Chicago Med wraps up the first half of its seventh season with an episode that is both festive for the holiday but also provides viewers with much-needed answers to some burning questions from the season.
“It is a cliffhanger, but it’s also the culmination of our stories,” executive producer Diane Frolov tells Monsters & Critics. “They do reach a climax in it.”
“Pretty much all the stories that we have set up at the beginning, particularly the medical fraud story [climax],” adds executive producer Andy Schneider.
“The Charles (Oliver Platt)-Archer (Steven Weber) conflict takes a different and surprising turn in this episode and starts them on a different kind of relationship on the back half. Will (Nick Gehlfuss) and Stevie’s (Kristin Hager) relationship, as you see it’s already taking a turn and will change further. Also, the story with Stevie and her mom, she’s worried where mom is in this episode, but we’ll continue that on the back half.”
In the Secret Santa Has a Gift for You episode, the outcome of Will’s medical fraud investigation weighs heavily on his mind as he works with Dylan (Guy Lockard) to save a 4-month-old patient. Stevie and Vanessa (Asjha Cooper) both struggle to keep their secrets. Crockett (Dominic Rains) and Blake (Sarah Rafferty) work with Abrams (Brennan Brown) to save a patient in need of a liver transplant.
But that’s all the tease we’re going to get. Diane and Andy wouldn’t reveal what those climaxes are, but read on for what they did tell Monsters & Critics about season seven so far and what’s to come:
Monsters & Critics: Isn’t it a little soon for Will to fall into a new relationship?
Diane Frolov: So far, he hasn’t really fallen into it in that way. He has his past with Stevie, they know each other from medical school. So, more we’ve been playing that as a friendship at this point.
Andy Schneider: A bantering kind of a relationship.
M&C: He definitely has that need to solve people’s problems. And she has a big problem with her mother.
Diane Frolov: Yes. As you saw that did create conflict between the two of them, his desire to solve things.
Andy Schneider: But also, his having an understanding of Stevie’s background, which he never suspected, has changed his feelings toward her. He understands her in a way with more empathy than he did before.
M&C: Well, the thing that upset me was you brought Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) back for just a few episodes, and then he was reinjured. So, tell me when is he coming back? They’re talking about all this rehab that he’s going to have to go through.
Diane Frolov: He is coming back in episode 12. It will be post-surgery, but he’ll still be in rehab from it. But he’s going to have just a very lovely story with Dr. Charles. So, he has a big story in 12. And then he will be back in the latter part of the season.
Andy Schneider: In the hospital, working as a doctor.
Diane Frolov: And when he comes back, he’s going to be healed and physically what he was before.
Andy Schneider: But still dealing emotionally with this trauma that he’s experienced. But he will come through it in a positive way.
M&C: When Ethan was performing the procedure that would save the patient from surgery, and it reinjured his back, Dean Archer was watching the whole thing. Was he hoping that Ethan would have to leave again? Because sometimes Archer seems not so bad, like he wrote the recommendation for April (Yaya DaCosta), but then other times, it’s not so clear.
Diane Frolov: That’s what we love about him. It’s hard to know with him. But I think in terms of Ethan, he does wish Ethan the best. He was Ethan’s CO, and so there’s that relationship there. In the final episode, we are going to get a better picture of what motivates Archer.
Andy Schneider: And also it shows why he does some of the things he does, and talks about his feelings for Ethan. So, you get a broader picture of Dean Archer.
Diane Frolov: He does really love Ethan.
Andy Schneider: It isn’t going to prevent him from doing some bad things though.
M&C: You mentioned that the medical fraud story would be wrapping up. I thought Sharon (S. Epatha Merkerson) told Will to let that go now that Matt (Michael Rady) is in the hospital.
Diane Frolov: It reaches a climax. It doesn’t wrap up, but it does come to a climax. And then that kicks off some other problems in the back half.
M&C: I really like Dr. Scott. Is that character based on someone? Because the idea of a cop going to medical school and making a career change, that’s kind of unusual.
Diane Frolov: Well, it’s not based on a particular person, but it actually happened. CPD has a program for cops that want to do that, in fact.
Andy Schneider: They help them go to medical school.
Diane Frolov: And, in fact, one of our consultants, our on-site consultant in Chicago, is a cop and a trauma surgeon. He put himself through medical school.
Andy Schneider: Working in law enforcement.
Diane Frolov: And has continued to do so. We didn’t know that that kind of thing existed.
M&C: Me either. You would think it would be more the fire department with their EMTs who seem more natural to become doctors.
Diane Frolov: Yeah.
Andy Schneider: It’s funny, yeah.
Diane Frolov: But Chicago PD, the real Chicago PD, really does support it, and they will pay for medical school.
Andy Schneider: And accommodate your schedule so that you can take the classes you need to finish.
Diane Frolov: In fact, our other consultant, it’s very touching that cops will cover for a cop who’s going to medical school. Like they’ll say, “I’ll go to the courthouse” …
Andy Schneider: … “or I’ll testify for you,” or “I’ll take your shift if you need to.” They’re really supportive in that way.
M&C: I love Dr. Scott’s relationship with Dr. Charles, but we haven’t seen Dr. Charles’ daughter this season. I thought he won custody.
Diane Frolov: He did, but she’s okay. She’s going to school, and he hasn’t been having any issues with her.
Andy Schneider: Not to say that he won’t have trouble going forward. Because, you know, she’s a teenage girl and they can be difficult.
M&C: I thought it could be a COVID thing possibly.
Andy Schneider: Oh, no. She’s got a good career going on her own, and so the first part of the season actually, we had some availability issues to use her. But we love her, and we would love to bring her back. She’s a terrific young actor.
M&C: Crockett has been working with Dr. Blake and is thinking of going into transplant surgery. But he also had a flirtation with her daughter. I wonder, is the mom jealous of that?
Diane Frolov: The mother doesn’t really know that the thing with the daughter is happening, or happened. We are going to be exploring that little triangle.
Andy Schneider: It’s a very awkward situation for Crockett, and there’s an escalation to this in the winter finale, and then it becomes explosive in the back half, that triangle and mom’s feelings about it, and the daughter’s feelings about it. It’s a continuing storyline.
Diane Frolov: Very awkward for Crockett.
M&C: Especially because he just finished with Natalie (Torrey DeVitto).
Diane Frolov: We felt that with Natalie, they had reached an end. And what it gave him was this vision of himself as somebody who could have a relationship, who could, in fact, commit. So, it opened up a door for him. It’s like his relationship with Natalie allows him to go forward and explore other relationships, rather than thinking that he’s trading one for another.
M&C: You lost April and Natalie. Does the relationship between Maggie (Marlyne Barrett) and Vanessa fill that void so that we have female stories?
Diane Frolov: Yeah, it does. And it’s deeper, the mother-daughter dynamic. Also, the fact that Vanessa is a doctor and Maggie is a nurse, so there’s this difference in hierarchy as well, which we haven’t gone into that too much yet, but that does exist.
Andy Schneider: And their relationship will deepen and change, and we will continue to play that in the back half.
M&C: Is Vanessa actually a doctor yet? I thought she had to finish this program first.
Andy Schneider: Well, they did this during COVID. They allowed fourth-year medical students to advance to internship if they had done a certain number of rounds. So yes, she’s a first-year resident.
Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7c on NBC.