Launching to strong ratings in the US and coming to the UK on Sunday (March 20), Chicago Med is the third entry into the Chicago franchise, bringing the medical world to light through all new exciting characters and storylines.
We got the opportunity to chat to Colin Donnell who plays Dr. Connor Rhodes in the series ahead of its British debut, to chat all about what should be expected, his previous work and much more. Read on to find out what he had to say...
Chicago Med comes to the UK on Sunday, what should British viewers expect from the series?
A fast-paced, hard-hitting medical drama. It really is everything you'd expect from a Dick Wolf (executive producer) series, and all the headline-grabbing stories that go along with that. You've got wonderful actors in the cast and really it starts with a bang and just keeps going and going and going from there.
What was it about this show and the character Dr. Connor Rhodes that really appealed to you as an actor?
I think there's something totally appealing about being a part of the Dick Wolf universe in general. I've been a fan of the Chicago series, first with Fire and then P.D., so being able to open up that next door of Chicago and be behind what's going on in the hospital was really an exciting prospect.
The great thing about building a new character from the beginning along with the new show is that everybody's discovering things at the same time, and there is really this great, collaborative feeling between the writers, the directors, the producers, the cast, the crew, of just really creating something from the ground up.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the character you play, Dr. Connor?
He comes from a really interesting background of which you start to get layered out as the season progresses. You learn a little bit in the first episode, then a little bit more in episode three, we have of course over here (in the US) the privilege of being up to episode 13, shooting-wise (laughs). But he came to medicine and came into his own a little bit later in life after going through some struggles, so he really owns his place in the hospital, which doesn't always jive with the people who are already there!
As you mentioned the show is well underway in the US - how have you found the response for the series there?
It's been amazing. We have already some incredible fans. We had somewhat of a built-in audience coming from the other two shows and it seems as though we've only built on that. Really, people are coming to the show and are attracted to the show because of what it is on its own, which is a really lovely response, and everything we could've hoped for.
The medical genre on television is an expansive one - what makes Chicago Med stand out against the crowd?
I think the dedication of Dick Wolf and the producers and writers for getting things right from the medical community - not to say there haven't been other accurate shows - the reason why it is a well-explored genre is that there's so much to explore. There's always different cases that are coming up, there's always different things that are popping up in the world as we progress as a society in the medical community, and certainly there's no hotter topic right now than medical care, especially in the US. So we're really trying to examine not only the brand new, but we're really trying to examine each section of the medical community as we go along.
Michael Waxman directed the pilot episode - what's he like to work with?
Mike Waxman's fantastic. He's just a wonderful energy on-set, he and Dick and everybody, Andy [Schneider] and Diane [Frolov], our showrunners worked very closely to make sure that we had something that was exciting and palpable and felt like a Dick Wolf show, but felt very independant and could stand alone.
We are the third show of this series, so to borrow a phrase that Oliver Platt (plays Dr. Daniel Charles) had used in trying to explain how exciting and unique this is, 'there are plenty of shows that have spun-off, but no-one has really spun-in a show before', and to be a part of that idea that we are enfolding ourselves into an established universe - it's tricky but it's exciting, it's new and now we are part of this triumvirate of TV which is such an exciting prospect.
How's the chemistry on set with the rest of the cast?
I don't think that I've ever been more welcomed to a city or a cast. The Med cast itself is really established, a really great chemistry, bond... groove really! (laughs) We've settled into this really cool groove very quickly, which, there are all the bumps and bruises that come along with doing the first season of television, but they've felt like they've been minimal here which is awesome. I think it's in large part due to the fact there was such a welcome from Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., all the people involved in those shows.
At one point the show does crossover with Fire and P.D. - what was that experience like, bringing those casts together?
It was amazing. That was our big massive crossover, but what's interesting is that throughout every episode of every show, you spy these one or two characters that pop up in Fire into Med, or Med into P.D., or vice versa, it's wild. There really is this general cohesion of all the shows, not necessarily within specific storylines, except for that giant crossover that we did, but it's a really neat experience just to be able to track your favourite characters throughout these shows.
There's obviously some big, hard-hitting moments in the show such as episode one's train crash, do you ever find it hard to switch off as an actor and not take these moments home?
You know, I'm very lucky I've got a wonderful personal life, family, wife, dogs, so it's pretty easy to leave all that stuff at work. We are dealing with such life and death scenarios that there are tough things that we're talking about, but the beauty of television is that we do get to leave it there and nobody's life is actually hanging in the balance. My respect, and I can probably speak for the entire cast, our respect for the medical community has sky-rocketed, from an already very high place. What they do day in and day out is amazing, and I thank my lucky stars that I don't have to be the one making those kinds of decisions.
We've seen you in both Arrow and The Affair in the past, would you consider coming back as Earth-2 Tommy in Arrow or through flashback in The Affair?
Yeah! (laughs) You know, there's always a hope! (laughs) But right now I'm kind of busy in Chicago. Have you guys had season two of The Affair yet?
Yes, poor Scotty!
OK! (laughs) You know, again, I don't know, I've been very lucky - you mentioned two great series - I've been very lucky to be a part of two incredible series, so if the writers were to put me back in and find a way to work out a schedule, I would never be opposed to saying 'yes'. But, there's no plans yet. My only plan is to thankfully come back to season two of Chicago Med next year.
How did it feel when you found out the show was being renewed for a second season?
Oh, man, it was a very, very satisfying moment. It's a pleasure to know that we'll be coming back and telling more stories, especially with these people, because I really enjoy working with this cast and crew. My wife and I both love Chicago very much and it's nice to know that, I've died on a couple of series now (laughs), so I'm really looking forward to getting... As far as I've seen so far, I'm staying!
Chicago Med, launches Sunday 20th March, 9pm, on Universal Channel.
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