Nothing's slowed down in this ninth season of ER, as the show's addictive mix of pulse-pounding medical procedures and personal dilemmas continue to reverberate through Chicago's County General Hospital. Things start off with a bang as a smallpox outbreak causes pandemonium among the staff. As the series progresses, Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) begins a love affair that may bite him in the back, while Dr. Kovac's (Goran Visnjic) hard-partying off-duty also starts to catch up with him. Meanwhile, there's much relief when the doctors learn that the abrasive Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) will soon be leaving the ER--that is, until Dr. Roman (Paul McCrane) steps in to fill her shoes. Split-second decisions, institutional battles, and human tragedy--it's all part of a day's work in this ninth season of the long-running medical drama.