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Dear NBC, Dick Wolf, One-Chicago

I’m sure you get a lot of letters/fan-input and probably not much comes of it.  However, I beg of you to give this letter full consideration- as I have put a lot of time and thought into this.

I’m a huge fan of all of the One-Chicago shows- never missed an episode of any of the 3-shows (watched Justice too) and have always made a point of catching the New York crossovers.  I’ve even re-watched everything on Peacock.  I’m a long-time follower of a lot of the greatness that NBC has brought to the air, I am also a published author that knows something about storytelling.  I’m more than a follower/watcher of shows- I’m a storytelling and creative enthusiast. 

I want to thank you for years of quality entertainment, but I have some concerns about this season (2021-2022) and many of the concerns started in the shortened (2020-2021) season.  I have no intention of complaining- My hope is to offer feasible and practical fixes.

Cast changes are inevitable with any long running series and for the most part you’ve handle them incredibly well.  However, Med is nearly unwatchable and that is hard for me to say.  Med was the ONLY show on ALL of television to accurately, properly, responsibly, respectfully… address the realities of COVID.  I don’t follow award shows, but if the Emmys missed you- it’s a travesty.

But casting and valued storylines and character development was also beginning to fall apart

Losing Dr. Rhoades was a big hit and seemed to be the beginning of a mass-exodus of great characters.  Rhoades leaving- was, however, written and executed masterfully.  The suicide of his nemesis, his love moving to address the need to take better care of herself, his father… Wonderful writing and fantastic dramatic television.

When Crockett was introduced, I was thinking, “Oh great.  They are doing a ‘Euro-Ross’ as in how Clooney was replaced on ER.  Yet, I’ve grown to love Crockett for the depth and development of his character.

As One-Chicago lives on, the doom of long-running series may be lingering, but ER ran 15-season.  M*A*S*H- 11-seasons.  St. Elsewhere- about where you are at, but YOU are much better.  Emergency-who you honor with “Engine 51” ran 7-seasons without any of the technology of today or the budgets.  Grey’s Anatomy is on 19 and is little more than “General Hospital.”  House (and you must have liked that when you cast Casey)- did 8, but any medical professional will tell you- Very Few cases are deep, complex- medical mysteries.  You’ve been playing with making that mistake.  But all of these shows survived cast changes.  I’m not sure Med will.

Since mentioning ER- One-Chicago has access to Eriq LaSalle.  As busy as he may be, maybe he can help or help bring in Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle or Laura Innes.  They all have extensive experience making a successful medical drama and they all wrote, produced and directed several episodes.  I know Med isn’t getting any of the ION (syndication) money, but One-Chicago can afford to bring in some much-needed help.  Yet- I don’t believe One-Chicago can afford to let any piece of the show die.  And Med is dying, with all due respect.

I, and probably most people, understand how COVID protocol restricted production, but as the World recovers- I can only hope Med recovers.

The development of the spin-offs, the sharing of characters and all of the amazing cross-overs- is not only unprecedented, as far as I know, it made it totally necessary to watch ALL of the shows.  I never worried about missing something if I didn’t watch ALL of Maude, The Jeffersons and All in the Family, but the way One-Chicago is done-  I have to.  I want to.

I fear, if one show dies- they will ALL fall.  Yes- Justice died, but no network would give you 4-hours straight anyway.  You OWN Wednesday Night and with the history of quality writing and execution of storylines- you deserve it, but I’m about to cut it down to 2-hours of TV-instead of 3.  Another great part of The One-Chicago World is the location stuff, (not just saying that as a Chicagoan).  I don’t believe Med has been in Chicago for years and the obviously fake exterior shots (namely the balcony) are embarrassing.  Fire and PD characters don’t pop in anymore and Med characters aren’t popping into the other shows either.  Makes me wonder if Med is being set up to fail.

Too many cast changes- which means chemistry challenges, poor development of new characters, completely uninteresting and over or under-done cases… just poor writing and directing.  Example 1- unnecessary product placement- Oh I have this thing to check my blood-sugar. Example 2- they handed out paper checks to the doctors.  Really???  Med is the most advanced and state-of-the-art hospital I’ve ever heard of.  …. Setting up the money dynamic between Halsted and Kristen Hager- given that her mother is homeless- is valuable and allowing Halsted an idea of how to approach the “Kick-Back” investigation, are both necessary, but… Paper-Checks… NO.  Just bad writing.  Also, Kristen’s character only has the mom-homeless thing and went to med school with Halsted, yet NO chemistry with Nick Gehlfuss- Needs a lot of work.  And for Guy Lockard’s character to develop you need to write a face-to-face scene with Detective Halsted and solidify a compelling back-story- I’d also like to see him have a line similar to the very missed Reece character- where he starts working with Oliver. You had a firefighter from “Fire” became a doc, but he had medical experience in the military and time- given the standard firefighter schedule.  But how does a police officer from the 100s, in this new case, have the time and money to become a doc?  Needs Depth.  In general, both of those new characters are far too blank and uninteresting.  Poor writing / poor directing / poor casting…I don’t know, but I know you can do better.  Steven Weber is a fantastic actor, but his character is outrageously thin and unlikeable.  Without Ethan to play the military approach to addressing his issues- he’s horrible.  As an audience we are all hoping Ethan returns, but maybe introduce a patient that Weber knows from the military that befriends him and builds him.  Unlike, ER’s Dr. Romano-a character you love to hate, Weber’s character you Just hate.  There’s no depth.

Sharing Ato Essandoh with Blue Bloods was more than likely difficult, but he was a fantastic character.  All of his scenes were some of the best of the entire series to-date.  Where is he?  Such a well-formed character and necessary piece of the O.R. world.  Instead of having ED docs leave the ED to do surgery.  Simply doesn’t happen.  Like Dr. Benton- Rhoades and Crocket are trauma-surgeons, so it makes sense, but Weber’s character, or anyone else for that matter, has no business leaving the ED.  Hybrid-ED- maybe, but upstairs-NO.  And where’s that awesome neurosurgeon character?  The family working together concept of Maggie and her daughter- That was done and done better with April and her brother- Where are they?  Her brother being developed to work in the O.R. was going somewhere, now he’s gone.  Where is Maggie’s husband for that matter?  He was a great cast addition and counter-part for Maggie with Torrey leaving.  Where is Epatha’s homosexual-legal counsel- another great and well developed character and counterpart to 1 of only 2 valuable cast members left- who is apparently very ill now…?  Wouldn’t he be a better piece to the “Kick-Back” storyline?

Obviously, Epatha is highly valued by Wolf- given her L&O time, but she’s doing a medical drama and Eriq is doing a cop-show?  Oliver-who I absolutely love- as far as I know, his only medical show background was “Flatliners.”  However costly, maybe bring in Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland- (known TV longevity experience) or even William Baldwin-you used him on NBC’s “Parenthood.”  And “Flatliners” took place in Chicago- something to work with.  There were basically 2-Back-Door pilots and there were two great characters that never made the series, where are they?  The main Med Doc in Fire’s train derailment episode and the marathon bombing episode- where is he?  He was fantastic.  The female doc in the “Grenade in the waiting room” episode-She was great- where is she?  You already had so many great and well-developed characters that are gone and whatever skills of developing new characters you have seem to be gone as well.

It’s hard to see a history of great character development and story telling fall apart so badly.

P.D.-  The kill was justified.  Never needed to be buried.  Maybe people wanted the old-Hank back, but pulling Hailey in- puts unnecessary strain and conflict on her character and hurts all other potential storylines.  Maybe Hailey was a combo Al & Lindsey.  Doesn’t work.  Hank needs an AL, but Hailey is the wrong choice.  Adam wants the job.  Let Adam be Hank’s Al.  Since Atwater has been given the role of anti-brutality/by the book guy- he is now Dawson.  Pair Atwater and Burgees back together- let the beat-team work together again and let Atwater be clean and Adam dirty, while safely rebuilding the brutally beaten-up Burgess-You can stop kickin’ her ass.  You’ve been doing it every couple seasons for years. Leave Halsted and Hailey together, but if the weight of Hailey playing the Al role breaks her… too much.  If Hank’s bosses aren’t really riding him anymore and are more on his side- he has freedom to get loose again, but not with Hailey- Adam would be fine and would allow him to emulate his mentor.  Otherwise- P.D. is strong.

Fire- The mental anguish Cruz is going through is a great storyline, but his character and the show is really feeling the loss of the comedy team he was with Ottis.  The 3-new kids are holding up some of the necessary comic-relief that Ottis and Cruz had.  Mouch could mature and let the kids play.  However, the female of the kids needs more depth to her character.  She was just not developed as well as the other two kids.  Excited to see where you’re taking Herman.  Bowden will be a rough replacement- DO NOT make the casting mistakes Med has made.

The Wolf world is obviously rebuilding Thursday- The return of Stabler and the cross-over options there- are very compelling.  Let’s not forget Wednesday in the process.  20+++years of L&O?  No reason One-Chicago can’t do the same.  Unless Med dies.  If you lose the full 3-hour block, PD and Fire get moved to separate nights and there survival is less secure.

Growing up, NBC was “Must See”- not so much anymore.  4-great comedies and 1-headliner drama, (L.A. Law - ER – Southland – Parenthood -and some of the best half-hour comedies ever made) was a great way to grow up.  The half-hour comedy died.  Thursday seemed to give up on the 4-1 formula.  I stopped watching Thursday when they cancelled Southland then later only watched Parenthood.  I understand Blacklist was good, but the comedies are gone.  You got Wednesday and Thursday Drama-Night now and it is great.  Don’t let it die.  Please.

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This show has to be the worst ever. All of these doctors are a disgrace. Their practices are ridiculous. The resus scenes are absolute rubbish. There is no decent or even close to realistic scene in any episode. The creators should be ashamed. 

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In Season 3 of Chicago Med, when Maggie gets suspended, 

does she forge the date on her paramedic certificate or does she get her ex boyfriend’s friend at the EMS to backdate the renewal, or does she forge the date on her current certificate?

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I wondered. They didn’t make it clear whether they gave her a new cert with updated renewed date, or backdated her renewal. One of the many loose ends this show leaves. 

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They do seem to have cleaned house with the cast. I do miss some of the guests stars (Abrams, Latham, the lawyer, the nurses), but I can't say that I miss the lead actors who've left. The show has a different feel, but that's a good thing. I used to hate-watch this show, big time. My mom probably thought I was nuts when I talked about the show because it clearly bugged me. The storylines were over the top and repetitive, and the doctors constantly behaved in unethical ways.

Now the show is more mature. The cases and the doctors' behavior is more realistic while still being dramatic. Frankly, the show is a little boring compared to previous seasons, but it's way more enjoyable to watch because I'm not rolling my eyes every five minutes.

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I wish the writers wouldn't assume that viewers watch all three of the "Chicago _____" shows.  Sometimes a police officer or firefighter shows up, and the medical characters appear to know them.  A line or two of backstory would help those of us who don't watch the other shows, and would not damage the plot.

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15 hours ago, Driad said:

I wish the writers wouldn't assume that viewers watch all three of the "Chicago _____" shows.  Sometimes a police officer or firefighter shows up, and the medical characters appear to know them.  A line or two of backstory would help those of us who don't watch the other shows, and would not damage the plot.

With the One Chicago franchise, it happens so often that it just makes sense to go with the flow and see the character as just another copper or firefighter. Before Station 19 become a steaming unwatchable mess, that's how I had to approach characters that were obviously crossovers from Gray's Anatomy or whatever that show's called. 

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