How Are TV’s First Responder Dramas Handling COVID?

Grey's Anatomy Meredith Good Doctor Andrews Chicago Fire Brett Mack
ABC (2); Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

When it comes to your favorite shows, production starts and premiere dates aren’t the only things affected by the coronavirus crisis. First responder dramas have adapted storylines to adjust to the new reality (while also getting creative with love scenes).

The Good Doctor, for one, kicked off its new season with a two-parter all about the pandemic, while other series including Grey’s Anatomy, may continue to incorporate coronavirus-related issues going forward. One hospital has already lost a member of its staff as a result of a misdiagnosis, while one of another’s owners is a patient after working on its COVID floor. And it’s not just medical dramas; firefighters and EMTs on shows like Chicago Fire are also dealing with it.

Scroll down as we keep track of which first responder dramas are tackling COVID-19 and if any of the characters have tested positive for it.

Hill Harper The Good Doctor Season 4 Premiere Marcus Andrews

The Good Doctor

The ABC medical drama began its fourth season with a two-parter that was entirely about the pandemic, including the onset, as the medical professionals were still learning more and more about the virus. We saw how it affected the doctors (Christina Chang’s Dr. Audrey Lim was the one to turn off machines while loved ones watched over video) and their relationships (the closest Freddie Highmore’s Dr. Shaun Murphy and Paige Spara’s Lea got was on opposite sides of a door, while Hill Harper’s Dr. Marcus Andrews was staying in his garage). The Good Doctor then essentially moved to a post-COVID world.

Has anyone had COVID? Yes, Dr. Morgan Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann) had a more mild case, while Nurse Petringa (Karin Konoval) died, after the former misdiagnosed a patient.

Chicago Med Season 6 April Sexton Yaya DaCosta
Elizabeth Sisson/NBC

Chicago Med

Med and its staff have been divided, and we’re seeing how those who are on the COVID floor and those still in the ED are affected. Testing and air showers are mandatory before they can enter the latter. On the former, April (Yaya DaCosta) is the one advocating for her patients (even if it means possibly going against protocol) and spending the most time with them (while in full PPE).

Has anyone had COVID? Yes, Dr. Charles (Oliver Platt) did and had recovered when the season began.

Chicago Fire Season 9 Brett Mack Adriyan Rae Kara Killmer
Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Chicago Fire

While Fire obviously has to take place in a world with COVID (due to it being part of One Chicago with Med), the impact is a bit more subtle here. The paramedics wear masks when responding to calls. Brett (Kara Killmer) revealed that her former partner on Ambo 61, Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh), is volunteering at a COVID ward while also attending med school. There are no civilians allowed in the firehouse, leading to firefighter Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) coming up with a part-time position as an assistant for one of her Girls on Fire whose family is struggling financially.

Has anyone had COVID? No(t yet).

Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Meredith Ellen Pompeo

Grey's Anatomy

Picking up mid-pandemic, Season 17 began with Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) returning to work and seeing just how much had changed. (He’d go on to come up with a way for the staff to sanitize their masks.) Some of the doctors, including Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) have been working on the COVID floor. Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) has become disheartened as she continues to lose patients (as she expresses over FaceTime to her long-distance boyfriend, Winston, played by new series regular Anthony Hill).

Has anyone had COVID? Yes, Meredith is currently hospitalized (and her condition is worsening), while Dr. Tom Koracick (Greg Germann) has tested positive.

Stefania Spampinato Carina DeLuca Station 19 Season 4

Station 19

The effects of COVID on the crossover romances play out more on the spinoff than on Grey’s; firefighter Maya Bishop (Danielle Savre) and Dr. Carina DeLuca (Stefania Spampinato) quarantine separately because Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and firefighter Ben Warren (Jason George) are. However, once he pointed out that they have kids while the women do not, Maya and Carina decided to move in together. Other than that, while the pandemic is very much part of Station 19‘s world, it’s not as front and center as it is on Grey’s. Social distancing is paramount and comes up in discussions about who’s living with whom. (In the premiere, they do ignore a directive to bring a patient elsewhere because the hospital’s not taking non-COVID patients.)

Has anyone had COVID? No(t yet).