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Episode 9.3 - Oct. 10, 2002

In this guest-starring appearance, Lee Tergesen is credited simply as "Demerol junkie" (although he was called "Mr. Mullen" by Dr. Pratt).

The episode has a lot to do with the need for better security at the hospital, and Lee's character shows why.

He shows up at the emergency room, begging for a shot of pain killers for a slipped disc in his back. But he's been there once too often -- 15 times in two months -- and Dr. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) brushes him off.

But Demerol junkie's pain isn't going away, and neither is he. He rages at the doctors about his pain and how long he's been waiting. Dr. Pratt relents and gives him a prescription for Vicodin. But it's not the dose of Demerol the junkie needs, and when he objects, Pratt tells him to try playing another hospital.

That enrages Demerol junkie further. "Think you're a bunch of heroes, or something? Look around! You're not doing anything, you're not helping anyone!" As he storms off, he kicks over a row of chairs, knocking a patient on crutches to the floor.

But he comes back, and the next time we see him, he has grabbed Dr. Chen (Ming-Na) and has a gun to her head. This begins an incredibly tense three-minute scene.

He demands to Dr. Pratt: "Give me the shot now. ... I am in pain. I need Demerol and you're going to give it to me." Pratt sends Abby (Maura Tierney) to get the drugs, and meanwhile Demerol junkie rails against the uncaring doctors. "You care now 'cause I'm making you care; because I've got this gun!" 

Abby returns, prepping a syringe. The junkie turns the gun on her, demanding proof that she has Demerol. She shows it to him, then asks where he wants it. He shrugs his shirt off one shoulder, and she injects him. 

While she does this, he asks Pratt: "Why'd you want to be a doctor? Was it the money?" Pratt replies, "That's part of it."

Demerol junkie demands to know more. "What's the other part? ... I mean, you can't tell me you actually wanted to help people. Or maybe you did, right? Maybe you all wanted to help people, but then little by little, you realized that there's just too many people to help."

Starting to feel a little calm, he finally releases Chen. He goes over to Abby and gives her a sweet kiss on the temple and thanks her.

As he leaves, he gives one last burst of rage, brandishing the gun and warning them all to "Remember this."

He doesn't get far, however. He collapses in the parking lot because Abby injected him with 400 milligrams -- rather than the 150 mg dose he asked for.

The last we see of Lee, he is being carted away for treatment and a psych consult.

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Lee's big scene

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Episode summary and review from Alt.TV.ER