Why Chicago Med's Major Cast Departures Haven't Been Bad For Season 7

Chicago Med returned for Season 7 with the ED staff looking very different: Will had been fired, Ethan was still on leave after being shot, and both April and Natalie were gone with no expectation that they’d be back any time soon, if at all. Will got himself rehired, and Ethan returned temporarily before reinjuring himself, but the show had to compensate for the sudden absences of two of its biggest characters after the departures of Yaya DaCosta and Torrey DeVitto. Now, with the midseason finale fast approaching, I think it’s safe to say that losing April and Natalie hasn’t actually been bad for Season 7. 

I don’t think that I’m alone in having some doubts after how the Season 6 finale didn’t really give definitive goodbyes to either character, and also didn’t introduce any characters who could step up in their absences other than Vanessa. But Med got off to a good start by bringing Torrey DeVitto back for a Season 7 premiere cameo to give Natalie the goodbye she didn’t get at the end of the previous season, and hit the ground running with newcomers Dr. Dylan Scott (played by Guy Lockard) and Dr. Stevie Hammer (played by Kristin Hammer) to incorporate them into the action. 

Med didn’t directly replace April by bringing in another nurse character, but Dylan is filling the pediatric void left by Natalie in the ED, and not by simply being Natalie 2.0. He has his own backstory with the CPD, his own supporting characters (and requisite complicated backstory), and his own bedside manner with the youngsters who come to the hospital. I haven’t found myself missing Natalie, because there’s a new doctor to handle cases with kids, and he has helped expand the world of Med with his ties to Chicago P.D. 

I also haven’t really found myself missing April, despite Med not adding a new nurse to replace her, and that’s nothing against April. Adding two new doctors, with Stevie alongside Dylan, has meant the show isn’t scrambling to fill the screentime that would normally be filled by April (or Natalie) stories. And Stevie has certainly brought her own share of dramatic plot twists thanks to her own tragic backstory and dynamic with her troubled mom. 

Plus, when it comes to compensating for April’s absence, Maggie is in the forefront as an ED nurse with a big plot, thanks to her dynamic with Vanessa. Maggie just crossed a line in helping Vanessa cheat a drug test and put a whole lot of faith in her biological daughter; it’s probably a safe bet that their story isn’t entirely done. For both of their sakes, I hope that Vanessa won’t start taking pills again, but I’m looking forward to finding out. She hasn’t exactly had the easiest time full of the best decisions in Season 7 so far. 

Throw in the other new stories for other characters – ranging from Will’s undercover operation to Goodwin’s health struggles to Crockett considering a move to transplant surgery – and Chicago Med hasn’t really left any gaps in time to miss April and Natalie. Fans may have more trouble adjusting to Ethan’s absence if his injury in the latest episode results in him leaving for episodes at a time again, considering he came back briefly. Fans got a taste of Ethan’s new dynamic with Dean and his position in the ED after being shot, only to have to say goodbye to him again. 

Depending on whether or not Med delivers a time jump between the upcoming midseason finale and the winter premiere in January, it’s possible that Brian Tee will actually be back as Ethan not too far in the future, but only time will tell on that front. For now, you can look forward to the return of Chicago Med for the Season 7 midseason finale on Wednesday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, ahead of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET to close out the One Chicago block for 2021. 

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.