“Chicago Med” star Steven Weber joined the show as Dr. Dean Archer in Season 6 before becoming a series regular by Season 7. Although Weber is a seasoned actor with an impressive amount of experience, his role on the show still presents its challenges.
Dr. Archer isn’t necessarily the most likable character of all time with his gruff demeanor and mysterious past. However, the show’s writers opted to promote Weber’s character to Head of the Emergency Department in Season 7, replacing Dr. Choi (Brian Tee). Weber’s extensive experience as an actor certainly played part in the decision, paving an opportunity for writers to give Dr. Archer more character development. Although he’s not a clear fan favorite, Weber shared in an exclusive interview with Looper that he still enjoys working on the show.
However, playing a not well-liked character is somewhat difficult territory for the actor.
“It’s always fun,” Weber said of portraying the PTSD-ridden Navy vet. “First of all, it’s fun being on this show in the way that getting to work at your life’s dream is fun. The character does present some challenges because, listen, I’m starting to hear from people and fans of the show that he’s not particularly liked, and that’s a little disconcerting coming from a guy like me who has worked all his life specifically to be liked.”
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The actor notes that although it’s a slightly odd experience, it’s still loads of fun. For Weber, it’s giving Dr. Archer a depth that shines through his gruff demeanor that challenges him most.
“It is challenging because I know that he comes off a certain way, so the challenge is for me to try to inject a little heart and soul underneath,” Weber explained. “..People are beginning to see it, and the writers certainly are beginning to pick up on it, that he’s not just a wrinkled, mean, ticked-off guy. He’s got some layers to him, and in the upcoming episodes, we will begin to see those layers revealed.”
On top of the challenge of trying to make a rough-around-the-edges character at least somewhat relatable, there’s more technical obstacles that come with portraying a doctor. Weber revealed that “Chicago Med” is the only show he’s been on in his career thus far that doesn’t have a gag reel– and that he’s not entirely sure why that is.
“Maybe it might be a [“Chicago Med” creator] Dick Wolf dictum that they want to preserve the image of the show and the integrity by never showing the tons of gaffes and mistakes that we make reeling off tooth-shattering medical terminology.”
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He shared he hopes him and his fellow castmates come across as credible as real doctors do. However, he notes that they’re really just actors that frequently trip up over the language the show uses.
“Daily, there are often hilarious moments where people lose feeling in their face from reeling off the amount of milligrams of Solu-Medrol, and God knows what else that we’re prescribing.
Plenty of that stuff goes on, but nothing stands out as being too ridiculous, because we also do have a job to finish and people want to get home. If we took too long laughing at ourselves screwing up the dialogue, then there would never be a show on TV.”