Chicago Med's Emergency Department went through some big changes in the early episodes of Season 6, and not just because of the pandemic. Ethan Choi was promoted to become ED Chief, much to the disappointment of Will Halstead, whose history of going rogue meant that he was never a serious candidate for the position. While Will did find a new project to work on with Dr. Sabeena Virani's clinical trial, there has already been some tension between Ethan and Will, and stars Brian Tee and Nick Gehlfuss previewed the conflict to come and what it could mean for the always-dramatic ED.
Brian Tee and Nick Gehlfuss spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets for the One Chicago Day celebration of all things Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. Both stars have been on board Med from the very beginning, with Tee's Ethan and Gehlfuss' Will usually working well together prior to Ethan's promotion, even if Ethan's military sensibilities didn't always gel with Will's tendency to bend the rules. When I asked the Med stars what their characters' dynamic will look like moving forward, they shed some light on the conflict that could result in one doctor leaving the ED.
And that's after Chicago Med just said goodbye to Noah! Ethan was the one who sent Noah packing and is tasked with running the ED during a pandemic, and Brian Tee shared what kind of conflict Ethan is facing from Will as well as from his own sense of responsibility:
It's funny, [S. Epatha Merkerson] always mentions our two characters, and what Sharon Goodwin is going through, and that we're kind of these polar opposites, right? If one is a rule-follower, the other is a rule-breaker. And I think you're gonna see that within our two characters. I think there's gonna be, I feel, more conflict... More conflict, I think for us professionally, and maybe even personally. And you're gonna see that kind of down the line as we move forward. But in Ethan's scenario, I think he's also working through his own conflicts within himself about running the ED in his new position as Chief, and, you know, he has particular expectations. And I feel like there's a way that he wants to run it, but he keeps hitting these roadblocks. But I think he needs to take a more introspective look at himself, and how to do things. So hopefully, there's growth within him as well.
Ethan inheriting the ED in the middle of a pandemic would have been stressful enough without Will complicating things, especially considering the rift with April over pulling her from the COVID ward. Maggie might have bigger things to worry about than the ED running smoothly moving forward, and Will has thrown himself into his clinical trial with characteristic Will enthusiasm (and a growing attraction to his trial partner).
It's hard to imagine Will budging willingly once he puts his foot down, so conflict could certainly escalate if Ethan has to remind Will that he's the one in charge with the final say in the ED, especially if Ethan has high expectations of himself. Based on five full seasons and counting of watching Will Halstead, all I can say is good luck to Ethan in finding a way to convince Will to bend without before things get ugly or break!
Viewers might not want to count on Will bending any time too soon, but perhaps turning his eye to work elsewhere than Ethan's ED. Nick Gehlfuss previewed a specific conflict that's on the way that will prompt Will to consider a future elsewhere, saying of his character:
I don't know if Will is conscious of this. He challenges Ethan now because of the authority. And there is going to be a moment where Will has to prep for this presentation for the clinical trial that deals with the new heart failure medication. And even though the day before he had cleared it, Will had cleared this presentation with Ethan, Ethan said you can have this time, that day brings an influx of patients from another hospital. And so it's an emergency. And Ethan asks Will to postpone the presentation, Will says to Dr. Virani, privately, no, I'm doing that. Don't worry, I'll make this happen. And he defies the orders and there's some tension where they butt heads at the end. And then Will ultimately starts considering a new path that may take him outside of the ED. Where he doesn't have to deal with Ethan.
In fairness to Will, he would probably be challenging anybody leading the ED if they tried to interfere with his new passion project, and Ethan happens to be the man who earned the job. It is hard to imagine the scenario that could make Will seriously consider a path that would take him away from treating patients in emergency medicine at Med, and not just because that could mean a lot less Nick Gehlfuss in action as Will. Most of the line-crossing Will has done has been in service of providing emergency aid. Then again, it seems he's finding ways of pushing boundaries with the clinical trial as well.
For now, we can only wait and see how the dynamic between Ethan and Will continues to change as they deal with their own problems as well as each other within the ED. New episodes of Chicago Med kick off Chicago Wednesdays on NBC at 8 p.m. ET, and you can always revisit the earlier days of Med (and Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.) with all three series streaming on Peacock now.
The TV universe that includes Chicago Med is soon going to get even bigger, so be sure to check out our rundown of how the full six-show Dick Wolf universe connects in the weeks before the next series premieres. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more One Chicago content on the way from Fire, P.D., and Med.