Before there were shows like Grey's Anatomy or ER, the doctors of St. Elsewhere were there to take care of us. The series was different than a lot of modern doctor shows as it was a lot more of a dark comedy than a soap opera. But it was the ending of the series that seemed to raise a whole lot of controversy.
The show had a surprisingly star-studded cast. Ed Begley Jr, William Daniels, Howie Mandel, Davis Morse, Christina Pickles all starred in all 137 episodes. Another huge actor who was in every episode? Denzel Washington!
Washington got his first big break as Dr. Philip Chandler in all six season of St. Elsewhere before becoming one of Hollywood's most sought after actors.
Other actors who were on the show for many episodes include Eric Laneuville, Bruce Greenwood, and Mark Harmon.
The show took place in the fictional St. Eligius Hospital, which was considered to be a pretty terrible hospital. They didn't have the best equipment ever but they managed to do alright with what they had.
The problems people had with this show had nothing to do with the cast, it was how they tied up the series in the finale...
When a show is ending after so many years, they have a lot of loose ends they need to tie up. There were a lot of main characters that the creators had to find satisfying endings for, but the way St. Elsewhere did it caused a huge controversy.
Nearly 30 years after the show ended, people are still left wondering what the finale meant. There were the regular goodbyes that come from a series finale, but as you look outside and see the snow falling.
Then you see a snow globe in the hands of Tommy Westphall, the autistic son of Dr. Westphall, who is wondering what his son is thinking about while he looks into the snowy scene. As we finally get a look at the snow globe we see that it is a building that looks like the hospital.
The reigning theory is that Tommy actually imagined the entire series himself, putting his father into this little hospital inside his snow globe. There are many other topical references like going to get a drink at "Cheers" or casually mentioning B.J. Hunnicutt from M.A.S.H. so it is entirely possible that it's all in his head and he was just adding things from other shows he watched.