is a drama, it's not a soap opera - you can't just replace the whole cast and expect things to carry on as normal. The strong scripts may still be there but the whole basis of a good television show is the characters themselves, not the actual script itself. Obviously good writing is necessary but the way in which the actors materialise it is the most important element. Given this, replacing the entire cast with a bunch of people the audience doesn't have a clue about was not a wise move. If you reach a point where the cast doesn't want to be involved any more, then that is the time to call it quits so at least the audience is left with fond memories of the show in its glory days, as opposed to the situation now where it will die a slow death, fading into oblivion with poor ratings and disheartened fans.
  • I am a more recent viewer to Chicago Hope, Eric Stoltz drew me. Not being a doc show fan as a rule, I find myself becoming hooked on the series and, while I enjoy Eric Stoltz's acting in general and his character, Dr. Yeates, on Chicago Hope enormously, I am also enjoying the other characters who are beginning to take on lives of their own before my eyes. I am watching CH syndicated reruns with interest now. I understand Stoltz was given creative control over his character, Robert Yeates, and I think he's doing a really fine job. "Bobby Yeates" lightens up the tension around the hospital setting with much-needed humor, his energy quirky as it is. Stoltz is a shot of B12 for Chicago Hope, I think. The innocent almost naive stance coupled with the not-supposed-to-be-intentional tension Yeats creates between himself and the other characters is downright comical. Brilliant. It leaves me wanting more. I enjoy the way he fits in, yet plays off the others creating that tension. It is my understanding Stoltz signed on for only one season. While I would continue to watch the series after Stoltz's tenure, I would all the more love to see him stay on for another season. I feel the Yeates character hasn't had adequate time to develop and it would be a shame to see him just disappear now. Much more can be done with the character Yeats and I'd like to see this happen. Finally, if Chicago Hope has not received an Emmy to date or does not receive one for this season in particular, I'd like to know why. I would encourage CBS to sign Eric Stoltz on for at least another season. Either way.., I'm hooked... Angela
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