December 30, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

His sutures come undone, his diagnoses are sometimes wrong, and he’s a little squeamish about blood. Not exactly a stellar career start for third-year resident John Carter. But for Noah Wyle, 23, the Los Angeles native who plays the perpetually wide-eyed medic on NBC’s ER, it’s been a banner year. Work had been scarce when he auditioned for the medical drama that would become the season’s biggest hit. Two callbacks later, Wyle says, ”It was either the producers’ infinite wisdom or infinite stupidity, but I got the part.” Wyle brings that kind of innocence to his character: ”Every doctor gets a kick out of (Carter),” he says, ”because they were all him once, thrown into some big hospital, ill prepared.” Wyle, who was born one block from Hollywood Boulevard, came to his job with a bit more experience than Carter — you’ll find small roles in such films as A Few Good Men and Swing Kids on his résumé — but he’s quick to defend his alter ego. ”He’s just starting with a lower level of competency and self-esteem … and knowledge. But from there he has these infinite possibilities.”

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