Chicago Med's Jessy Schram Talks About Asher's Evolution, Advocacy, and Impacting Viewers PositivelyJack Ori at .
Chicago Med's Hannah Asher (Jessy Schram) has had quite a character arc.
She originally crossed paths with Will Halstead when he was working at a safe house for active heroin users and struggled with sobriety, eventually leaving the hospital to get clean. Now, she's back, sober, and an advocate for others with drug problems.
TV Fanatic recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jessy Schram ahead of Asher's big story on Chicago Med Season 8 Episode 14 and get her take on Asher's evolution, current stories, and more. Read on!
I know you have another big episode coming up tonight. But before we get to that, as you know, Hannah had been written out of the show and brought back in. When you were written off the first time, did you expect to return?
They always told me that since my character didn't die, there was always a chance to come back. And I kept my fingers crossed. But as time went on, I kind of said farewell and didn't expect to come back. So coming back was a complete surprise.
When you first came back, it seemed like she was reconnecting with Will for a while, and now they aren't in each other's orbit so much. Were you hoping for them to reconcile?
When Hannah came back, they decided, "Hey, let's start anew." You know, after the whole chemical exposure thing that happened.
I think that there are opportunities. But we know for sure that wherever they go in the future, it will never be what it was in the past. Them having a friendship, or if it ever was romantic, again, they're not restarting something. They're starting something new.
But that being said, they're definitely in each other's orbits. And at this point, they are just friends, and there are new people that come about in the hospital, and we have to see where those relationships go as well.
And she's really in a different place now. Because now she's been sober for a while. She seems to be moving into more advocacy for other people with addiction issues, which is really cool.
Yeah, I really like how they've grown Hannah and have shown life within addiction recovery, as opposed to just that peak moment in someone's life where they have to choose to move forward or stay where they are.
I love that too. Because many shows do the whole relapse cycle thing, which is part of what happens, but there's more to recovery.
And I hope that it provides some hope for people who can relate to the character -- people who have been in this position before. I feel like it's a really neat journey that we get to see a character working through from the start to where she is.
Another thing that's been evolving is her relationship with Archer. First, they didn't like each other. And now they're starting to respect each other and have this friendship.
I feel like their friendship is constantly evolving. But it's been a really fun space.
We continue to see her gently knock his walls down, almost unintentionally. But he's got a soft spot for Hannah. And you see them start to trust each other.
And even in the episode that's coming up this week, he gets to see her a little bit more, and you see them depend on each other more as peers as opposed to the hierarchy in the hospital or whatever else anyone's thinking.
And last week, she was able to get through to him about his son. I don't think anyone else can talk to him that way.
Yeah, I don't think anyone else even knows about his son other than he exists. And then also, I think it's very sweet, the care they have for each other. They allow each other to be who they are, yet they don't go anywhere. They're still there for each other.
I think it also softens Archer because before, he was just this renegade doctor who did whatever he wanted. He didn't have friends other than Dr. Choi, who isn't there anymore.
I think we get to see more personality coming from Archer. That's something that I think he's uncomfortable with in certain ways.
And I think vice versa with Hannah. We've been able to see her view as an empowered woman. But now we get to see her in a friendship and caring for him differently.
What's been the most challenging scene for you to film?
Challenging is an interesting word. I feel like there's a typical thing whenever we have medical scenes, and you're feeling your heartbeat a little too fast. And there's one word that you just can't get, and you go over and over and over again.
So those are always challenging to try and make yourself feel like you know what you're talking about. And screwing up and realizing it's supposed to be an A at the end [of a medical term] instead of an O.
I think the pressure of portraying a doctor and wanting to do it right is challenging.
But also, I would say that there have been a few storylines that I have personally felt a lot of connection with, and I put that pressure on myself to try and portray it in a way that people will have an emotional connection in response to.
So the most challenging scenes have been where I've felt personally connected and wanted to do the storyline justice.
I'm sure that's why you became an actor because you want to connect with those things and connect with people.
Yeah, it's definitely that connection. And I think I've always told myself that when it comes to acting, I want to play parts and be part of stories that make people feel something. And sometimes, it's a character that people absolutely hate, but that also provokes a feeling.
But it's a much nicer Hello on the street when people connect to you in a very positive way.
It's about exposing stories and different viewpoints and lifestyles, and maybe that people can relate to or possibly be exposed to for the first time.
Media is a strong view for people and teaches us what we know in many ways. So as an actor, to get to be a part of that. I love that I've been able to play characters that people feel something about.
I know that on the episode coming up tomorrow, the official synopsis says that Hannah will be fighting for a mother to stay with her newborn. And from the commercial, it seems that Hannah and Archer are at odds over it. I'm curious about what else you can tell us about it.
Well, somebody from Hannah's past comes back. One of the reasons why Archer and Asher are at odds with each other is that she feels very connected to this situation and sees herself in this person.
It's a very personal subject, and Archer has debates around it because there's a practical and logical, and moral code of the hospital that one needs to follow.
Hannah is trying to follow that but is struggling. So they are definitely at odds with each other on how to handle this case.
It will be interesting to see how that impacts their relationship because they went from hating to getting connected.
And now they're squabbling with each other.
What do you think about the issues of AI in medical care that have been a big part of Chicago Med this season?
I think there's a yin-yang to everything. There's always something positive, but then there's always something that can be negative and go wrong.
I think there was an episode where a young woman, played by Jen Lilley, was coming in for endometriosis pain and was flagged for drugs. And I realized that Hannah was a character that wouldn't be able to receive help because of this.
And I got a personal text from a friend who has to deal with neurofibromatosis, also known as NF.
And he just said, "Thank your writers so much for putting out this story because this is a disease that we struggle with, and we're told we're liars all the time. And unless you have a human with empathy, a computer would shut us out from getting care, pain relief, that we need."
So I feel like these stories that we're doing with the AI, people are reaching out afterward and sharing their personal stories. So technology is absolutely amazing. And it's also really scary at the same time.
How much input do you get into your stories? Do the writers talk to you, or is it a thing where you get the scripts and see what's happening?
A lot of the time, we get the script and get to learn more about our characters. When I returned in the middle of season seven, I sat down with the showrunners and asked them their thoughts on Hannah and where they saw her going.
Every episode, the writers who wrote the episode will come in, and they'll be on set for any questions we have.
And the more I've gotten to know them and the more they've gotten to know me, I've seen Hannah change in specific ways or ideas that we've talked about one-on-one. Or there's been a few questions and scripts that come up. And they are very open and willing to have conversations about things.
They've asked our creative opinions on different things, which is pretty rare.
So I feel like when something really matters, they are so there for that conversation. But otherwise, I love every week just getting the script and learning more about who Hannah is and what's happening.
It's the same experience for the viewers, but from the other side, because when we turn on the TV, we see what's happening. And you get that when you get the script.
It's like, "That's a really cool bit of information about Hannah or one of the other characters." Or, "Wow, that's intense. I didn't imagine things going there."
So every time I read a script, it's like I'm watching a new episode that nobody else has seen.
I understand you're also going to be on Fantasy Island. What can you tell us about that?
I am! The air date is April 17.
I work alongside Kyla Pratt as my other guest star in the episode. She's my co-star. And I come to the island as a jilted bride, And my fantasy is to feel loved.
Kyla Pratt's character comes and is somebody from my childhood, and we have this whole adventure.
And what's neat about Fantasy Island is that everybody comes with a certain fantasy, and then as you break it down, it comes from a much deeper place. So it's a really fun, entertaining journey. And there's a lot of comedy and maybe a tear.
It sounds like a lot of fun and very different from Chicago Med!
Oh, it is! It is a night and day difference in terms of the show's tone.
What's one message you'd like to give your fans?
Thank you so much!
It means so much the support that our fans have for us and the loyalty and excitement for every episode that comes out. It's such an amazing feeling to know that the work that we're doing is being seen and received in the way that it is.
Your turn, Chicago Med fanatics!
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and share your thoughts about Hannah Asher or the other topics Jessy raised in her interview.
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Chicago Med airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 8 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.