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BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?

RATING TV’S WORKPLACE ROMANCES

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ALL OVER TV land, characters are telling coworkers, ”Take a memo, and then take me — right here, on the desk!” Frasier’s departing Mercedes Ruehl ends her on-again, off-again fling with Dr. Crane this week, but Lois & Clark’s title duo will soon tie the knot, Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle) can’t concentrate with Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben) in the ER, and everyone on Melrose Place has bedded at least one workmate (even Matt has gotten in on the action). Here’s a look at TV’s other workplace couples, rated for office stress (the closer to 10, the more coffee cups likely to be thrown):

ER Med students Harper Tracy (Christine Elise) and John Carter (Noah Wyle). Courtship: Carter kissed Tracy over a patient, but Dr. Ross (George Clooney) bedded her first in a one-night stand. PDA: Trysted secretly in the hospital chapel; later on, Carter couldn’t hide his hickey. Compatibility: Perfect, if both want to marry a doctor. Stress-o-meter: 4; Carter remains frosty to Ross.

NEW YORK UNDERCOVER Detectives Eddie Torres (Michael DeLorenzo) and Nina Moreno (Lauren Velez). Courtship: When Eddie’s partner, J.C. Williams (Malik Yoba), was injured in last season’s cliffhanger, Nina took his place; at first distant, Eddie warmed up. PDA: Strictly undercover. Compatibility: They share a Latino background, and reticent Nina complements her voluble partner. Stress-o-meter: 5; initial animosity between J.C. and his replacement, but now they work as a trio.

NYPD BLUE Detectives Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) and Diane Russell (Kim Delaney). Courtship: They went from the beat to the bed on their first episode together. PDA: Bubkes. Compatibility: Their bare butts look good together. Stress-o-meter: 7; Simone is overprotective and insisted on backing her up on an arrest.

NEWSRADIO Dave (Dave Foley) and Lisa (Maura Tierney). Courtship: Dove into bed in the second episode, then hid the relationship until late October. PDA: Hand-holding, quick kisses. Compatibility: ”They’re equally obsessed with their work,” says executive producer Paul Simms. Stress-o-meter: 8; In the Jan. 14 episode, Dave overhears Lisa griping about him to colleagues; a tiff ensues.

MELROSE PLACE Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett) and Richard Hart (Patrick Muldoon) of Hart-Mancini Designs, and staff photographer Jo Reynolds (Daphne Zuniga). Courtship: Jane snagged Richard to save her career; he found out and turned to Jo. PDA: Hot lip locks. Compatibility: ”Jane and Richard are like poison, but good in terms of business,” says executive producer Frank South. ”Jo was always treated like crap, but Richard treats her great.” Stress-o-meter: 9.9; Jane socked Jo in the eye; now all three have perfected icy stares.