Northern Exposure (1990–1995)
2 user

Northern Lights 

Joel withholds practicing medicine until the State honors his contract and he gets his week vacation. Chris builds an art piece. Holling hibernates for 2 weeks.


Bill D'Elia


Joshua Brand (created by), John Falsey (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rob Morrow ... Dr. Joel Fleischman
Barry Corbin ... Maurice J. Minnifield
Janine Turner ... Maggie O'Connell
John Cullum ... Holling Vincoeur
Darren E. Burrows ... Ed Chigliak
John Corbett ... Chris Stevens
Cynthia Geary ... Shelly Marie Tambo
Elaine Miles ... Marilyn Whirlwind
Peg Phillips Peg Phillips ... Ruth-Anne Miller
Richard Cummings Jr. ... Bernard Stevens
Scott Paulin ... Lance Bristol
Anthony Edwards ... Mike Monroe
William J. White William J. White ... Dave the Cook
Gary Taylor Gary Taylor ... Len
Mark Dempsey Mark Dempsey ... Jim


Joel withholds practicing medicine until the State honors his contract and he gets his week vacation. Chris builds an art piece. Holling hibernates for 2 weeks.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

1 March 1993 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Maurice talks about his seventh orbit as a Mercury astronaut. Since each flight was longer than the previous one, this means he had to have flown after Wally Schirra's October 3, 1962 flight on Sigma 7, but before Gordon Cooper's May 15, 1963 flight on Faith 7, making his flight the penultimate flight in the Mercury program. See more »

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User Reviews

Episode Written Like An Understudy of MC Escher
1 February 2017 | by eongoosmSee all my reviews

To say I'm biased... fine. Yet being a fan doesn't mean you lose all objectivity and I really would like to find reason to NOT be as enthusiastic about this series, in particular this episode. But all that said I'd encourage anyone interested in this (overall) uneven television series to--if nothing else--watch this episode from Northern Exposure titled "Northern Lights." My emphasis that I would ask any viewer is to appreciate the writing in N.E. There is character depth, humor, subtlety, scatological wit, I'd go as far as to put N.E. in-between Twin Peaks and E.R. It has a mainstream accessibility but moves along at such an esoteric pace. The writing finds you and leaves you behind all in the same scene. In this particular episode it feels like everything from cast to crew, above and below the line, were firing on all cylinders. Everything and everyone seems to be going nowhere in Cicely, AK. until all of sudden it brilliantly goes right to finish that you will never see coming. Yet in hindsight it was building in nearly every scene. It leaves you stunned, both visually which is the on-going metaphor of the episode but also in how concisely television can be crossed with literature. Again, I know this type of rave review can sound hollow, however I would faithfully put this episode in my top three all-time (up with MASH, Deadwood, and more recently Hodor has found the door). There's just such a sublime gracefulness to N.E. and in particular to this episode, Northern Lights, that I'm actually going to quote the dialogue from a film "American Beauty," when the character Ricky Fits says, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in."

Yes. It's really that good.

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