One Chicago Stars Talk Mentors on ‘Fire,’ a New Doc on ‘Med,’ & a Changed ‘P.D.’ Cop
In the 2020-2021 season, Fire has a new paramedic in Gianna Mackey (Adriyan Rae), giving Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) a new partner and role (mentor). In March, Med will feature a blast from the past for Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) via Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber).
The stars of the three shows recently talked about those characters and more changes in the workplace this season with press for One Chicago Day.
There has been quite a bit of turnover for Ambulance 61 over the years (but thanks to Taylor Kinney‘s Kelly Severide getting the door off the vehicle after a crash, the dedication to Lauren German‘s Shay remains), with Brett and Mackey the latest in it.
“You’ve already seen Brett be best friends with at least two of her partners,” Killmer notes. “The writers wanted to change that dynamic this year, with more of a mentor/mentee kind of relationship. Brett’s been on 61 for six years, it’s her ambo, and you’re really going to see more of a dynamic of them figuring each other out, maybe a little less friendly, a little more professional, for now, because Brett’s really stepping into the responsibility of it.”
And while Mackey may be “green,” especially compared to others, Killmer has faith in her. “She’s got some stones,” she points out of her character’s partner after the two were held at gunpoint and their ambulance crashed. “She might just be cut out for 51 if she can handle [everything so far].”
Brett’s love interest (if they ever figure things out) Captain Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) is also guiding a younger member of the house, Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende). Spencer spoke with a female captain brought in by the fire consultant, who “just drove home to me being in a place of authority and the responsibility that you have,” he shares. “She says when these kids come in, you feel like they’re your children, you care for them like you would your own.”
That really comes into play with Gallo, who needs that “hard love,” Spencer continues. “You can’t pander to anything. If you have to be straight with them and dress them down, that’s what you gotta do. Gallo particularly is a young kid and hasn’t learned how to channel that enthusiasm and energy through discipline. This whole season is going to be a coming-of-age thing for Gallo in terms of learning not only to jump in but when not to jump in and to trust your instincts — but don’t forget to listen to your captain.” We saw Gallo not doing that in “Blow This Up Somehow.”
Messes & Lessons for Ethan
Ethan is the ED chief now, which has not gone over well with everyone. After all, the staff has to deal with his “really, really high expectations for himself and his staff,” Tee says. “His management skills aren’t necessarily the best for the other characters. He always feels his way of doing things is the right way and he’ll slowly [realize] that isn’t always so.”
Due to the “difficult time” Ethan has as chief, Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) “suggests he bring someone else in to help him along,” Tee continues. Enter his old friend, Dr. Archer. “He was his chief senior medical officer over at the Navy, so they have a very long history together,” he previews. “What Dr. Archer’s going to do is really create more speed bumps for Ethan. He’s going to be there to help but sticks his head into places he shouldn’t. There’s going to be a huge conflict and messes he’ll make that Ethan has to come back and try to fix.”
And if things get complicated there, Merkerson is “sure Goodwin will chime in.” Chances are she’ll have to do that.
Lieutenant Stella Kidd?
Firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) is preparing for the lieutenant’s exam, and she and boyfriend Severide made it past the little bump in their relationship that was him distancing himself from her due to chatter about why she was moving up the ladder.
“It’s not something she ever would have thought [of happening]. She says herself that she saw herself getting on the officer track but not happening this soon. But when opportunity comes, seize the day,” Mayo says of her character’s arc this season.
And while we’ve seen her in leadership positions before — last year’s conference, her starting the Girls on Fire program — she’s ready to move forward now. “There still is fear of hearing feedback from the outside world that she’s not ready. There’s something scary about declaring to the world, ‘I actually think I can do this,'” Mayo acknowledges. “She is scared but her confidence is building and she did do so well at that leadership conference and Boden [Eamonn Walker] does believe in her and she does want to be a Black woman lieutenant. There’s this saying pain pushes until the vision pulls. Right now, the vision’s pulling her: ‘That’s what I want and I’m willing to put in the world.'”
A Changed Cop
This season of Chicago P.D. began with Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) going against the Blue Wall to tell the truth about a racist cop. “He’s still looking over his shoulder and being extremely cautious,” Hawkins says. “As I saw the world creating the space for us to need that kind of story, LaRoyce personally became a lot more politically conscious than I had been in the past which enabled me to load up the character of Atwater with the consciousness he needed to be able to take the responsibility of the story.”
And in telling this story, “one of my priorities was to uplift the image of the Black man under this social unrest [and] reimagine policing in a way that I knew we had to really understand,” he continues. “Atwater will never be the same. Just because we saw Atwater in a white man’s house and threaten to call him a racist on national television doesn’t mean the story is over. Naturally he has to live with that choice and walk with that all of the time. He’s a different cop now.”
Chicago Med, Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC
Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC
Chicago P.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, NBC