Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise officially expands to three shows on Tuesday, with the premiere of Chicago Med on NBC. Med joins its predecessors Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., and the overlaps among the three shows don't stop at their common setting.
We've already met many of the major players on Chicago Med, thanks to a backdoor pilot that aired on Chicago Fire last season, including Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt), the hospital's chief of psychiatry; hospital boss Sharon Goodwin (Law & Order alum S. Epatha Merkerson); nurse April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), and Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), the ER's chief resident and the brother of Chicago P.D.'s Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer).
Tuesday's episode rounds out the Chicago Med staff with the introduction of Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto), a pregnant pediatric surgeon; Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee), an infectious disease specialist who did two military tours as a combat medic; and Dr. Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo), a fourth-year medical student who's still learning the ropes. There's also the dashing Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell), a new trauma surgery fellow who's from an affluent section of Chicago and who clashes with Dr. Halstead. (He's also "a supremely talented screwup in his personal life," Donnell tells TVGuide.com.)
Based on the first episode, Chicago Med is a medical drama that's more aligned with ER than Grey's Anatomy, in that the personal backstories have yet to tilt toward the salacious. And, judging from the initial installment, there's nothing that immediately stands out as setting Chicago Med apart from the rest of the procedural pack - other than the fact that the show will come with its own built-in audience thanks to the success of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.But maybe that's all it needs (See: Law & Order: SVU).
There's no denying that Wolf is a master of the procedural domain, and the case-of-the-week story - in this first episode, an elevated train derailment - provides for enjoyable popcorn viewing and plants appetite-whetting seeds of larger plotlines to come. (The tension between Halstead and Rhodes is already intriguing, with Halstead resenting his new superior's privileged background right off the bat, and Platt's understated, keenly perceptive Dr. Daniel Charles is quickly becoming the most interesting character out of all three series.)
But what will really draw viewers to Chicago Med is that the show, like Chicago P.D., feels like a seamless extension of its predecessors. We're already invested in April, for instance, because of her relationship with Chicago Fire's Severide (Taylor Kinney). The most interesting thing about Dr. Halstead, for now, is that he's Jay's brother. Viewers who tune in to all three will be rewarded with plenty of crossovers, starting with Chicago Fire's Herrmann (David Eigenberg), who makes a brief appearance early on in Tuesday's episode. (Look for a cameo by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel too.) The episode also ends, naturally, at Molly's. "We'll be going back and forth. I've already done a scene on P.D.," Gehlfuss tells TVGuide.com. "The crossovers are working, and they're going to just continue to capitalize on it. The viewers love it."
Adds Merkerson: "In reality, those three communities really do work in tandem," Merkerson explains. "It's going to be, I think, really fascinating, having the third part of this triangle connected ... Fire, P.D. and Medical."
Will that include further exploration of the relationship between April and Severide? Not right away, according to DaCosta. "When I first came into it, I thought it was all about Severide. But we did make a pact to not let that experience that we had last season interfere with our friendship," she tells TVGuide.com. "We'll see what happens. I'm just as curious as you are."
Chicago Med premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on NBC. Will you watch?
VIDEO: What is Chicago P.D. star Sophia Bush's hidden talent?