The Night Shift will be embracing its military roots when the NBC medical drama returns for season four.
Premiering June 22, the new episodes will see the fictional San Antonio Memorial Hospital merge with Veterans Affairs in a move inspired by real world headlines about the potential changes at the VA recently proposed as part of President Donald Trump's budget plan.
"It's exactly going to be incorporated," exec producer Jeff Judah told reporters Monday at NBC's summer press day. "We want to bring the military medicine in to the show."
Again inspired by real-life scenarios, Veteran's Affairs will do a pilot program where they pay the fictional San Antonio Memorial Hospital to take over select cases. The result is that "we're going to be able to tell veteran stories in every episode," said Judah.
Additionally, one upcoming episode of the Sony drama will be written and directed by veterans, with veterans also playing all of the guest roles.
The Night Shift has included military storylines from its inception. The show's main character, Dr. TC Callahan (Eoin Macken), is an ex-Army medic who was exhibiting signs of PTSD at the show's start after having watched his brother die on the battlefield. Last season, the series welcomed then-First Lady Michelle Obama and then-Second Lady Jill Biden in an episode about veterans' health.
Judah said current events inspired he and the writers to explore the military more heavily in season four. "It's fascinating how our veterans still don't get the respect that they deserve," he said. "You read every day about the mistreatment. ... We felt we could realty lean in to this and really tell these stories."
Military stories have become a popular development trend this pilot season. In addition to History's Navy SEALs drama Six, which has already been renewed for a second season, four of the five broadcast networks have military-themed dramas in the works. NBC has For God and Country, The CW has Valor, CBS is developing an untitled Navy SEAL drama, and Fox has a reboot of the Owen Wilson-Gene Hackman military drama Behind Enemy Lines.
Watch The Night Shift season four trailer below: