Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nine Years of Abigail "Abby" Lockhart, an ER review

You might not know, that I am a hardcore ER fan. Well, you certainly will now! But what made me interested, what kept me coming back and want to venture into the bowl abruption of an ER patient was 1 character in particular. Her name was Abby Lockhart. And we are here to discuss the 9 years of Abby, starting from season 6 to her very last episode in season 15. Enjoy!

Still from season 9

Abby was played by an actress called Maura Tierney. You might have seen her on a TV show called NewsRadio, and my very favorite movie Liar Liar with Jim Carrey. Of course, she has starred in countless hits and family movies besides that, Scotland, Pa., Welcome To Mooseport, Semi-Pro and Finding Amanda. Also she has been a guest star in the hit series Rescue Me and last year she starred in an awesome new drama about lawyers, titled The Whole Truth, but unfortunately it got cancelled (like all good shows do, because the disgusting American public only watches shit like Dancing With The Stars…). After quitting ER, Maura was supposed to appear in the hit series Parenthood, but due to being diagnosed with breast cancer she had to quit and Lauren Graham got cast instead of her. I really like Lauren, but it terribly pisses me off, that The Whole Truth got cancelled, while Parenthood has been rejoicing in its 3rd season… Oh well, she will be back, she will be… at least I hope! She is a really good actress!

Now, let us dive into the character and who she was on the show!

"I just want to say that you've probably seen me at my best. And at my worst. And even if we didn't always see eye to eye, you helped me go from a nurse to a med-student. To a doctor... to a mom!"

The first time we meet Abby is in season 6, episode 8. She is and OB nurse who helps out with Carol’s pregnancy in the hospital. She seems like a very nice person, but it isn’t till episode 12 that we find out that actually she is a medical-student and takes extra shifts as a nurse to be able to pay for med-school. At which later on, sadly, she fails. She has no money and she is kicked off the program. Fortunately, Dr. Weaver, being the nice person she is, offers her a job as an ER nurse. That way she can be close to the action, learn more than every other med-student. Abby really is a replacement for Carol’s character as a head nurse.


Oh, but who is Abby? What is she? She looks like a screwed up kid who can’t quite just figure out what she wants with her life. She has an ex-husband, mortgage and a school to pay; she has on-and-off relationships, what is her deal?

Sally Field             Tom Everett Scott              Fred Ward

"Once you saw Sally and how she was and what our relationship was. Then you understood my character and every reason that my character was sort of screwed up, and buttoned down and emotionally screwed up.. you just saw it."
- Maura /Previously On ER:/

She was right you know, thank you Maura. It is in season 7 that Abby’s mom, Maggie Wyczenski shows up. She has bipolar disorder and then you understand her baggage. “She is what made my character possible.”- Maura. Abby had a really bad childhood, ever since she was born her mother had good and bad days. Their father left because she wouldn’t stay on the drugs that were prescribed to her, therefore triggering maniac episodes. Abby had to protect her little brother, she had to be an adult ever since she was 10. She missed out on her childhood because of her selfish mother. She did want to become a doctor, help those who needed it, but she could never bring herself to helping her mom.
Abby’s little brother, Eric was in the Air Force. He was an air traffic controller and when he visited her in Chicago on an extended leave that just seemed too long for Abby, he too started showing symptoms. Her worst nightmare was happening all over again. Her brother had inherited the bipolar gene and at the age of 30 the first symptoms started to show. He was in denial, couldn’t accept it. Then he was mean to Abby, pretended as if she couldn’t understand them because she wasn’t sick like them. Being the only one she could trust up until then, Abby felt betrayed, but when Eric called she always jumped to the rescue, even when it cost her her relationship.
Lastly we have her dad, Eddie, who comes back to meet her in season 13th, pretending to be a patient. She gets worried for him, but tells him off when she finds out who he is. He is sad, sorry for missing out but he wants to get to know her, meet her properly. She refuses, saying that he is 30 years late for that.

Abby doesn’t only struggle with them, but with alcohol. Growing up, feeling alone, taking care of her brother, she started drinking, to the point where it got so bad, she had no idea who or where she was, and woke up next to some random person. But unlike what triggered it, it was never her family problems that made her relapse, but her relationship with men.

Mark Valley             Noah Wyle           Eion Bailey             Goran Vinsjic        Stanley Tucci

As I mentioned before, she got divorced. “The only good thing I got from my marriage is my last name.” Her ex Richard pops up, once in a while. In season 7 because of the divorce disagreements, in season 8 on her birthday, to tell her he’s going to get re-married. That is one of the reasons why she starts drinking again. We encounter him a couple of times, and his last appearance is when Abby asks him to co-sign for a loan, so she can get some money.
The first love interest for Abby was Dr. Luka Kovac. Not being able to act adult around each other, after one year of on-and-off they come to realize they are better as friends, rather than boyfriend-girlfriend. This also induces conflicts among Dr. John Carter and him, seeing that as soon as Abby becomes John’s sponsor (he got a drug addiction, after being stabbed in the back in season 6), he falls in love with her. They keep fighting over her till Abby breaks up with Luka and Carter starts to date someone else. Of course, when that doesn’t work out, the two find themselves isolated because of a lockdown in the ER and finally kiss. In season 9, Abby is dating Carter. He helps her with her brother while she shows no much support for his family problems. Carter proposes to her, lets her know how much he loves her. The question is never popped properly and he refuses to retry. It seems as if Abby would say yes, but she never gets the chance to, because the one day Carter needed her, she chose her brother’s problems instead of his. Personally I would’ve forgiven her, but that is me. Carter is asked to go to Africa, to help Luka and he decides to leave Abby without ever breaking up properly or discussing what they could do to make it better.
Season 10 begins with a Carter returning to her, but she sends him away, being hurt that he could leave her. When they get a telephone about Luka dying in Sangali, Carter rushes off again sending back only a break up letter to Abby and staying in Africa indefinitely. Fortunately, thanks to a lucky coincidence, Luka is found alive and sent back to Chicago with Malaria. By that time, the writers decided to turn Abby’s character into something more. She asks Richard to co-sign a loan and she goes back to medical school. She is put back onto rotations and the lead nurse position is taken over by Sam Taggert. It is here that Abby finds her first true friend, a medical student with a couple of issues. That was Neela Rasgotra. They study for tests together, Abby helps her with her people skills while she improves her test scores. Season 10 gloriously ends with Abby and Neela graduating from med-school and Abby calling up her mom to tell her about the good news.
In the meantime Carter moves back with his pregnant girlfriend and Luka starts to date Sam… this obviously bothers Abby, but not in a romantic way, she finds that she has lost her friends. When Carter’s girlfriend sadly looses their baby, due to a miscarriage, the three unite again to support Carter. In the end, I have always found it beautiful that these three were friends.

Also, what I loved was that when Abby first appeared, Dr. Mark Greene was her mentor, he taught her, and he looked over her. “Dr. Greene? You told me to call you if I screw up.” And I was really fond of that relationship. When Mark died and Carter left, Abby continued med-school and she was put on surgical rotation. There came my favorite episodes, because she seemed to develop a friendship with Dr. Elizabeth Corday, also it was she who took her under her wings now. I’ve found it sweet that one of the old guys was teaching her again. Of course Abby had a ‘based on mutual trust’ relationship with Kerry from the moment they are working together, but it is not until she becomes a full doctor that they start to become friends.


- Will you be my nurse tomorrow?
“- No, I will not. But you can ask for Dr. Lockhart.

But Abby’s troubles are not gone just yet! As she begins her internship, being a first year resident, in a very special Christmas episode a young med-student called Jake Scanlon is assigned to her. They slowly become attracted to each other, but she needs to score him at the end of the month, and doesn’t want to get involved with him. As soon as his ER rotation is done, he tries again and they start dating. He makes remarks on wanting to stay in Chicago because of her and she says “You don’t have to do that for me.” and that is the last they ever speak. As season 12 begins, Abby is now an R2 and she is constantly put between the arguments of Luka and a new doctor Dr. Viktor Clemente. These two are fighting to get the ER chief position and because of one of their fights, Abby’s patient, a little girl who was kidnapped from her parents and suffered sexual abuse dies in the trauma room. Being awfully pissed at these two idiots, she goes to confront Luka, but she ends up crying, Luka kisses her and the two spend the night together.
The next day they are called in for a trauma, a plane crashing in the middle of the street, and the two deny their obvious attraction because of ‘preferring to be friends’. A couple of weeks pass by, and after Neela’s wedding with Dr. Michael Gallant, the two find their way into bed again.
But it is here that the problems really begin. In the 12th season Christmas episode, you can’t help but see that something is awfully bothering Abby. Luka starts to wonder if she will break up with him, even if he does not want that. They seem as if they were able to overcome their previous problems and were finally happy. Abby asks Luka if they could talk, he starts to worry again, “I’m pregnant.” she tells him. You must know, that Luka’s story goes back to Croatia, where his wife and two children died due to an explosion in their building. He always wanted to have children again, while Abby wasn’t capable of it, being worried that her mother’s disease might be passed on. She decides to have an abortion, but Luka asks, that they not break up over this. They can get passed it, they love each other. “I didn’t do it.” she admits and the two slowly decide to move in together, seeing that Abby gives her apartment to Neela.
It seems as if the two will finally live happily ever after, but a horrible shooting occurs in the ER and Abby falls to the ground, hitting her belly. She bleeds out and passes out on the floor of trauma 1, seven months pregnant. Kerry finds her and she is taken up to OB, where she starts to bleed out again and is immediately brought to the OR for a C-section. They have a little boy and she calls him Joseph, after Luka’s father. “Will one be enough?” Unfortunately they were not able to stop the bleeding and they had to perform a hysterectomy, thus disabling her from being able to have another baby.  But here comes a wonderful break through, one of the most moving moments in the span of her character. Maggie, her mom, shows up. Luka calls her, even if, Abby was never able to tell her she was expecting, and she gets worried, knowing that Joe was born prematurely. She, now being on her meds, bonds with Abby and they finally put their relationship right. On evening, when something is wrong with Joe, it is Maggie that gets the doctor, and it is thanks to her and he survives.
As season 13 goes, Abby and their little family is threatened, when an old patient of Luka’s, who became crippled because of him, can’t seem to win nor in court nor in life and is set out to get his revenge on Luka for missing something during his exams. This results in really messing them up, but they already call each other ‘husband’ and ‘wife’, so Abby, even if her first bad marriage had scared her for life, asks Luka to propose to her and the two finally, after 7 years get married. Unfortunately, actor Goran Vinsjic asked to leave the show, thanks to which Abby’s character is made a mess of again. She can’t raise Joe and work at the same time, and she starts drinking again. On a very-very dark night she gets wasted and ends up having an affair with her new boss Dr. Kevin Moretti. He tries to salvage the situation, talk to her, talk to Luka, but he only gets a good punch in the face.
As it seems that she had ruined her marriage, again, Luka shows up and asks her to get passed this. That is does hurt, but what they have is worth fighting for. They should start over. Abby quits County Hospital and they move away from Chicago.
She is last seen in season 15th, talking on the phone with Neela. The actress, Maura confessed in an interview with Craig Ferguson that she begged the writers to kill her off but they wouldn’t. While, in another interview, Goran says that he asked for a happy ending and that is what they got in the end.

I really love this character, because she has a complete story. As Maura said herself, she has these key elements, these characters that show up and we see into her life and we finally understand what is wrong. She has a terrible fear of commitment, because of a failed marriage. She wants to help people because that is the only thing she was taught in her life. She is afraid of having children, knowing that even if she never got the bipolar disorder herself, she might pass it on just the same. She feels that she can help more people being a nurse, but when she doesn’t get the respect she used to, when nobody listens to her anymore, she fights to get back into med-school and succeeds at that. She doesn’t get free passes: her brother isn’t healthy, her dad leaves her, her husband, Carter leaves her, her mother keeps showing up without her meds, she never gets to give birth to a healthy baby, she has a hysterectomy! It is no wonder that she turns to alcohol, but what is beautiful that she never gives up. She fights and wins. She is the true human in my eyes, because her life is a mess. She is everything but perfect and yet, through all the struggling she finds happiness and peace in the end. I find her a true inspiration!

Now that my little review is over three pages, I want to come to an end. To be honest, I have never seen the first 5 seasons of ER (yet!), because she was not in it. I always look for Maura movies and shows, I am not obsessed, don’t get me wrong! But I believe that with her character they had a winning combination in ER and I am sure I am not the only one who stuck their eyes to the TV screen just because of her! :)

You might find a pattern in my reviews, but don’t worry, next up, I’m going to review something terribly shitty! Until next time!






_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
The characters mentioned above:

Carol Hathaway - Julianna Margulies
Dr. Kerry Weaver - Laura Innes
Samantha Taggert - Linda Cardellini
Neela Rasgotra - Parminder Nagra
Dr. Mark Greene - Anthony Edwards
Dr. Elizabeth Corday - Alex Kingston
Dr. Viktor Clemente - John Leguizamo
Dr. Michael Gallant - Sharif Atkins


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