Exclusive: Shane West's 'ER' Comeback a 'Double Surprise'

Dr. Ross? Pshaw. The ER return that most fans — or at least the most vocal fans — have been clamoring for is that of Dr. Barnett. And this fall, their prayers will be answered when Shane West’s Ray heads back to County General with a new lease on life and eyes for the woman that got away, his ex-roomie and unrequited love, Neela.

Let’s rewind first: When last we saw Ray, he was heading home to Baton Rouge to mend his broken heart and recover from a tragic car accident that left him a double amputee. As West points out, "He wasn’t in a very good head space."

Well, a lot can change in a year. When Ray returns in the Oct. 30 episode, he’ll have both feet firmly planted on the ground — literally and figuratively. "He’s walking on his own again," reveals executive producer Joe Sachs. As we’ll learn, Ray has endured months of rehab, during which he was fitted with new cutting edge prosthetics. "He in no way appears disabled. He’s been through hell and has come out a better, stronger guy. He’s matured. He knows what’s important in his life."

What or who? Although only back for a brief time — Ray’s in Chicago for a medical conference related to physical medicine/rehabilitation (his new specialty, natch) — Sachs hints that his presence has a huge impact on Neela. "His return affects her in a big way," he says. "It stir the embers of that relationship and makes her question, "Could I be with this guy now?"

Sachs isn’t providing an answer to that question, although he promises that "Reela" fans will be "satisfied by the story." Adds West: "He’s coming back at the right time, when she needs that friend and possibly that romance back. There are definitely sparks reignited."

So much so that the Oct. 30 episode won’t be the last we’ll see of Ray. West is on board for at least one more episode, to air shortly before ER signs off for good in May. "It’s going to be a double surprise," the actor teases. "One in the beginning of the season when he returns, and one at the end." Hmmm…. might that second surprise involve oh, I dunno, a ring?

Hey, speaking of surprises, here’s another one: Next week’s Ask Ausiello will feature more scoop on West’s highly-anticipated return. In the meantime, go ahead and celebrate your hard-fought and well-earned victory in the comments section, Reela fans. 

Comments (105 total) Add your comment
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  • Sophie

    this is the best news! thank you so so much for this. and not 1 but 2 episodes!

  • Jennifer

    This is my first comment EVER! I’m so happy that they are bringing back REELA! This has really made my day!

  • Jordyn

    Hooray! I am happy for Reela fans, but none have been waiting longer than fans of CARTER and ABBY. Someone TELL ME I have hung around to see Noah Wyle back on screen with Maura Tierney. Congrats to ER for getting Shane West back to finish something they started!!

  • K

    Nice news Mike. (I couldn’t have put it better, Jordyn.)

  • Katie

    I love you Ausiello!!!! I always knew you were on our side and would break the big scoop in the end.

  • xray


  • Shay

    I am soooo happy – thanks for the info. I was planning to stop watching ER next season ‘coz it got so boring -not any more!!!! Ray and Neela were my faves.

  • Katie

    I’ve already posted – but can I just say once more how much I love you right now!!!! You’re definitely the best TV scooper out there!

  • Manuela

    Ausiello I love you!!!
    This is the best piece of information I have read in my entire life!!
    Reela savers WE DID IT!
    I feel like crying and laughing at same time, this is amazing!
    Frigging amazing!
    I think Ill start hyperventilating again!

  • Nicole T

    This is honestly the best news ever. I have literally watched every season from the beginning and I have to say Ray wasone of my faves. He’s maybe not Mark or Doug or Carter or Abby, but by far he showed mature and fantastic growth as a character and I was disappointed to see him go. I beleive that this could be the best season ever.

  • christie

    october can not come soon enough!! this is the best news for all of us that have worked so hard at getting our reela back together!

  • Veronica

    This are awesome news!! I can’t believe Ray is coming back and apparently for a happy ending with Neela!!!
    After all these months we have waited, we now have what we diserve!!!! =D
    I can’t be happier!!!!!!!

  • bee

    a ring…or a baby…? Or both!

  • Beth

    Best news EVER! I’ve watched ER for 14 years and Reela is my absolute favorite couple on the show. I am beyond excited right now! Thank you, Michael Ausiello, for delivering the most exciting news I’ve heard in months!

  • Hülya

    This is incredible. Perhaps we really are going to get what we want? Just maybe?

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