June 5 -- Longtime ER fans who have been lamenting the departures of many of the show's most beloved characters (such as George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross and Julianna Margulies' Nurse Carol Hathaway, and the impending write-off of Anthony Edwards' Dr. Mark Greene) finally have something to cheer about: the return of Dr. Susan Lewis, played by Sherry Stringfield.
Stringfield, an original cast member when the show debuted in 1994, left after the third season. Though she received Emmy nominations for all three seasons and was a part of one of the nation's most popular shows, she opted out of life on the boob tube. On-screen, she took a job in Phoenix; off-screen, she cited a desire to lead a more normal life. But now she's back.
"I just felt like really working again, and it was the obvious choice for me," Stringfield told Variety. "It's a great show and I certainly didn't leave on bad terms."
Recounting her original reason for leaving, she said, "The only reason I left was I just needed a life and I have absolutely no regrets, because I got one. I got married, I had a baby girl in March." She adds that "it will be cool to work together with everyone again."
Stringfield has signed on for the three remaining years of ER's NBC deal. Her first year back will overlap with Edwards' final year with the series, a situation that is sure to generate some ratings heat. Fans will recall that Dr. Greene confessed his love for Dr. Lewis at the train station, just as she was about to take off for Phoenix. She left anyway.
Will Dr. Greene — now married to Alex Kingston's Dr. Elizabeth Corday and the father of a new baby — and Dr. Lewis rekindle their truncated romance? Will she come between Dr. Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic) and Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney)? NBC is betting that millions of fans will tune in to find out.