After Chicago Med's Big Fall Finale Reveal, The Showrunners Talk Trust Issues And Complications Ahead

Goodwin, Will, and Charles at Ethan's wedding in Chicago Med Season 8
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: spoilers ahead for the fall finale of Chicago Med Season 8, called “This Could Be the Start of Something New.”

The fall finale of Chicago Med’s eighth season was bound to be game-changing due to the much-hyped departure of Brian Tee as Dr. Ethan Choi. Fortunately, showrunners Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider weren’t kidding when they previewed a happy ending and church wedding for Ethan and April, and that happy ending is a relief in light of how the episode concluded. Jack Dayton – who has already proved that he has a blind spot when it comes to actual patient care – has bought a controlling interest in Med, and according to the showrunners, the aftermath is going to be complicated. 

First things first: let's dive into what happened. Jack Dayton’s financial and tech support of the hospital after being saved by Crockett seemed too good to be true for some time… and now the characters found out that there are some strings attached. Crockett hasn’t loved being shoved into fame by Dayton, and had some trouble when the revolutionary OR 2.0 didn’t want to let him use his own expertise during a surgery, when he’d already been hesitant about doing the procedure in front of an audience of businesspeople. For a bit there, it seemed like Dean’s reference to HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t too much of an exaggeration! 

The doctor who was well-versed in OR 2.0 was able to override the tech and let Crockett use his own techniques, but it was an example of business and technology potentially getting in the way of saving lives, and the gratitude for the new operating room didn’t seem to extend to the doctors wanting Jack Dayton even more involved in their work. Goodwin, Will, Dr. Charles, and hospital lawyer Kalmick found out about Dayton buying the controlling interest at the very end.

While it wasn’t a life-or-death cliffhanger like the fire at the end of Season 7, comments from the showrunners indicate that this still counts as a game-changer for the characters who are sticking around. When Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider spoke with CinemaBlend about the fall finale, I asked about what’s on the way with Dayton and the OR 2.0. They shared that “trust” issues are just one of many complications on the way, saying: 

  • Frolov: "There are going to be a lot of complications. Not just medically, but ethically."
  • Schneider: "This is incredibly expensive technology, who's gonna pay for it all? What patients are going to be allowed to have access to this technology?"
  • Frolov: "And as you saw, how much do you trust the machine? What is the human role with technology?"
  • Schneider: "It's a tool, but it's a very expensive tool, and you still need a surgeon using that tool."

While it’s much too early to predict what will happen if there’s a standoff between the businessman and the doctors, Dayton could be stuck if the surgeons are pushed far enough that they refuse to operate. I can imagine characters struggling with not being able to use OR 2.0 to save everybody, if it turns out that the technology is saved for the super rich. Plus, there’s the whole issue of whether the tech can be trusted as much as a human! 

As would be expected after Crockett’s reluctance to do the surgery – and what may have just been good luck that it worked – Diane Frolov confirmed that he “has conflicts about it.” He’s certainly the biggest character who would be using OR 2.0 and has the closest bond with Dayton, so the second half of Season 8 might be rough for him. I'd also love to get Dr. Abrams take on the tech.

So, now that the businessman has controlling interest in the hospital, will he allow them to go about their medical business as usual or change how everything works? According to the showrunners, he definitely didn’t buy Med just out of the goodness of his heart to let them keep carrying on as they were. Schneider and Frolov said:

  • Schneider: Big time! It changes Goodwin's role in the hospital. Supply chain issues will be resolved, but at some expense to other issues in the hospital.
  • Frolov: There'll be issues of, as Andy said, power, priorities, policy.
  • Schneider: Jack was into flash, not necessarily comprehensive patient care. He's not a doctor, he's a businessman.

Changes to Goodwin’s role could be bad news for everybody, as she tends to have the backs of the doctors and nurses as much as possible, and is often willing to stand up to the board. She even indicated to Will and Vanessa that she was okay with their illegal methods of getting drugs for a patient, except for the fact that they’d hidden it from her. Goodwin usually wants to prioritize patient care over money; Dayton may not be in the same book, let alone on the same page. 

So, what’s going to happen in the second half of Season 8, with Ethan gone from the ED and Jack Dayton suddenly in a position of power? Find out when Chicago Med returns in the 2023 TV premiere schedule on Wednesday, January 4 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, ahead of Chicago Fire Season 11 and Chicago P.D. Season 10. If you’re not looking forward to a month without any One Chicago action, you can revisit past episodes streaming with a Peacock subscription.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).