Props to Sars, who did this twice in a single week, before Christmas.
Previously on ER: The rapist-murderer Elizabeth was treating was linked to another murder; Mark put Holling in a home, or a retirement community, depending on who you ask; Elizabeth's patient had to have surgery, and didn't particularly want it (nor did she particularly want to save his life), but then Anspaugh convinced her she had to convince him, so she did, by telling him she cared about him.
Mark Greene "Horn" is telling Elizabeth "Treat 'em and Get Way Too Personally Involved With 'em" Corday that he wants to barbecue something. She can't believe he intends to do so in January, and asks if it's a "San Diego ritual." Mark admits that he and Holling "did barbecue a few times last week." Elizabeth suggests they pick up some steaks after work. Mmmmmm, steak.
That bleached-blond clerk who is totally not Jerry is behind the desk. He hurries out solicitously when Mark and Elizabeth enter the hospital, introduces himself as Andrew (oh yeah, Andrew), and gives them each their messages. In the midst of this transaction, Robert "Rocket" Romano joins them and says that the first message is that he is looking for both of them. Andrew starts to correct him, shuffling through the messages to see which has the earliest time on it, but Romano gets all up in his face, asking his name (and when Andrew says "Andrew," calls him "Andy" in that passive-aggressive way that little men in positions of authority sometimes have), and telling him to get back to answering the phones. Andrew thanks him. Romano hustles Elizabeth and Mark down the hall, telling them they have a new resident starting today, "named Jing-Mei Chen, or Swing My...anyway. I need you to say howdy-doody." Elizabeth expresses confusion at the fact that she's starting in January, and Romano says that Chen's program in New York "fell through," and that she's "got a daddy with big pockets." Mark deduces that Chen's father made a large donation to County in exchange for the favour -- because he's smart like that, and can interpret metaphors that might stymie a lesser man with more plentiful hair. Romano calls Elizabeth away, and Mark takes off his coat behind the desk as Andrew catches back up with him to tell him that Holling's "disappeared from his retirement home." Mark says, "What?" Andrew explains, "Well, I'm sensing it's more of a runaway thing; I don't believe they're suspecting foul play." Duh -- what is Holling, the Lindbergh baby? Mark tells Andrew, "I feel better already."
In a wood-paneled conference room, Detective Cruson is telling Romano that another case has come up -- a woman named Jenny Cordova who went missing six weeks ago. They found her car, and Dean Rollins's prints (those would be the prints of the rapist-murderer in Elizabeth's care) were on it. Romano makes his closest approximation of a "care" face, and clarifies with Detective Cruson that the police have yet to find Jenny's body. Elizabeth steps between them and asks, with some horror at the idea, "And you want me to ask him where it is?" Romano reminds her that, for better or worse, she's developed a relationship with Rollins, and that she's already talked Rollins into telling her where the other body was, and into having surgery: "This family needs you." Pack your bags, Lizzie -- you're going on a guilt trip! Elizabeth squares her jaw and stares off into space for a moment before turning back to Romano and spitting, "He's a cold-blooded son of a bitch. I don't think he'll tell me." Romano makes a disappointed face (and are we absolutely sure this guy isn't someone's mother?), so Elizabeth relents, angrily: "I'll ask, but I can tell you now, it's hopeless." Detective Cruson says, "Well, the Cordovas don't have any option, so 'hopeless' is better than nothing." Turns out it's an all-expense-paid package tour of the Guilt Islands, off the coast of the Emotional Blackmail Peninsula. Bon voyage!