After Chicago Med ended Season 8 with Will Halstead leaving Chicago and the future of the hospital itself uncertain, NBC's hit medical drama is returning soon in the 2024 TV schedule. A six-month time jump means a lot has changed between the last episode in spring 2023 and the premiere of Season 9, and I spoke with showrunners Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider about what's ahead. And how could I not ask about the dynamic between Hannah Asher and Dean Archer?
Hannah and Archer may not have started out in the ED on the best of terms, but they formed a strong friendship in Season 8 that even took actress Jessy Schram by surprise. In the Season 8 finale (available streaming via Peacock Premium subscription), the two debunked his son's suspicions that there was a secret romance between them, and she was doing her best to be there for both of them as Sean relapsed just when he was set to donate a much-needed kidney to his dad.
When the showrunners spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of Season 9, they addressed the chemistry between Schram and Steven Weber and what the future holds for their characters. Diane Frolov said:
That was just a great surprise and we just love that relationship. We didn't start out planning it, but when they started out, there was a lot of tension between the two of them. But they just work so well together.
Considering that Hannah's closest relationship in the ED prior to Season 8 was with Will and Archer's was with Ethan, who could have known that the season would end with Will and Ethan gone from the hospital, and Hannah fast friends with Archer? Andrew Schneider weighed in:
As they become closer, it's always so much fun to see her teasing this grouchy guy and they just play so well off each other. Their friendship will be a continuing storyline throughout Season 9.
Fortunately, whatever changed in the hiatus between seasons that was longer than usual due to the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike, Hannah and Archer's friendship is evidently going strong. Some early looks at Season 9 show them interacting, but fans will have to wait until the upcoming premiere for all the context.
The six-month time jump just so happens to equal the amount of time that Sean needed to wait after his relapse to be allowed to donate his kidney to his dad, and Hannah was very much wrapped up in what Schram described last season as the "emotional triangle" with the two Archer men. The co-showrunners previewed what's ahead after this time jump, including whether or not the triangle will be back. Diane Frolov said:
[Sean] is sober, and when we come into the premiere episode, the transplant is on the books to take place. Actually, it's going to take place the next day, but Archer now is hesitating just because he just doesn't want his son to do this for him. He feels guilty. He feels unworthy of it. So then we'll see Hannah in that, trying to persuade him. There is not a triangle. We're not doing a triangle with Sean. We've kind of put that to bed, to rest.
Archer didn't lose all of his hesitation about letting his son donate a kidney just because six months have passed, but he'll clearly have to make a choice sooner rather than later if his surgery is scheduled for the next day! And the unconventional triangle with Hannah and the Archer men has been settled, with Andrew Schneider adding:
She doesn't have a romantic interest and Sean understands that and has moved on. His concern is giving that kidney to his father, whom he wants to make a new relationship with.
Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, January 17 at 8 p.m. ET for the Season 9 premiere of Chicago Med and the latest on Hannah and Archer. The medical drama didn't end on any life-or-death cliffhangers like Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. did, but the hospital going up for sale is certainly a twist that will need to be resolved! A new doctor (played by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Luke Mitchell) will also debut in the premiere, so be sure not to miss it.
You can enjoy a full night of One Chicago action on January 17, with Chicago Fire Season 12 premiering at 9 p.m. ET (with Fire showrunner explaining a Stellaride moment from the trailer) and Chicago P.D. Season 11 at 10 p.m. ET, all on NBC. Don't forget to check back with CinemaBlend for more from the Med showrunners!