NBC rookie ‘Chicago Med’ will cross over with other Dick Wolf shows, including ‘SVU’
NBC’s “Chicago Med,” Dick Wolf’s third installment of his Chicago franchise, is planning a four-way crossover with his other hit shows in February.
The newest in the Chicago trilogy, which includes 2012’s “Chicago Fire” and its 2014 follow-up “Chicago P.D.,” will join forces with “Law & Order: SVU,” the showrunner and producer said at the Television Critics Assn. media tour Thursday.
The latest one-hour drama will take viewers into the emotional chaos of the Windy City’s most explosive hospital, which was blown up in the series’ backdoor pilot during “Chicago Fire” last April. The show, created by Wolf, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Matt Olmstead, returns with a new state-of-the-art facility and will include familiar faces from the other Chicago franchises in the planned crossovers for the first season.
“The crossovers are incredible ratings engines for us. What we can’t do is have them become commonplace,” Wolf said, adding that each planned crossover episode will not include every show under his thumb.
Like its well-performing predecessors, “Chicago Med” will rip medical stories straight from the headlines, much like the pilot capitalized on the Ebola frenzy from earlier this year.
Ripped from the headlines “is a good umbrella for the transmission of information,” the Emmy-winning writer said. “Every week you will get at least one piece of medical info you probably don’t know. ... Everything that touches on our medical or physical life is fair game for us.”
Emmy nominee Oliver Platt and Golden Globe winner S. Epatha Merkerson head up the cast of the ensemble drama. Merkerson, a mainstay of Wolf’s “Law & Order,” plays hospital chief Sharon Goodwin, and the actress said it was “a no-brainer” to sign on to another Wolf series.
“I love working with Dick. I love the productions we’ve done together. I love the people he surrounds himself with. It was a no-brainer,” the veteran actress said.
Though her “Chicago Med” character might share some similarities with Lt. Anita Van Buren of “Law & Order” when it comes to in-charge managerial style, Merkerson said Van Buren wasn’t as flawed as she wanted her to be.
Full coverage: Television Crtitics Association press tour 2015
“With Goodwin, I have the opportunity to show her focus on her job but also someone who is flawed,” she said. "[Dick] knows what I did for 17 seasons. To bring me in that same line would be boring. I’m looking forward to having a full person to work with. It’s a part of my personality: I am a little bossy. You’ll see a difference in characters and certainly you’ll see the similarities.”
Platt, who plays psychiatrist Daniel Charles, is excited about joining the Windy City community, but is more eager to become part of Wolf’s creative family.
“The community that exits on ‘Fire’ is truly remarkable. They made us feel comfortable and they really enjoy each other and it’s palpable on screen,” Platt said. “Franchises have spun off shows before, but never into an active matrix.”
The actor is also hoping to shed light on “the big holes” in the public health system in general, but particularly in mental health.
“This is a guy that is not necessarily born an administrator, but he’s taken this job because he’s interested in providing psychiatry to people who don’t have $400 an hour,” Platt said. “Psychiatrists in emergency rooms are few and far between.”
Wolf noted that Platt’s character is also a guy that has been married four times, has one child with each of his ex-wives, and those children range in age from about 5 to about 30.
Rounding out the cast are “Chicago P.D.” actor Nick Gehlfuss reprising his role as Dr. Will Halstead, Brian Tee as Ethan, Yaya DaCosta as nurse April Sexton and “Arrow” and “The Affair” actor Colin Donnell as a pediatrician, all of whom expressed their gratitude during the panel for being part of the Dick Wolf family, which Merkerson expounded on at length.
“What I’ve learned about this man is that he is also protective of us,” Merkerson said of Wolf. “He wants what’s good for us. So that I’m doing this show and working with this company again has all to do with the people that he surrounds himself with.”
Her glowing assessment didn’t stop there either.
“After having met everyone, literally, I already have a feeling about what [‘Chicago Med’] is going to be and I think you all are going to be extraordinarily pleased,” she continued. “This man never does anything that people won’t enjoy watching. Truly, one of the things I’ve always said about ‘Law & Order’: It’s entertainment because it’s television and that’s important. But I think television at its best is a teaching tool as well. And at the end of the day, if you leave that hour and you enjoyed what you watched -- that’s a hell of a show.”
“Chicago Med” premieres on NBC on Nov. 17.
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