Chicago Med Season 1 Episode 1 Review: The Green Branch

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Chicago Med has finally opened it's doors and is ready for business!

Continuing in the "Chicago" tradition, Chicago Med Season 1 Episode 1 started the series off with a bang. While tackling a slew of medical (and ethical) issues in the wake of a train derailment, there was a healthy side helping of personal intrigue to be found amongst the staff.

The train derailment served both as a reminder that this show is part of the Chicago Fire and Chicago PD family as well as jump starting most of the medical cases. Having the new doctor onboard would seem a stretch in the real world, but makes total sense in this universe where Chicago is a surprisingly small town.

The medical cases all got a healthy dose of sappiness, but I wasn't expecting anything less. Taking Marianna to visit Jamie violated all real world UNOS ethics as well as being one of the most egregiously trite moments, but we all got to feel good in the end when she agreed to donate. 

And there was some acknowledgement of ethics with the surrogacy case. I kind of wish the ethics board had actually played out, because I'm curious how that would have gone down – and I doubt that the administrator of the hospital really has the time to seek out and guilt trip counsel one caregiver.

The cases were all interesting, but nothing truly outrageous happened, which I think sets a great tone for the show. There's plenty of drama to be found without going for those one in a hundred thousand type cases. 

Dr. Connor Rhodes: Is every day like this?
Sharon Goodwin: Some days, we're busy.

The writers also didn't go for the trumped up drama of missing patients after a mass casualty event. The little girl, Rachel, and her father were separated, sure, but somebody knew were they both were and that information was gotten to the family pretty quickly. No checking dead bodies with Polaroids here. 

Instead, Chicago Med relies on the staff to provide the drama in equal measure. And it does so without resorting to soapy cliches. Nobody is sleeping with anybody else at the hospital – so far. I'm sure it's bound to happen, but probably not at the incestuous rate found on Grey's Anatomy

There's also more than one kind of doctor working at this hospital, which is a refreshing change. And there are even nurses! And an administrator! Okay, that one's not as exciting, but the point is that the cast is diverse in multiple ways. 

Dr. Will Halstead: Okay, who the hell is this guy?
EMT: Says he's a doc
Dr. Will Halstead: Alright, get off the gurney, doc. I'm senior resident in this ER.
Dr. Connor Rhodes: Yeah? Well, I'm your new trauma fellow.

There are several arcs being set up with the staff that I'm itching to explore. Natalie's pregnancy had me intrigued even before the reveal that her baby's father died in the armed forces. I'm more interested in Maggie and April wanting to be her "village." 

The mystery of Connor Rhodes has me super intrigued, and Will's instant dislike of him only enhances that. I get the feeling that he doesn't always tell the whole truth, and that the elder Halstead brother is in for some surprises with his new coworker. 

Dr. Will Halstead: I am not arrogant.
Dr. Natalie Manning: No, no, not at all. You just happen to know more than anybody else.

I liked that Sarah Reese wasn't some kind of savant student. Having everyone be some kind of genius gets boring after a while. And while Dr. Charles certainly has wisdom to share, but he's more than just some wise mentor. His connection to Jamie (and his probable issue with alcohol) humanize him. 

This is a "Chicago" show, so of course there were also a few crossover moments. I really enjoyed Herman's visit to the ER. The way that he and Maggie related about their roles in the crash was subtle, but touching. The quietness of the moment made it even stronger.

It really makes me look forward to the mini-crosses on this show. Hopefully they'll be a little more organic than we've seen on the rest of the franchise. I'm sure Molly's is great, but it must exist some magical plane for everyone to hang out there so often when there doesn't seem to be an L stop on the corner. 

Overall, Chicago Med looks like it will be able to strike that sweet spot, balancing interesting medical cases with relatable human drama. Here's hoping that it not only finds it's way to the top of the Dick Wolf oeuvre, but can live up to it's NBC predecessor, ER

What did you think of the latest Windy City offering from the Peacock? Will you become a regular, or are you itching to be discharged from this hospital drama?

The Green Branch Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (45 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Chicago Med Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Dr. Connor Rhodes: Is every day like this?
Sharon Goodwin: Some days, we're busy.

Dr. Will Halstead: Okay, who the hell is this guy?
EMT: Says he's a doc
Dr. Will Halstead: Alright, get off the gurney, doc. I'm senior resident in this ER.
Dr. Connor Rhodes: Yeah? Well, I'm your new trauma fellow.