Greg Pratt's fate on ER -- too soon?
We all know that ER is famous for its deaths. Not only of the patients that are served by Chicago's County General but of its staff as well. Particularly in its emergency room. Fact of the matter is, there have been so many deaths of ER personnel that I'm surprised that a police investigation hasn't been opened to determined if they were natural or a bit suspicious. Some of these deaths have been shocking, such as Lucy Knight's during season six. Others were long in coming, like Mark Greene's peaceful death in season 8.
As ER began its fifteenth and last season on Thursday fans were presented with the death of another long-standing character, Greg Pratt, who decided to travel on the ambulance that exploded at the end of last season. My question is this: did his death come too soon?
There's a good chance that the decision to terminate Pratt in the season premiere was Mekhi Phifer's since he had expressed a wish to leave the show after nearly a decade. However, should this death have taken place at the beginning of the season, or at all? I understand that ER has made it somewhat of a tradition over the last few seasons to put its doctors in mortal peril at the end of each season, but the results have usually been positive and the doctors have recovered. By ending Phifer's role as Pratt right at the beginning of the season just seemed a bit too convenient.
Granted, it allows the return of Noah Wyle to the series as well as the introduction of Angela Bassett to the show (as another attending who has issues with the ER staff. Big surprise.), but it leaves an empty anchor spot on the show, especially since Maura Tierney will be departing shortly. As the last season of ER will be a shortened one there won't be a chance to establish the status quo. What this could mean is that the show goes out with a whimper rather than a well-deserved bang.
So, what do you think? Should Pratt have remained alive, at least for a bit of time, until the staff had time to adjust to the new status quo? Or, was his death the best thing to lead ER into the best season of its history?