‘Chicago Med’ Star Oliver Platt Reveals What Surprised Him While Shadowing Psychiatrists

by Jacklyn Krol
Timothy Hiatt, Getty Images

Oliver Platt was surprised by real-life psychiatrists after taking the role on Chicago Med.

Platt portrays Dr. Daniel Charles in the medical drama. At first, he was surprised that producer Dick Wolf would create a psychiatrist role that is a main character for the show.

“As somebody who grew up with great medical dramas like St. Elsewhere and ER … there’s never been a psychiatrist as a primary member of the ensemble,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was such a smart idea of Dick’s. Dick was absolutely determined that there be a psychiatrist in the mix.”

Platt admitted that at first, he was a bit “skeptical”. This really hadn’t been done before.

“One of the things that I was nervous about was, wait — is there precedent for this in the real world?” he questioned. “I was thrilled to find out that there are actually psychiatrists all over emergency rooms,” he added. “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 the role and to understand his character, he shadowed real psychiatrists. He learned quite a few things from them and the experience.

“Realizing the degree to which psychiatry as a discipline still remains misunderstood,” he said of his biggest shock. “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.”

‘Chicago Med’ Getting Around COVID-19

“So, Chicago Med is under a whole new dynamic in protocol,” Nick Gehlfuss told Starry Mag of Chicago Med’s post-COVID-19 episodes. Everyone on set is regularly tested and adheres to local compliances.

Firstly, the Dr. Will Halstead actor said that all of the adjustments are necessary. This allows the team to film scenes without face masks.

“It helps us understand the protocols in coming into work and how a doctor is admitted into the hospital from off site,” he shared. “It’s a whole sequence that’s pretty cool that we shot.”

Secondly, he said that they’ll navigate how the doctors deal with the new virus dynamic.

Finally, while each series deals with the COVID-19 pandemic in their own way, they don’t shy away from it. At the same time, it isn’t the center of their show.

“We’ll definitely be having COVID stories, but also balancing well with what fans have come to expect,” the actor explains. “The show is really separated into a COVID ward where all the patients are sent to and then the ED (Emergency Department) is COVID free.”