'Chicago Med' Review: It's Better Than 'Code Black'!


In the opening moments of Chicago Med, premiering Tuesday night on NBC, real Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a dedication ceremony for the new trauma center where this new series will take place. He’s quickly called away by an aide who had perhaps just gotten a peek at the rest of the premiere’s script and decided the Mayor’s involvement could only hurt his poll ratings.

Padded with kids including an unborn child in medical danger, its corridors filled to capacity with the most attractive doctors this side of an afternoon soap opera, Chicago Med is not a subtle enterprise. A handsome new doctor played by Colin Donnell (Arrow) arrives at the hospital and he immediately rouses resentment in another handsome doctor, played by Nick Gehlfuss. The beautiful, pregnant pediatrician, Dr. Manning (Torrey DeVitto) seems drawn to the newer of the handsome doctors, and a bit later, her beautiful colleagues, including ER nurse April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), throw her a party to build her a baby crib while drinking wine. I would suggest that the water-drinking Manning re-tighten the screws before placing an infant in that crib.

The two characters who are least involved in flirting amongst themselves are the show’s two best actors, S. Epatha Merkerson as the chief administrator, and Oliver Platt as the chief of the psychiatry department.

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Produced by Law & Order guru Dick Wolf, Chicago Med forms a trilogy with Wolf’s companion shows, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. Pretty soon, producer Wolf will have chronicled Chicago with more hours of entertainment than the combined novels of Saul Bellow, James T. Farrell, and Nelson Algren, and of those three, only Bellow is the more understated entertainer. Hey, compared to CBS’s Code Black, Chicago Med is David Mamet stuff.

Filled with lines like, “It’s a patient, not a pin cushion!” and “Will she become [dramatic pause] a human incubator?,” Chicago Med is the kind of doctor show in which everyone ends up making the Right Decisions, so that they can show up next week to flirt with clear consciences.

Chicago Med airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.