Before "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy," there was "St. Elsewhere," an '80s medical drama set in a struggling urban hospital. The show mixed medicine with the personal dramas of the characters and paved the way for the hospital-centered shows that top the charts today. Take our quiz to see how much you remember about this classic '80s series.
"St. Elsewhere" blew viewers' minds with its incredibly innovative season finale. As Westphall's son, Tommy, shakes a snowglobe in the final scene, viewers are left to believe that the entire series existed only in the imagination of the young child.
Surgeon Dr. Samuels was quite the ladies' man, so it wasn't too surprising when he learned he had contracted gonorrhea in the pilot episode. It took him a while to inform all of his sexual partners of the diagnosis, being that there were so many of them -- and they meant so little to him.
All the drama on "St. Elsewhere" took place at St. Eligius Hospital in Boston. A rival to the more upscale Boston General, St. Eligius was referred to as St. Elsewhere because it's where patients ended up when they couldn't afford anyplace better.
Christina Pickles played Head Nurse Helen Rosenthal. In addition to her nursing duties, Rosenthal managed to marry four times before settling down with union rep Richard Clarendon.
Looking for a new challenge, Rosenthal moved to the ER unit in season three, allowing Lucy Papandreo to take over as head nurse. When Rosenthal moved back out of the ER unit, she and Papandreo developed a fierce rivalry until Rosenthal eventually became head of nurse training at the hospital.
In the very first episode of the series, Dr. Daniel Auschlander revealed that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer, and had very little time left to live. Against all odds, he underwent treatment and survived the disease.
Ralph appears throughout season one as a mental patient who believes that he's a bird. While at St. Elsewhere, he builds a nest in a storeroom, poses as a staff member, and eventually flies away.
Howie Mandel starred as the wacky ER Dr. Wayne Fiscus, who would do anything to have fun on the job. He often donned a Red Sox hat or Jersey as part of his official work uniform.
An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease interrupts hospital operations throughout several episodes in season one. When Dr. Westphall makes the decision to close a ward to slow the spread of the disease and protect patients, he almost loses his job.
It's heart specialist Dr. Craig who gives Eve Leighton a much-needed new heart -- using a heart from Dr. Morrison's deceased wife. Though Eve later dies, Craig is hailed a hero for his work.
Joan Halloran was appointed by the city to serve as a hospital administrator and to keep costs under control. She and the hospital staff clashed over many issues, including Eve Leighton's heart transplant.
After Dr. Bobby Caldwell is diagnosed with HIV, he is banned from working with patients at the hospital. He almost commits suicide before deciding to devote his life to caring for AIDS patients.
It was Dr. Peter White who was committing rapes in and around the hospital. He was acquitted of the crime and lost his job, but was later brought back to St. Eligius in a reduced capacity.
Dr. Cathy Martin was a pathologist at St. Eligius until she was raped -- twice. She switched her focus to psychiatry after undergoing a psychiatric break of her own, but ended up leaving the hospital in season four.
After a terrible car accident leaves Sister Teresa brain dead and on life support, the staff at St. Eligius battle with Sister Domenica and her fellow nuns on the best course of care. The nuns want to disconnect the machines and are willing to sue the hospital to get their way.
After committing a series of rapes, Dr. Peter White is shot in the morgue by Shirley Daniels during season three. White is killed, but makes several more appearances on the show in the form of a ghost.
In a crossover episode with "Cheers," Westphall, Craig and Auschlander visit the legendary bar during the season three finale episode of "St. Elsewhere." Cliff Clavin, Carla and Norm all make an appearance as Westphall announces he is retiring. It's a short break, and Westphall is back on the show by season four.
Mrs. Hufnagel appeared in multiple season three episodes, and is finally killed when she is apparently crushed by a hospital bed. She grew close to Dr. Axelrod during her time at St. Eligius, and even named the doctor in her will.
Luther Hawkins first appears on the show as an orderly, before becoming a paramedic. By the end of the series, he is on his way to becoming a physicians's assistant.
It's Dr. Fiscus who gets shot in the park while on a break. As the hospital staff struggle to save his life, viewers see him wavering between Heaven and Hell in the season five episode "After Life."
The hospital shut down at the end of season five, only to reopen in season six under the control of the Ecumena Corporation. Dr. John Gideon became the new Head of Medicine and immediately clashed with the other staff.
As he quits in a fit of disgust, Dr. Westphall moons Dr. Gideon in the memorable season six episode "A Moon for the Misbegotten."
Heart specialist Dr. Craig reveals his artificial heart, which he calls the Craig 9000, in season six -- to mixed results.
Dr. Carol Novino, a former nurse-turned-doctor who once dated Westphall, falls for Axelrod's cousin Pee Wee in season six.
In season six, a prescription pill addiction has Nurse Rosenthal in hot water. She is allowed to keep her job after undergoing treatment at the hospital's Chemical Dependency Unit.
Axelrod dies of a heart attack in season six, despite the hospital's best efforts. The other doctors barely pay attention to his death and don't even bother with a memorial service.
In one memorable episode, the doctors visit Westphall in his new home in New Hampshire, where he is living a quiet life with his autistic son Tommy.
Before he was a major movie star, Denzel played Dr. Philip Chandler on "St. Elsewhere." Despite becoming head resident, he decided that medicine wasn't for him and moved to Mississippi with fellow doctor Roxanne Turner.
After a bad year, including a battle with bulimia and depression, a dangerous misdiagnosis and a near rape, Dr. Wendy Armstrong used an overdose of pills to take her own life in season two.
"St. Elsewhere" ran for 137 episodes over six seasons from 1982 to 1988. The show never topped the ratings, but did win at least one Emmy every year from 1983 to 1988.