Chicago Med was missing Dr. Ethan Choi for much of the seventh season, first due to his gunshot wound at the end of Season 6 and then due to him needing surgery after reinjuring his back saving a patient. Dean Archer stepped up as ED chief in his absence, but after his return, Ethan made a big decision that officially puts the power in his former Navy commanding officer’s hands. Stars Brian Tee and Steven Weber spoke with CinemaBlend about whether Ethan had a “breaking point” that motivated him to give up the job, and how Archer will handle the new situation.
There was a bit of drama about Ethan getting the ED chief job in the first place, although not many people other than Will seemed to think that Will was a realistic candidate for the job. The situation became more complicated when Ethan brought in his former Navy commanding officer to work under him at Med, and it hasn’t been without tension. Still, in the latest episode, Ethan decided that Archer should hold onto the chief job even though he’s back. When I spoke with the actors as Season 7 winds down, Brian Tee weighed in on whether Ethan had a breaking point that led to the choice to give up the leadership position:
A whole lot has happened for Ethan over the course of the year, with April leaving (and actress Yaya DaCosta landing a new role over on Fox) shortly after he sustained a gunshot wound. His father died in an emotional episode of Season 7, followed by the discovery that his father had a separate life with a long and loving relationship with another man. He’s been through enough that he earned a break from all the responsibilities of being chief. Brian Tee continued:
Chicago Med received a renewal through Season 8 back in early 2020, so there hasn’t been any pressure or concern about the show ending with its upcoming Season 7 finale. Ethan continuing to evolve demonstrates that even the characters who have been around from the very beginning can find new directions, as Tee pointed out how his character has changed:
Dean Archer was the natural choice for the new ED chief, whether Ethan was going with his heart or his head. Although he didn’t have the smoothest transition into the ED at Med, he kept the Emergency Department running smoothly enough in Ethan’s absence, and has the most experience with leadership.
The only other doctor with any seniority in the department is Will, and Will has plenty of other responsibilities at the moment, even if Goodwin had decided that he was worth considering for the top job this time around. But how does Archer feel about officially becoming permanent chief, in light of how he was introduced with some complications in Season 6? Steven Weber explained:
Fans have learned enough about Dean’s background to know that there’s plenty of baggage for him from his time in the Navy, but the character hasn’t exactly been an open book about his past. Even though he’s still probably not everybody’s favorite coworker, he has more than proved himself to be a capable doctor and leader, and he too has changed over his two seasons on the show so far, as Weber went on to explain:
“Testy and tested” may be the perfect way to describe the working relationship between Ethan and Archer, and it seems like that dynamic is likely to continue even though they’ve switched positions in the ED. Ethan making that choice to step down and seeing that Archer is good at the job could be beneficial for both characters, and Weber pointed out that the authority helps Archer:
Of course, Archer hasn’t lost all of the edge that meant he wasn’t making fast friends with everybody back in Season 6, as he wasn’t the most welcoming to Hannah when she made her return and stepped into the ED”s vacancy following Stevie’s departure. When I noted that the character hasn’t seemed to be Hannah’s biggest fan, the actor responded:
There aren’t too many episodes left in Chicago Med Season 7 to show off the new dynamic with Dean Archer officially as permanent ED chief with Ethan back in his former role, as the finale is fast-approaching. For now, keep tuning in to NBC on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Chicago Med, followed by Chicago Fire (which is bringing back Jesse Spencer for the Season 10 finale that will apparently be "nonstop") at 9 p.m. and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. For when more of TV’s biggest shows are wrapping for the season, check out our spring TV finale schedule.
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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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. 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).
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