Bad blood gives life to ER doc
February 19, 2003
By Robert Kahn

Bad times for Dr. Luka Kovac mean fun for Goran Visnjic.

After fading into the background in the earlypart of ER's ninth season, Visnjic's sullen physician has, in a short span, met a hooker, lost a patient and nearly killed a med student.

"Bad news for Luka is good news for Goran, as an actor," the 30-year-old Visnjic said the other day in Manhattan as a group of women at the Rihga's hotel bar tried to pretend they weren't looking at him.

"Luka's really misplaced now and he's looking for answers in the wrong places - sex and drinking, that kind of stuff," Visnjic says. "At the beginning of the season, there were a lot ofepisodes which were not very interesting for me. So this is a real payoff."

If brooding Luka lacks direction, Visnjic does not.

He knows what he wants to do when his ER contract is up in two years: Direct theater in Croatia, where most of his family still lives. And he knows how he wants to spend his spare time now: horseback riding, catching up with TV documentaries about space exploration and supporting his pet causes, like animal rights.

He's featured in an ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals appearing in Eastern Europe, with his pug, Bugsy. The captionon the ad: "If you wouldn't wear your dog, please don't wear any fur."

"That ad has provoked a lot of people, which is great," he says. "Hey, you can't hate my dog."