The doctors on Chicago Medare a little bit older and a little bit wiser when the show returns for its sophomore season on NBC (Thursday, 9/8c). And by the end of next year, Med will no longer be the youngest sibling in the Chicago franchise: that honor will go to Chicago Justicewhen it premieres midseason.
Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell)
Where we left off: Rhodes said goodbye to his mentor, Dr. Downey (Gregg Henry), who died after his cancer suddenly took a turn for the worse.
What's next: The loss of Downey has a "huge" impact on Rhodes this season, according to Schneider. "He doesn't have that father/son relationship anymore. He's really out there on his own, and he has a lot to learn. Making matters worse is when he gets a new boss, Dr. Latham (Ato Essandoh), who is "a challenging personality" for Rhodes to deal with, to say the least. "He started this cardiothoracic fellowship because of his late mentor," Schneider notes. "And [now] he's wondering if he made the right career choice, if he can even tolerate two years of fellowship under this new boss." Latham, who will be introduced in the season premiere, is the polar opposite of Dr. Downey - described as an "emotionally distant" Orthodox Jew who's "very rule-oriented," Frolov says. "What we'll eventually discover is, he's on the spectrum." Rhodes will also strike up a romance with Dr. Charles' daughter Robin (Mekia Cox), whom we'll meet in Episode 4, which puts a strain on his relationship with Charles.
Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss)
Where we left off: Halstead not only got to keep his job at Chicago Med, but he was offered the position of attending. And Manning makes it clear she's ready to move on.
What's next: Will starts having a relationship with pathologist Nina Shore (Patti Murin, Donnell's real-life wife), but his feelings for Manning still linger. In his position as attending, he also clashes with medical student-slash-Manning's new love interest Jeff Clarke (more on him later) for reasons that are less than professional.
Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto)
Where we left off: After becoming a mother in Season 1, Manning decided she's finally ready to move on from her late husband and stopped wearing her wedding ring. She also put a pin in any feelings she may have for Halstead — for now.
What's next: Manning strikes up a relationship with Jeff Clarke (Jeff Hephner), the Chicago Firealum who arrived at the hospital in the Season 1 finale as a new medical student. The two are old friends, but instead of making their relationship easier, that only makes it more complicated. "Jeff reminds her of a time when she was a happy person," Schneider says. "They used to double date. They had good times together. She's comfortable with Jeff. He reminds her of her late husband in a good way, of the happy times. But the fact that he was her late husband's best friend will be an issue in this relationship." She also still carries a small torch for Halstead and will question "whether she let the right guy go."
April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta)
Where we left off: April tested positive for tuberculosis after falling in the ER, and Tate (Deron J. Powell) proposed to her.
What's next: April's health arc will comprise several episodes at the start of the season. "When we pick up, her TB is latent, but it will become active," Frolov says. And it definitely has an impact on her relationship with Tate. For starters, their proposal is on hold and they're no longer living together because she's worried about passing the illness on to his son. "They have a pretty solid relationship, but it's very much tested by the emotional impact of her illness," Schneider says.
Ethan Choi (Brian Tee)
Where we left off: Choi adopted a parrot to help him deal with his PTSD.
What's next: Choi has been appointed chief resident this season, meaning Will is his boss and he'll be overseeing all the other residents and medical students. His PTSD will continue to be a factor, but in a more subtle way than it was previously. "We want to move him past that and develop him in some other ways emotionally," Schneider says. Part of that development will come through Choi's running a new program at the hospital in which corpsmen come to Chicago Med to practice treating gunshot wounds so they can use the knowledge on a battlefield.
Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo)
Where we left off: After realizing she needs to work with patients, Reese turned down the pathology residency, meaning she's left without a job at the end of Season 1.
What's next: Reese finds herself "in a new and very different role" in the season premiere, Schneider teases. Specifically, she's working as a barista at a coffee shop. But soon enough, she's back at the hospital after - surprise! - Dr. Charles offers her a psych residency and she accepts. The position opens up a whole new set of doors for Reeves, in more ways than one. "This is a woman who, she's a science person. She was a lab person," Schneider notes. "For her to become a psychiatrist is really stretching. And it also makes her face her own emotional issues."
Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt)
Where we left off: Charles occasionally struggled to treat patients in Season 1 as he dealt with his own depression.
What's next: After Reese accepts the residency in psych, Charles takes her under his wing and the two strike up a father/daughter relationship - which is timely, since tension flares up between Charles and his actual daughter after she starts dating Rhodes.
Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson)
Where we left off: Goodwin's husband Burt left her, saying he wants to enjoy his retirement and she's a workaholic.
What's next: If you were expecting Goodwin to be pining for her husband, you've got another thing coming. "She at first is grieving the dissolution of her long marriage," Schneider says. "But she'll come out the other side and really find herself as a new single woman. And we'll see a romance for her."
Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett)
Where we left off: Maggie was short on her own storylines in Season 1 (aside from getting arrested to prove her loyalty to the hospital) but told Halstead in the finale that his window of opportunity with Manning was probably closed.
What's next: Maggie clashes with new chief resident Choi, who gets a little power-hungry and wants to change up the way things work in the emergency department, much to Maggie's annoyance. "She chafes a little bit under Ethan's new position," Schneider says.
Chicago Med returns Thursday at 9/8c on NBC.