MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for the Season 5 premiere of Chicago Med, called "Never Going Back To Normal."
News broke back before the Season 4 finale of Chicago Med that two regulars would depart ahead of Season 5: Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling. At the time, there was no confirmation that either actor would ever be back, so fans could only speculate about how Season 5 would resolve the cliffhanger of who killed Connor's dad and Ava's role. At least it was later revealed Colin Donnell would return once more for the premiere! Now, showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov have explained Connor's shocking conclusion on Chicago Med in the Season 5 premiere.
But let's start with what happened.
"Never Going Back To Normal" delivered an early surprise when none other than Norma Kuhling popped up as Ava. Considering the events of the premiere, it's probably safe to say that this was Kuhling playing Ava one last time. Kevin Atwater crossed over from Chicago P.D. to investigate Connor's dad's death, and Connor discovered he was a suspect. Atwater got inside info on Connor from Ava, who Connor confronted and accused of murder.
The big twist came when Dr. Latham eventually revealed that there was a contamination in the insulin used to kill Connor's dad that would identify who dosed him, sending Ava running away. She asked Connor for an hour to get to O'Hare Airport, saying that she'd killed his dad for him, then grabbed a scalpel and slashed her own throat. Despite the best efforts of Connor, Dr. Latham, and more, Ava died.
Connor came to the realization that he needed to leave Med, as too much had happened for him to stick around. Emotional, he couldn't bring himself to say goodbye to his friends at the hospital, and he left. Farewell, Connor (and Ava)! When asked why Med started Season 5 by killing a character, showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov said this:
Andrew Schneider: There was a general feeling that Connor's story was really coming to a conclusion. It was hard to extend the story any further. Dick Wolf likes to inject new characters and sort of keep the show alive in that sense. So that was kind of what was driving the decision. Everybody loves Colin and Norma, but it was just a sense of, 'Let's do some changes.' The issue was how to give a satisfying departure.
Diane Frolov: And a satisfying closure to both of those stories. We had talked about the end of these stories way back last year, and what we had to do in the premiere was kind of speed that up. From the get go, when we decided that Ava had a personality disorder, she was doing these terrible things. We knew she was not going to come to a good end.
The shocking end to Connor's story was born out of a drive to "keep the show alive," which will involve the addition of new characters. In fact, one key new character already made his debut in the Season 5 premiere, and he'll be "disrupting some relationships" as the season progresses. Only time will tell how fans react to the twist of Ava killing herself and Connor deciding to leave, but there's no denying that Med delivered closure!
It was also a twist that managed to both come as a shock and yet still have been set up way back in Season 4. The slow reveal that Ava had a personality disorder set the stage for the suspicious death of Connor's dad, her seeming breakdown in the Season 4 finale when she all but confessed to the murder, and then her ultimate suicide. She definitely did not come to a good end! When I asked the showrunners if they ever considered any alternatives to Ava killing herself in the Season 5 premiere, this was their response:
Andrew Schneider: It seemed to kind of head to this inevitability.
Diane Frolov: We talked about that she could survive the operation, she could survive her actions. But we just didn't feel that the story ended.
Andrew Schneider: By having her die, it was in a way her final revenge on the man who rejected her, and it helped seal his decision to leave Med.
The Chicago Med team did consider letting Ava survive after she'd slashed her own throat, but Ava surviving would have left a story open that was intended to close. After all, Colin Donnell was only slated to return for the Season 5 opener, and Norma Kuhling was a surprise! It is fitting that her final act would have been an attempt at revenge against Connor. As if she hadn't already caused him enough trouble!
Ava killing herself and dying after Connor tried to save her life, shortly after she killed his father, all in that same hospital certainly do explain why Connor would need to leave Med. Who can blame him for wanting to get away from all the heartache he'd experienced, even if the building was full of his friends?
So, does this mean that Chicago Med fans will never see Connor again? Not necessarily. Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider gave this optimistic answer about whether there was anything that could bring Connor back:
Diane Frolov: Sure! Absolutely. We're very very fond of the actor, of Colin, and think he's great. So yeah!
Andrew Schneider: We'd welcome him back.
While Connor may be gone for now, he may not be gone forever! And there's a lot to look forward to in the aftermath of Ava's death and Connor's departure, although Will may not be looking forward to it too much.
He and Natalie both survived the accident from the Season 4 finale, but Philip proved to be much creepier than he'd seemed, when he slid a ring onto unconscious Natalie's finger and claimed they were engaged. Natalie lost her memory of that whole day due to a brain injury, so fans are in store for a truly unique love triangle.
Maggie will be struggling with breast cancer in Season 5, but April and Ethan seem to be going strong, and the big three-show crossover between Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. should be must-see TV when it airs in October. For now, you can catch all three series on Wednesday nights on NBC, with Med at 8 p.m. ET, Fire at 9 p.m. ET, and P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.