'Chicago Med' Bosses Talk April's Choice, Natalie-Jeff Tension and Mysterious "Health Issue" Ahead

Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider talk to THR about tackling abortion in the second half of the season and other "surprises" ahead.
Elizabeth Sisson/NBC

The employees of Chicago Medical have to make tough calls every day, but on the fall finale of the sophomore hospital drama, nurse April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) was forced to make a tough call about her own life. After being diagnosed with TB in the season one finale, April learned that her medication had lessened the power of her birth control and that she was pregnant. However, at the same time, her TB had become active and the medication she had to take to put it into remission potentially could cause abnormalities in a growing fetus.

"And if she takes it then then she and the baby can die. It puts her in quite a bind," co-showrunner Diane Frolov tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Ahead of the show's return, which picks up a "few weeks" after the events of the finale, she and husband and co-showrunner Andrew Schneider to discuss April's "choice," the secret that may drive Natalie (Torrey DeVitto) and Jeff (Jeff Hephner) apart, and the mysterious "health issue" ahead for one of Chicago Med's doctors.

What is the next step for April when we come back? We saw her start the medication at the end of the last episode, so where do we find her when the show comes back?

Diane Frolov: She does, of course, start taking the medication and she goes in for an ultrasound to check on the baby.

Andrew Schneider: Her TB goes back into remission …

Frolov: But she's in for an ultra sound and at one point, the ultrasound shows some measurements that are off a bit on the baby and could indicate that the medication is having an effect on the baby's development, so it causes a great deal of tension between April and Tate over what to do about that.

Schneider: So it's an ongoing issue that's affecting her health and her relationship with Tate, and the pregnancy, so that will be a continuing storyline through half of the back half of the season.

It's an interesting topic given what's happening in the country and what the president-elect and the vice president-elect's feelings are about reproductive rights. How much will you tap into that as she's discussing the health of the baby?

Frolov: Yes, April is a Catholic so she has strong feelings about terminating a pregnancy, but Tate is not. On the other hand, she's making a choice, and she's able to make a choice so it's a woman making a choice about her health.

Dr. Reese also was left in a tough spot dealing with the death of her patient. How will she bounce back from that tragedy?

Frolov: She's going to continue to struggle with the question of, "Do I belong in psychiatry?" And in some ways long for the days of just being a doctor. She's continuing to grow, but she'll be thrown cases where the area is so gray.

Schneider: She's always being put in a bind of these gray areas of determining someone's mental health, and she's just not sure she has the equipment to deal with that; whereas, a patient comes in with a broken arm, you know what to do. We see what the problem is.

Frolov: She doesn't have a lot of confidence in herself, and we're going to explore that fact.

How does that in turn affect Dr. Charles?

Frolov: Sometimes Sarah will challenge Dr. Charles, so he has to justify his decision and in that relationship, we discover a lot about Dr. Charles and about his past.

Schneider: He revealed his past. He's a very private man, but he's trying to nurture this young potential psychiatrist so he opens up to her in ways that he wouldn't to other people.

Frolov: We certainly saw that in that storyline with Andy, but we'll continue to do that because we're going to have Dr. Charles' daughter there in the hospital, so that causes a whole new round of tension ...

Schneider: Also, Sarah Reese isn't always the most amenable resident. She frustrates him too because she doesn't always do what he wants her to do. But despite her fears and feelings of inadequacy, he believes deep down she has the right stuff to be a good shrink so he's always tying to encourage her. At the same time, she's a difficult resident.

Frolov: We have some cases coming up that will just really drive her crazy.

It sounds like Maggie has a big episode coming up that dives into her past. Can you talk about that?

Frolov: Well, you know last year Maggie was arrested, and that arresting officer comes into the hospital as a patient, gravely injured.

Schneider: And the question is, will Maggie be able to overcome the feelings of resentment and treat her in the same way she would treat anyone else?

I really liked the episode earlier this season where her transgender sibling was introduced. Now that you're midway through the second season of the show, how much of the backstories of the core ensemble do you have figured out?

Schneider: We have a good sense of all their backstories, as to how it plays out in the rest of the season.

Frolov: We try to keep to the emergency department, so we show little sections of their backstory.

Schneider: For instance, we will be exploring part of Natalie and Jeff's backstory that will be revealed, which will actually really test their relationship. Something comes up that she did not know that he has withheld from her.

Speaking of Natalie and Jeff, how will this revelation impact the Will and Natalie of it all, given Will just moved in with his girlfriend?

Schneider: Will's never able to give up his feelings for Natalie. Nina's great for him and he loves her, but there will always be a triangle that he can't give up those feelings. At some point, Nina becomes aware of that.

Frolov: And also, this tension that develops between Natalie and Jeff, of course, impacts the triangle. It makes Natalie a bit more available.

Does she kind of start to look at Will in that way, or is he just kind of her frustration?

Frolov: There's a little wistfulness in her.

Schneider: And a little wondering: Did I make the right choice? Now that I've lost Will, or I seem to have, did I make a mistake?

What can you say is coming up in the second half of the season for Dr. Rhodes and his relationship with Dr. Charles' daughter?

Frolov: They're going to start a romance which is going to cause some tension with Dr. Charles. Connor's relationship with Dr. Latham continues to develop, and that story has a large arc to it and quite a few surprises.

Schneider: His relationship with Latham begins to change over time and becomes, actually, one of great affection. And his relationship with Robyn continues, and she has a health issue herself, which strains her relationship with Connor and brings her closer to her father. She begins to renew her relationship with Dr. Charles.

What can you say is coming up for Dr. Choi? He's still semi-newly in charge, so what's ahead for him?

Frolov: He's going to reveal another side to Dr. Choi, a further evolution of his character. He's always working on the victims of these shootings and it's a very depressing, dark world. So we will see how he goes about coping with that.

Schneider: In an unexpected and positive way.

Chicago Med returns Thursday at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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