Chicago Med's Nick Gehlfuss Shares Thoughts On Ending Will's Run With That Big Finale Reunion
Spoilers ahead for the Season 8 finale of Chicago Med on NBC.
One Chicago often delivers game-changers in season finales, and Chicago Med is guaranteed to be a very different show when Season 9 premieres due to the departure of Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Halstead. After breaking bigger rules than usual to sabotage OR 2.0, Will turned in his letter of resignation, said some goodbyes to his coworkers, and left Chicago... only to arrive in Seattle for a surprise reunion with Torrey DeVitto's Natalie Manning! In the wake of the finale (available streaming via Peacock Premium subscription), the actor shared his thoughts on the Manstead reunion as part of Will's goodbye.
Will and Natalie reuniting actually wasn't a huge shocker after Chicago Med dropped a number of Manstead hints in the second half of Season 8, but it wasn't until toward the end of the Season 8 finale that the show confirmed that Will was really leaving. Speaking with Variety, Nick Gehlfuss opened up about working with former longtime co-star Torrey DeVitto again:
I’ve kept in touch with her, so it wasn’t as if we hadn’t seen each other since she left the show. But it was great to see her. We fell right back into our work rhythm as if we didn’t have any time off. It was a beautiful moment, and one that I hope brings some closure to the fans. Because this relationship has come full circle for Will and Natalie. I think Will was seeking elements of Natalie in every relationship that followed their breakup. He never really got over her.
Will certainly was unlucky in love in the last couple of seasons, which Hannah implied was because of his feelings about Natalie in the first big Manstead callback of the spring season. Plus, even though Torrey DeVitto's departure as a series regular at the end of Season 6 meant Natalie leaving Chicago, her cameo at the beginning of Season 7 made it clear that there were still feelings between her and Will. The setup was there long before the Season 8 finale reveal.
Fortunately, this chapter in Will's romantic saga doesn't seem likely to have an unhappy ending like so many others, considering how the reunion with Natalie had me flashing back to one of the most romantic moments from ER back in its day! Will Halstead certainly got a happier goodbye from Chicago Med than his brother Jay Halstead did over on Chicago P.D. with Jesse Lee Soffer's departure in Season 10. Nick Gehlfuss also shared why he decided that the time was right to leave Chicago Med, after starring in the hit NBC show for eight seasons. Gehlfuss explained:
It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, I felt I’d taken Dr. Halstead as far as I can go with him. I think that comes down to a creative part of you, or the energy or spirit you have that you’re either built for a very long time with one person or not. I am attracted to the profession for the variety in it, and eight years is a long time. It’s two college degrees! I’m joking now that I basically have a doctorate in television.
Eight years may not seem like a lot compared to shows like Law & Order: SVU at 24 seasons and counting and Law & Order at 22 seasons and counting over in that corner of the nine-show Wolf Entertainment TV universe, but as Nick Gehlfuss pointed out, he had time for two college degrees while playing Will Halstead. The character deciding to leave made him the fourth to depart in Season 8, following Dylan in the premiere, Vanessa a handful of episodes later, and Ethan in the fall finale.
Luckily, despite Will having to resign with Goodwin's warning that she can't give him a recommendation, Nick Gehlfuss didn't rule out returning to reprise his role. He shared that he, Dick Wolf, and the Chicago Med writers were "all in agreement" about Will someday turning up again, and that he'd "love to don the white lab coat once again" if there's an important moment that makes sense to bring him back.
For the time being, there's not even any confirmation of when exactly Chicago Med will return from summer hiatus, let alone when Will could appear again. The current WGA writers strike could mean a delay in the fall TV season starting up again. Whatever the future holds with regard to Season 9, Med fans can go into this break with the knowledge that Will got his happily-ever-after after eight years of struggle.