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Greg Pratt's fate on ER -- too soon?

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 29th 2008 1:07PM

Greg Pratt -- Too soon to go?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?

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Mekhi was eager to leave the show. His character could have left in a different manner, but ER needed a "BANG" to bring people back to watching the show. I feel that ER tends to kill too many characters: Gant, Gallant, Pratt, Knight, and a host of outside of main characters (not patients but Raul, the Chens, Romano, Lopez, Al Boulet). This season is a bit of a lack of status quo. That is the nature of this ER since the start. IN the beginning, the show has showed that their is little stability within the ER. They want to bring some of that back. There are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before the end of the season. Their is not going to be a bang to end the season. ER shows that life goes on, with a bang and with a whimper. The last show will probably just have life in the ER go on as usual, with a bang and whimper all at once.

October 15 2008 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In general, I've gotten sick of the deaths on ER. In the beginning, we didn't really feel the need to kill someone off unless it helped plot. I think Lucy's death was a great step, if only to shock us and keep us in tune with the show. Now, though, it's like the only way they can get rid of a character is killing them! The worst being Romano's death with the helicopter. I thought that was terrible, and honestly, I stopped watching the show after that. It was unbelievable and unnecessary.

October 02 2008 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I stopped watching ER the middle of last season. Got sick of tired of Abby's booze problem and the other nurse sleeping with everybody. Plus John Stamos is not cute anymore.
That is who they should have killed off. Gates. Works my nerves that character, and not in a good way like Benton used to do.
I was sad to see Pratt killed off. Very surprised, but if that is what he wanted, then so be it.
Maybe this show has been on the air too long, but it deserves to go out with a bang. This show broke ground when it first aired, and was always a water cooler favorite. For a while anyway.
This last season better be good.

September 30 2008 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JR's comment

So, you stopped watching it midway last series, but were sad by Pratt's death.
That's very clever.

October 11 2008 at 4:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He was the reason I stopped watching the show -- his character was so unlikeable and abrasive and it seemed to permeate to the other characters. I'll give it another chance once angela bassett comes back in two weeks.

Will not miss Pratt at all....

September 30 2008 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Tracey - Speaking just for myself, I wasn't "upset" about the spoiler alert - esp. since I'm no longer a regular ER iewer - I just thought it was funny to read the giveaway headline followed by a spoiler alert. I just wanted to rib the writer a bit. Peace :-)

September 29 2008 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't understand what everyone is so upset about regarding spoilers. The way I read it, Pratt dying was not the spoiler. It aired last week and there's been so much buzz over the weekend, I don't see that as news anymore, although with DVR's there will always be someone who hasn't seen it yet. I think the spoilers were more about what happens next, i.e. Noah Wylie, Angela Bassett and Maura Tierney. But that's just me.

I really wish they would put up a review of True Blood. I keep checking back for one today, but nothing.....

September 29 2008 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mekhi was on Bonnie Hunt last week, and seemed very happy with the way the show was going to go. That's when I searched for the spoiler and saw he was to die. If he's happy about it, why should anyone else feel differently?

September 29 2008 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was shocked that Greg Pratt was allowed to die in the first ER episode of the season. I really wanted to see him have some fulfillment after all of the angst he has been through during his tenure at County General. I will now have to settle for the brief happiness we saw for him in the last episode of last season.

I have enjoyed watching Pratt's character grow into a very capable doctor who, I feel, deserved the promotion to head of the ER, so I was saddened to see it all end so suddenly and unnecessarily soon.

I agree that some of the characters can be annoying, but it is only through showing all of their quirks that we see character development and they seem like real human beings. Just as in real life, it takes all kinds of people to make up the world. In the long run, it is the writers' remarkable abilities to create the idiosyncrasies of each character that have contributed to the lengthy run of the program.

I will miss this show tremendously when it finally ends later this season.

September 29 2008 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am not a regular follower of ER, but I do catch it sometimes in the mornings on TNT, and I am going to try my best to watch the last season. I think with Pratt gone, I don't really know what to expect know, they didn't even leave a cliffhanger at the end of the show. I liked Pratt, but I am sure anyone that watches ER has a favorite character that got killed off. I think it's silly to kill off someone because the actor wants it done, Maura Tierney wanted her character killed off a while back, and it hasn't happened yet. We don't know what is in store yet, so it's 50/50 on whether Pratt should have been killed off. If you haven't watched Thursday's episode by now you got no reason to complain about a "spoiler", if the episode hadn't been aired yet I could understand, but most people have seen it by now.

September 29 2008 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for letting us know that we can expect an annoucement on Wednesday. Even those who have not voiced their concerns have noticed the lack of reviews and have wondered.

September 29 2008 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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