When it rains, it pours. As many know, a couple of months ago, Anthony ("Dr. Mark Greene") Edwards announced that the 2001-02 season of "ER" will be his last. That was a pretty big blow to ER fans because he was one of only three remaining members of the original cast still on the show. Well, some of that changed a month later when Sherry ("Dr. Susan Lewis") Stringfield announced she would be returning to the show after a 3+ season hiatus for the 2001 season. Well, that bright spot was shot to hell yesterday by the announcement that Eriq ("Dr. Peter Benton") LaSalle will be following Edwards lead by leaving the show at the end of this next season.
Okay, so far I have not been totally affected by all the departures on the show. George Clooney leaving was not that big a deal to me (probably because I feel Clooney is one of the best film actors around right now - it's hard to top his roles in Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, and especially O Brother, Where Art Thou?). I didn't mind when Julianna Margulies left either. Edwards leaving ain't too big a deal for me as well because the new supporting cast on the show including Ming Na, Maura Tierney, Paul McCrane and Erik Palladino is incredible. Yes, you read that correctly, I do like Dr. Romano, he adds spice to the show that has been lost since Dr. Benton had his son and became a bit of a softie. And it's that new side of Dr. Benton that has made him my favorite character on the show. Benton is incredibly cool. He is now a bit more accepting of some things that his old character never would have been. Example? Think about the time that he allowed his nephew's girlfriend to hide out with him and Cleo even though she was directly responsible for his nephew's death. Do you really think Dr. Benton Phase I would've allowed that? Hell no. But, despite his newfound sensitivities, he is still more than capable of doing what needs to be done in order to survive. He can fight the powers that be if necessary and he has not been afraid to lock horns with Romano when things weren't going his way. In short, I'm gonna be very sad to see LaSalle leave the show. But, good luck to him in his future life of writing, directing and producing. The small screen just ain't gonna be the same without you.