Why did Oliver Platt agree to move to the Windy City and join Chicago Med?
The role of Dr. Daniel Charles is pivotal in the franchise. He got the offer from famed producer Dick Wolf and it was their relationship that helped him decide. They previously worked together over a decade before the show took off.
“Dick and I did another show together way back in 2000,” Platt recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. He was referencing the 13-episode series Deadline. “It was actually my first adventure in network television and the show that we worked on was not a success. But Dick and I formed a very real friendship and I have a tremendous respect for Dick as a producer.”
Despite the show failing, Platt did learn a major lesson that influenced him to do network television once again alongside Wolf.
“One of the things I learned working with him… was actually how much I loved working in television,” he added. “So here we are 15 years later, Dick called me up and said, ‘I’ve got this part for you.’ When Mr. Wolf calls, you pick up the phone. I was only too thrilled to get that call.”
It is quite rare to see a psychiatrist as a main character on a medical series. Platt grew up watching medical dramas like ER and St. Elsewhere before Chicago Med.
“There’s never been a psychiatrist as a primary member of the ensemble,” he continued. “It was such a smart idea of Dick’s. Dick was absolutely determined that there be a psychiatrist in the mix.”
Skepticism and Learning Prior to ‘Chicago Med’
Platt admitted that at first he was skeptical and didn’t know how the audience would react to a psychiatrist. However, he was excited to see them represented in mainstream media.
“I was thrilled to find out that there are actually psychiatrists all over emergency rooms,” he shared. “I think that one of the things that Dick and I talked about this character is that, most of the time in film and television, psychiatrists are represented as the guy with the office and the couch. [Dr. Charles] is more interested in the people that don’t have $400 an hour who he knows are going to be walking through those doors.”
To prepare for his role, he shadowed real psychiatrists. He not only learned quite a bit from the doctors but also surprised.
“Realizing the degree to which psychiatry as a discipline still remains misunderstood,” he noted. “There’s no blood test for anxiety. You can’t x-ray a nervous breakdown. The stakes very much went up for me when it became clear to me how important it was that psychiatry be appropriately represented.”