‘Chicago Med’ Fans Reason COVID-19 Wreaked Havoc on Season 6 Storylines

by Alex Falls

Chicago Med is currently the youngest installment in Dick Wolf’s One Chicago universe. The sixth and most recent season of the show aired from November 2020 to May 2021. The hit series continued to rack up viewers throughout the season by following gripping medical cases and dramatic personal relationships.

But like any other long-running show, it’s closely followed by a dedicated fan base. As such, some storylines can rub fans the wrong way. Viewers had a few objections to some of season six’s plot points. For starters, Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) was named head of the Emergency Department. Fans are worried he doesn’t have the personality to calm the hospital’s constant state of chaos. Then you have Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) stealing drugs from an ongoing medical trial to help her ailing mother. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) covered for her, but they both ended up getting axed.

But these weren’t the only picking points fans had with season six. One overarching plot point has fans feeling the show has just a little too much reality to it.

Chicago Med Gets a Little Too Real For Fans

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago Med folded the real-life events into its storylines. Recently, fans over on the Chicago Med subreddit engaged in a discussion over what they felt the shortcomings of season six were. The original poster noted, “The atmosphere feels weird, the storytelling is weak so far.”

In the same thread, another user tries to put his finger on what the problem was. The user noted, “I’m guessing the original trajectory of the plotlines were thrown off by [COVID-19], and they had to scramble to make things work.”

The creation and airing of season six happened to fall in line with the height of the pandemic. The show aired just as hospitals and emergency rooms were filling up nationwide. The show even ran for a shortened season due to logistical issues of filming during the lockdown. Season six consisted of 16 episodes instead of the usual 20-22. But the show incorporated pandemic storylines into just about the entire season.

This narrative began to wear down on fans dealing with the pandemic’s effects in everyday life. TV dramas like the One Chicago universe are meant to be an escape from reality. Not a reminder. One Reddit user confessed, “I’m a bit exhausted with [COVID-19] content.”

Executive producer Diane Frolov explained to Us Weekly just before season six launched that the series had an obligation to reflect what was going on in real life. “As a hospital show, we always knew we would have to cover it,” Frolov said. “Real-life doctors have been at increased risk and have been disproportionately infected. We felt we had to show that.”