NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Scrubs

Here Are All the Major Characters on Scrubs, from Seasons 1-9

Check into Sacred Heart Hospital with a big head start on keeping track of who’s who!

By Benjamin Bullard

If there’s one thing you can say about almost every character on Scrubs (stream it here on Peacock!), it’s that they actually do care about their patients and each other. Problem is, of course, that they sure have a super-funny way of showing it… and of course we mean that literally.

Through nine seasons of comedy ups and downs as the dysfunctional workplace family plying the always-busy halls of Sacred Heart Hospital, main scrub J.D. (Zach Braff) and his band of medical-grade oddball colleagues gave viewers must-see lessons on how keeping things silly can help lighten the weight of life’s trials and tribulations. Amid rocky relationships, flatlining patients, and even the occasional declaration of workplace war waged by The Janitor’s standing squirrel army, the entire Scrubs gang had an uncanny knack for choosing heart and humor, even when the stakes were as serious as life and death.

With all nine seasons of Scrubs now streaming on Peacock, first-time viewers (and even longtime fans) could probably use a character primer to follow the show’s eclectic ensemble cast of characters. Keep this handy-dandy guide dialed up as you dive into Scrubs… and remember that it’s totally okay to laugh at all these wacky weirdos’ unconventional bedside manner.

RELATED: The Best Guest Stars in Scrubs: Brendan Fraser, Michael J. Fox, Ryan Reynolds & More

Here are all the major characters on Scrubs

J.D. (Zach Braff)

Dr. John 'J.D.' Dorian wears a stethoscope in Scrubs Season 1.

Serving through the show’s first eight seasons as its unofficial narrator and hug-prone protagonist, John Michael "J.D." Dorian gives Scrubs viewers a direct line of insight into life as a clueless intern at Sacred Heart. Played by Zach Braff in every season (though appearing only for six episodes in Season 9), J.D. comes as sort of a two-for-one goofball's package deal alongside best buddy Turk — though the funny flights of fancy that unfold in J.D.’s often-eccentric daydreams ensure we always tend to see things through his eyes. Silly, sensitive, and usually willing to bend the rules to help a patient (or a friend), J.D. somehow manages to live up to his main-character status amid a bigger ensemble of lovable misfits, each of whom — in their own minds, at least — is probably thinking the same thing about themselves.

Turk (Donald Faison)

Dr. Christopher Turk points at himself in Scrubs Season 1.

In Scrubs’ slightly-demented comedy-verse, you can’t really have a character like J.D. without a giant side helping of Turk. Played by Extended Family star Donald Faison through all nine seasons, Christopher Duncan Turk is J.D.’s faultlessly loyal brother from another mother, with a shared friendship dating back to their college roommate days that explains, well, why these best buds still act like college roommates even within the stuffy confines of a hospital. Like J.D., Turk’s heart is in the right place even when he’s butting heads with workplace frenemies like Dr. Cox. And, like J.D., his straight-out-of med school early career at Sacred Heart becomes a sort of springboard for all the growth (and, hilariously, the lack of it) that fans can track through the show’s nearly decade-long run.

Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke)

Dr. Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke) smiles in Scrubs Episode 120.

Two guys and two girls: If Scrubs has a core quartet of four key characters, Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke) is one of the cornerstones — right alongside J.D., Turk, and Carla. Eliot conceals her brilliance beneath layers and layers of social awkwardness, personality quirks, and a penchant for marching to her own beat, though none of that matters for J.D., her long-running love interest. From the very first episode, he’s gobsmacked and googly-eyed over his Sacred Heart co-intern, and the two strike up an on-again, off-again romantic thread that (at last!) pays off in Season 9 when they finally do tie the knot.

Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes)

Nurse Carla Espinoza (Judy Reyes) wears cat ears and a drawn on cat nose in Scrubs Season 1 Episode 6.

Played by Judy Reyes, Sacred Heart head nurse Carla brings some much-needed common sense to balance out a friend-group equation that’s majorly weighted down by all the clownish antics that surround her. From Season 1 through Season 8, she’s Turk’s main squeeze, giving the show a romantic cycle that evolves and grows after the couple marries in Season 3 and wastes little time in starting a family. Thanks to her level head, Carla’s a friendship rock for more than one of her maladjusted colleagues, serving as a special sort of confidant for J.D. (and later Elliot) when it seems that no one else at Sacred Heart is empathetic enough to slow down and really tune in.

RELATED: The 10 Best Episodes of Scrubs: From "My First Day" to "My Finale"

Dr. Perry Cox (John C. McGinley)

Dr. Perry Cox smiles in Scrubs Season 1.

So funny that he probably could’ve starred in his own spinoff show, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) walks around Sacred Heart like he owns the place, dishing out expert advice in that cynical, authoritative way that suggests J.D. and the gang should probably regard most of his “suggestions” as if they're direct orders. Cox has a hilarious hate-hate relationship with Dr. Kelso, though over time, fans find out that his mean streak toward just about everybody on the show is actually superficial and skin-deep. When things get serious and someone’s life, happiness, or health are on the line, Dr. Cox proves to be one of Scrubs’ most stand-up characters — a fact that probably explains why he and Turk end up in leadership roles when the show makes its big story pivot in Season 9.

Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins)

Dr. Bob Kelso smiles in his white coat in Scrubs Season 1.

If someone ever writes a textbook about curmudgeons, Bob Kelso should definitely make the cover. He’s gruff and tough, and, if you believe Dr. Cox, he might just be “the most evil human being on the planet.” Yep, pound for pound, Kelso (Ken Jenkins), Sacred Heart's chief of medicine, rates right up there with Dr. Cox when it comes to thick-skinned cynicism, which probably explains why he and Cox spend most of the series butting heads like a pair of alpha rams with medical degrees. But, thanks to J.D.’s oddly infectious silly streak (not to mention the whole gang’s persistent tendency to stick around in their jobs), Kelso ends up left with no choice but to mellow out at least a little. In later seasons of Scrubs, he actually ends up earning their trust as a revered sort of sage, filling the role of a grumpy-uncle figure who somehow always manages to come through when it really counts.

The Janitor (Neil Flynn)

The Janitor (Neil Flynn) holds a holiday stick next to Dr. John 'J.D.' Dorian in Scrubs Episode 203.

Master of his own dead-squirrel army, “The Janitor” strikes such an iconically offbeat comedy figure that he doesn’t even need a real name. Obsessed with rodent taxidermy and played by Neil Flynn as a guy whose private life must be absolutely jam-packed with wall-to-wall weirdness, The Janitor lends Scrubs a second layer of comic relief that, thanks to its downright craziness, helps to frame the rest of the gang’s quirks with at least a thin assurance that maybe they’re not so epically dysfunctional after all. As it turns out, though, there’s even a stealthy method to The Janitor’s apparent madness. Every now and then, he seems to have the answer to conundrums that lie well outside his job description… and if you stick around through Season 8, you’ll even get to find out his actual name.

Jordan Sullivan (Christa Miller)

Jordan Sullivan, Dr. Perry Cox, Nurse Carla Espironsa, and Dr. Christopher Turk standing next to each other while having a conversation.

Dr. Cox needs a romantic nemesis capable of keeping pace with his haughty brand of intelligence, and in Jordan Sullivan (Christa Miller), Scrubs provides that in spades. Flippant, cold, and quick with witty barbs that deflect criticism while protecting her vulnerable side, Jordan shows up at Sacred Heart as Dr. Cox’s ex-wife, though the show provides all kinds of neurotic story threads to keep the two of them constantly entangled. In later seasons, the callous couple even ends up having a child and falling back into the tradition of wearing their old wedding rings… though they remain just jaded enough to stop short of committing to an official second wedding.

RELATED: How Did Scrubs End? Remembering the Series Finale(s)

The Todd (Robert Maschio)

Dr. Todd Quinlan standing next to Dr. Christopher Turk while holding up a finger gun.

Todd Quinlan (aka "The Todd") is definitely Scrubs’ resident frat guy. Womanizing, lecherous, and just generally committed to living by an eternally teenaged bro-code of high-fives, The Todd is such a jerk — at least on the surface — that it’s easy to forget that he’s actually a respected surgeon. Played by Robert Maschio as the kind of alpha guy who probably hits the town with Seinfeld’s David Puddy when no one’s watching, The Todd actually turns out to be a pretty nuanced and complicated character through the show’s later seasons, bearing a lot of past trauma and tragedy beneath his outward personality’s testosterone-saturated veneer.

Ted Buckland (Sam Lloyd)

True to the trope that doctors and lawyers just don’t mix, hospital attorney Ted Buckland (Sam Lloyd) is probably Scrubs’ loneliest, biggest-loser character. Loveless in life, still living with his mom, and barely able to hang onto his sketchily-obtained law license, Ted’s the kind of guy it’s totally okay to make fun of when his back is turned… though you’d feel like a total heel (and probably race to his side with a ready apology) if he ever found out. Scrubs highlights the depths of Ted’s loner torment by making him Dr. Kelso’s chief whipping boy — so much so that poor Ted occasionally even thinks about snuffing Kelso completely out. It’s a good thing Ted has at least one semi-normal outlet to fall back on: He tunes in surprisingly well as a singin’ member of The Worthless Peons, the on-the-nose name for his workplace barbershop quartet group.

Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé)

Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishe) smiles in front of a tiled background.

When Scrubs makes its Season 9 turn to a new hospital, the narrator’s point of view shifts from J.D.’s eyes to those of Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé). Lucy would have fit in just fine, though, with Scrubs’ original cast right from the start — she’s eccentric and self-doubting, traits that cloud her confidence as a more-than-promising medical student. Like J.D., Lucy’s given to the occasional lapse into a dream-like state of fantasy, which (thankfully) the show lets viewers drop in on as voyeurs who can take a peek into her awkwardly funny dream sequences.

Cole Aaronson (Dave Franco)

Cole Aaronson (Dave Franco) stands in front of a grey background in Scrubs.

Scrubs’ finale season found a fresh anti-hero in Winston University medical student Cole Aaronson, the sorta-spoiled scion of a super-rich family whose huge hospital donations explain his (mostly unearned) knack for showing off a can’t-touch-this brand of swagger. Cole’s not a total heel, though, falling into a romantic pattern with Lucy that goes through some serious ups and downs before they both realize there’s more to life than their career bragging rights. Faced with a pretty serious medical scare that defines his Season 9 story, Cole ends up gaining Turk’s confidence in the end, all while overcoming his health issues and winning a second lease on life.

Stream all nine seasons of Scrubs on Peacock here.