Wait, Is Chicago Med Already Saying Goodbye To Another Major Character?

Asjha Cooper as Vanessa in Chicago Med Season 8
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Chicago Med Season 8, called “Mama Said There Would Be Days Like This.”

Season 8 of Chicago Med started out by saying goodbye to Dr. Dylan Scott, after the resolution to the fiery cliffhanger left him feeling like he couldn’t stay. Then news broke that Brian Tee will depart as Dr. Ethan Choi before the end of the year. Now, it appears that Med is about to say goodbye to another character: Dr. Vanessa Taylor

Fortunately, Chicago Med isn’t setting up her goodbye with Vanessa breaking the law to get drugs for her patients again, but her decision to cross that line earlier in Season 8 is part of what inspired her to make a very big career move. A patient by the name of Samir came into the hospital with a mystery ailment, and she was thrilled to meet him because of his work fighting polio in places where it hadn’t yet been eradicated. 

Samir quickly became as impressed with her as she was with him, especially when she followed a hunch and diagnosed him with scurvy. Between her skills as a doctor and her own admission earlier in the episode that she hasn't had many chances to travel, he had a proposition for her: that she join the mission to help people in need in the Philippines. 

Vanessa decided to take him up on his offer, to Maggie’s dismay. Her bio mom pointed out some practical problems with the idea, including that Vanessa wouldn’t be able to complete her residency, but the young doctor had an answer for every objection, and her explanation for why she wanted to make this huge move made enough sense that even Maggie couldn’t argue other than suggesting that she take some time to think about it, but she wants to take the leap. Vanessa said:

You were upset, and rightly so, when I bought those drugs off the street. But what I didn’t say to you earlier that I should have is that I was actually inspired. I mean, despite the risk, I helped my patient. I was resourceful. I mean, I was a good doctor. That’s the kind of person I want to be… I know that this opportunity will allow me to be the kind of doctor that I want to be, doing the work that I love. This is my calling.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, Chicago Med certainly set Vanessa up to bow out of Season 8, and she doesn’t appear in the promo for the next episode. Asjha Cooper has been part of the medical drama since debuting back in Season 6, and seemed primed to stay on board in the long run. That said, this wouldn’t be the first time that Med said goodbye to an important character in the middle of the season, with little fanfare. That happened with Kristen Hager as Dr. Stevie Hammer; could it have happened again with Vanessa? 

If so, it means big changes for the rest of Season 8. The relationship with Vanessa has been Maggie’s major storyline for a while now, and Marlyne Barrett isn’t going anywhere, so Med may need a new direction for her. Plus, Ethan is leaving before the end of the year, so Med could be down two doctors in the second half of the season. 

See how Chicago Med addresses Vanessa’s decision with new episodes on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. If you want to revisit some of Vanessa’s highlights over the years, you can do so streaming with a Peacock Premium 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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.