Summary for the Picket Fences/Chicago Hope Crossover Episode "Rebels with Causes"
From JenLCB@aol.comWed Jun 28 17:41:23 1995
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 1995 16:36:24 -0400
Subject: Picket Fences/CH Crossover Summary
This is a summary of the "Chicago Hope" portion of the episode only. If
anyone would like a copy of the entire summary, including the "Picket Fences"
plot involving Kenny, Kim, and Jimmy, please email JenLCB@aol.com
PICKET FENCES or CHICAGO HOPE, EPISODE 1.8.5
"Rebels With Causes"
Air date: 11/11/94
Written by David E. Kelley
Directed by Tom Skerritt
Excited to be appearing before the Supreme Court, defense attorney Douglas
Wambaugh reviews with assistant Kimberly his plans to defend murder suspect
Brian Latham. While discussing the various judges and whether or not each
will be beneficial to his case, he collapses.
* * *
In her office, Dr. Jill Brock tells Wambaugh his EKG indicates a "coronary
episode." Wambaugh is affronted. He argues that he is only 72, and that no
Wambaugh has ever had a heart attack. He denies he has a problem.
''It's over,'' he says. ''Prescribe me some nitroglycerine and we can be done
However, Brock wants to take him to Chicago Hope Hospital, which has more
advanced facilities than Thayer.
* * *
At Chicago Hope, Brock introduces Wambaugh to Dr. Jeffrey Geiger. Geiger
brusquely ignores Brock and gets right down to business. He informs Wambaugh
dispassionately that while he had a spasm in his heart, the problem lies in
his brain. Brock and Wambaugh are shocked, but Geiger brushes their
incredulity aside. He tells Dr. Brock he wants to schedule an MRI, as it may
be a lesion in the brain. He wants "to see what's up there."
"There's nothing up there!" Wambaugh protests to Geiger. "There's nothing
wrong with my head and you're not going in there!''
''Look at his shoes!" he tells Brock.
With a glance down at his shoes, Geiger turns to go.
"Hope you enjoy your stay. Both of you," he says, giving them each a
patronizing pat on his way out.
"That was not a nice man," Wambaugh complains piteously.
* * *
Brock catches up to Geiger and chastises him for his rushed diagnosis of a
possible brain tumor. She asks him how long he had looked at the test
"About a minute and a half," he responds, his eyes on Wambaugh's records.
"Look, Dr. Brock, I'm sure you're a very good little physician,'' he tells
her. ''I firmly believe more medical students should go into general
practice. You're to be applauded. But this isn't Green Acres. You're at
Chicago Hope, and the most profound contribution you could make here would be
to step aside. And I mean that in a good way."
She angrily informs him that she will not step aside. "Do you understand?"
"Yeah, I think so," he replies. "You don't like being wrong and you resent
me for being right."
As he walks away down the hall, he turns and his condescension turns hostile.
"Now, we have a lovely cafeteria,'' he tells her. ''Perhaps you could go
there, get yourself a nice cup of coffee, ponder all the possibilities of
aspirin or whatever other miracle drug supports your practice. In the
meantime, I'll try to save your patient."
"You're an arrogant bastard," Brock says.
Geiger responds with amused sarcasm, "That was . . . *very* . . . rude,
* * *
Spinning happily in the MRI machine, Wambaugh grins like a little boy.
"I feel like I'm in Disneyland,'' he enthuses. ''The acoustics are fine. Do
you mind if I sing? I like to hear my voice in here. Plus, if a man can sing
a song, then he's not sick."
Geiger tells him he can sing, as long as he stays still.
"Be prepared,'' he warbles loudly. ''That's the Boy Scouts' solemn creed.
Be prepared, and be clean in word and deed. Don't solicit . . . ."
Meanwhile, Geiger and Brock discuss what they see on the MRI. "That's the
dorsal nucleus of the vagus nerve," Geiger points out.
"I know what that is," Brock snaps.
"I didn't say you didn't," Geiger says.
"I heard your tone. I don't need your attitude!"
"That's a little sensitive."
"If you want to be Ben Casey--"
Geiger interrupts her. "So give me your opinion, doctor."
But Dr. Brock admits she is stumped. Wambaugh is 72 and shows no symptoms of
what she knows he has. Geiger tells her Wambaugh probably has had a mild
case of multiple sclerosis for a long time. The way he walks, the tremors
and the lesion in his brain all point to this disease, he tells her. In the
background, Wambaugh continues to sing at the top of his lungs.
* * *
Back in his room, Wambaugh tries to convince Geiger that he does not have MS.
"Tell him, Jill, he's wrong. He says that because I'm Jewish," he bleats.
When Brock tells him it is true, he charges her of conspiring against him.
"You get a big referral fee, he gets to operate and another lawyer gets to
go to Washington. Next you'll be calling me paranoid," he accuses.
He asks Geiger what MS is. Geiger explains that the disease affects the
central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord and the optic nerve. He
asks him what causes it, and Geiger whispers, "We don't know."
He asks how he can get rid of it.
"It isn't curable," Geiger replies.
"Then I don't have it," Wambaugh says firmly, "I can't even pronounce it.
Here's what I think. The only thing you know I've got for sure is insurance.
So you invented a big disease with a big name so you can bill my carrier and
keep me away from Sandra Day O'Connor. You can't! I waited too long.''
''You can't make me sick," he insists.
* * *
Later, in his hospital room, Wambaugh practices with life-size cutouts of
the Supreme Court justices. He tells them it isn't fair Brian Latham was
railroaded into a conviction. He was only a drifter, Wambaugh argues, and
Rome police hadn't given him his civil rights. He grows more and more
agitated as he thinks about his own predicament.
"It isn't fair,'' he grouses. ''Life should be fair. It has to be fair.
Things aren't fair!"
He punches one of the cutouts just as Geiger enters.
"Are ya nuts?'' Geiger asks. ''You just decked the Chief Justice!"
Geiger informs Wambaugh that he can leave that night or the next, after his
tests are completed. Then he suggests Wambaugh speak with the house
"You're talking to giant posters,'' Geiger says. ''For my own education, do
they ever talk back?"
''Stop making fun of me,'' Wambaugh growls. ''I'm sick of people making fun
of me. I made it to the Supreme Court, and I'm going to be there. Then
you'll all have to stop laughing. Everybody."
"If you have no objection, I'd like to have you sedated, 'cause I believe you
are a kook," Geiger tells him.
Brock enters the room.
"Excuse me, what are you telling the patient?" she demands.
"Only that he's a little wacko, but i'm sure he already knew," Geiger
"He's just been diagnosed with a lesion on his brain,'' she yells. ''You have
the insensitivity to stand th--"
"Don't yell at me,'' Geiger says quietly. ''Volume has no effect."
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Brock asks.
"Who am I? I'm 2.3 million dollars a year, that's who I am,'' Geiger says.
Wambaugh raises his eyebrows.
"I make that much because I got a very busy practice,'' Geiger continues.
''And I have taken time out from that practice to treat a patient who talks
to cardboard judges, while his physician keeps interfering when she should be
back in Rome, Wisconsin, tending to her veterinary practice.''
''Please have the decency to appreciate my effort," he concludes.
Brock sees red. "Well, let me tell you something, Mr. 2.3 Million--"
"Is that after taxes?" Wambaugh queries.
"--I am a board certified general surgeon,'' Brock fumes. ''I am qualified
to work here in your . . . precious Chicago Hope Hospital. I could work
here! Do you know why I don't?"
"Our preference that patients survive?" Geiger sneers.
"No, I want to be a REAL doctor, I want to know my patients. I don't want to
be a specialist meat cutter who does body work. I want to know my
patients," she says.
"Well, I'm sure that brings them profound joy, but bottom line, you didn't
know what this patient had. I did,'' he says. ''Look, I don't know much
about where you people are from, what the hell gives? He's punching out
posters. You? I--I don't know what you're acting out against. But you're
both very strange people. You're very strange."
"You only say that because I'm Jewish," Wambaugh says.
"I'm Jewish," Geiger tells him.
"Ah-hah! He says it because HE'S Jewish!" Wambaugh crows.
With a look at Brock, Geiger silently exits the room. Brock puts a hand on
Wambaugh's arm, giving him a look of apology and support. Wambaugh nods in
* * *
Brock brings her complaint to hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Phillip Watters.
"Jeffrey Geiger has got to cause more coronaries than he fixes," she
declares. She asks for another doctor to be assigned to Wambaugh's case, but
Watters refuses. He tells her that while Geiger may have an antagonistic
personality, "You have also never met anybody with more talent."
Brock is stunned.
"What is it with you people?'' she asks incredulously. ''You think you're so
special. You just may not be the best hospital in Chicago, much less the
rest of the country. More people go to that other--what's its name--"
Watters interrupts her with the shake of a hand. "We never mention the other
He asks her to sit down, then diplomatically explains that while she is a
well-rounded individual with time for a career and a family, Geiger is a
"While you're reading to your children, he's perfecting his artificial heart.
While you're attending PTA meetings, he's digging into his sixth bypass
procedure of the day,'' Watters explains. ''He doesn't have time to run for
mayor of his town. I'm sure you would've made a great mayor. I have no
doubt you're a wonderful mother, I can see firsthand you're a good doctor.
But you're not him.''
''It may make you angry that you're not him, but please have the sense not to
let that anger compromise your patient,'' he says.
* * *
Wambaugh stands on a chair, shouting, as Brock, Geiger and a nurse try to get
him down. Geiger asks the orderlies to get restraints as Watters enters.
"What's the problem?" Watters asks.
Brock begins furiously, "I have an erratic patient who is agitated by a
devastating diagnosis, delivered by the despicable, contemptible
"Hold it!" Watters says.
"Already she knows me," Geiger smirks.
"Quiet!" Watters snaps.
"You know, this may be a great hospital, but you people are no better than
anybody else. You ask me, you people suck,"
Brock tells him heatedly.
"Yes, we do. Let's go, Jeffrey, come on."
"I wanna tell you about her. . . ." Geiger says, as Watters drags him out.
Brock persuades Wambaugh to return to bed, and pulls the curtain. As she
tries to console him about the diagnosis, Geiger silently returns and listens
to Brock and Wambaugh through the curtain.
Brock gently tells Wambaugh that he probably has had MS for fifty years.
"The only difference between today and a week ago is now you know," she
Wambaugh repeats his need to go to the Supreme Court, and Brock promises him
he will, but asks him why it's so important to him.
"To make the world stop laughing at me," he explains.
She tells him this is ridiculous, but admits that being at Chicago Hope,
coupled with her misdiagnosis of his illness, has made her feel inadequate,
too. But, she says, she does not need to work at a big city hospital to
prove she is a good doctor, and Wambaugh doesn't need the Supreme Court to
prove he's a good lawyer.
Wambaugh complains that Brock's husband, Jimmy, had told Kimberly not to set
her standards by him. He recounts how Judge Bone always tells him to shut up,
and how he was thrown out of temple last year.
Brock smiles, and tells him that he is exasperating, but that he's a
Geiger listens thoughtfully.
* * *
''Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I stand before you today with a lesion
on my brain. A good lawyer can always adjust," Wambaugh says as an orderly
wheels him down the hall with Miriam and Dr. Brock in tow.
They pass Geiger, who asks, "Checking out tonight?"
"We want to leave early on account of your being such a horrible person,"
Wambaugh tells him.
"It's my mission, to free up the beds," Geiger retorts. Then his voice turns
"Mr. Wambaugh, take your medicine. You'll be fine."
"I was never sick!" Wambaugh bellows, then he relents. "You're right.
The orderly starts to push his chair down the hall, but Wambaugh asks to go
back, so that he can thank Geiger.
As Wambaugh is wheeled once again toward the elevator, Geiger addresses
"I heard the things you were saying,'' he says. ''You're some doctor." He
lowers his eyes. "I mean that."
She thanks him.
"He's something, that guy, huh?" he says. "Maybe someday I'll get to know my
Brock looks at him gently and says, "I doubt that many of them would like
He takes her hand and smiles. She waves to Wambaugh, and follows him into
JEN'S RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
The themes are those of Respect and Rebellion. Brock feels threatened by
Geiger's apparent lack of respect for her, heightened by the blow to her own
self-respect from her misdiagnosis of Wambaugh. When faced with her own
limitations, she responds in a confrontational manner. Wambaugh cannot earn
the respect of Jimmy, Bone, or anyone else in the community, so he wants to
prove himself at the Supreme Court. He rebels against the idea that he might
be sick, fearing that this will prevent him from seeing his goal of proving
himself worthy to those he respects most.
Brock's complaint to Geiger of his "tone" foreshadows Gilbert Weeks' same
complaint later in the "Chicago Hope" season.
I thought Geiger's sudden change of heart at the end was forced and a bit out
of character. It seemed thrown in, in order to give Brock the redemption she
needed, and to feel that she had earned his respect and admiration. Geiger's
character seemed slightly compromised, in order to build up Brock's.
Go to the next summary
Go back to the summaries list
Back to the Chicago Hope Homepage
Back to Steen's Homepage