‘Chicago Med’: Why Natalie Returned in Season 7 Premiere But April Did Not

by Clayton Edwards

Chicago Med fans said goodbye to Dr. Natalie Manning and Nurse April Sexton at the end of season six. Many hoped that they would both return to Med and keep the ED’s team together. However, that wasn’t in the cards. However, fans did get a brief but warm farewell moment with Dr. Manning during the season 7 opener.

Both characters had their own logical reasons for leaving the ED.  We saw Manning make a risky call that brought her tenure in the ED to an end. At the same time, Sexton decided to further her education in medicine. Their departures also allowed other characters to enter the ED or step up in prominence. In reality, Torrey DeVitto and Yaya DaCosta, who play Manning and Sexton, respectively, didn’t renew their contracts that expired at the end of season six. However, showrunners gave both characters a satisfactory exit.

After last night’s premiere episode, Chicago Med showrunners, Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov spoke with TVLine about the characters. They also gave some insight into what they’re doing and if we’ll see them again. There will be spoilers for the season seven premiere moving forward.

Chicago Med Showrunners Craft Touching Exit for Dr. Manning

Many fans were surprised to see Dr. Manning appear in the season 7 premiere of Chicago Med. However, her appearance was short. She and Will packed up her car and Manning departed. Before leaving she assured her former lover that she’d be fine. About this, Schneider said, “We… wanted to give closure to [Halstead’s] long-running relationship with Natalie. That relationship was so integral to the show for six years, and we felt we owed it to the audience and the characters to give them a goodbye.”

Frolov later added that Natalie’s exit from Chicago Med took her across the country. “She’s, right now, going back to Seattle, where she’s from, and being with her family. Her mom is from there, and she’s going to be getting a gig at a hospital there.” Schneider said that Manning’s career isn’t damaged. “Goodwin did not make a big deal. She just let her go.”

What about April?

Fans didn’t see Yaya DaCosta’s beloved nurse in the Chicago Med’s season premiere. The showrunners talked a little about that as well. For starters, they didn’t even consider bringing her back to say goodbye. “We really didn’t discuss [bringing her back for the premiere] because we don’t see that April is gone in the same way, in the sense that we know April’s okay,” said Frolov.

Schneider chimed in and gave some hope to fans who miss seeing Nurse Sexton. “She didn’t leave under a cloud. She’s off studying to be a nurse practitioner, and she could come back, too.”

Chicago Med airs Wednesday nights at 8/7 c on NBC.