Here's Where You Know The Cast Of Chicago Med From

During Season 3 of NBC's ratings smash "Chicago Fire," viewers of the episode "I Am the Apocalypse" met the doctors and nurses who run the Emergency Department of Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. In the episode, the Firehouse 51 crew is stuck at the hospital when a former patient who says he has an infectious disease enters with a grenade, locking everyone down in quarantine. 

Viewers were introduced to characters like Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt), Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), and Dr. April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), all of whom would come to lead the new "Chicago Med" series that premiered the following fall.

"Chicago Med" is the third spinoff of legendary television producer Dick Wolf's hit "Chicago Fire," following "Chicago P.D." and preceding the since-canceled "Chicago Justice." The seventh season of "Med" premiered in September 2021, and as with most long-running shows, cast members have come and gone over the years. (Laurie Holden, who played Dr. Hannah Tramble in the backdoor pilot, didn't even stick around long enough to make it to the actual show!) Consequently, viewers may be reassessing their familiarity with the cast, wondering where they've seen some of them before. Scrub up and read on, because we're about to find out why these cast members look so familiar.

S. Epatha Merkerson is a Law & Order legend

S. Epatha Merkerson plays Sharon Goodwin on "Chicago Med," which isn't the first time she's worked with legendary TV creator Dick Wolf. In addition to her iconic roles as Reba the Mail Lady on "Peewee's Playhouse" and as Tarissa Dyson in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," Merkerson's career skyrocketed, in large part, thanks to the staggering 391 episodes she filmed of "Law & Order" as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren.

She joined the "Law & Order" cast in Season 4 because, as she told the Television Academy, "NBC was gonna cancel the show because they felt it was too testosterone-driven, that they needed to bring in women. And so, Dick decided to make the commander of the precinct a woman and then to bring in a young ADA female, and that's how Jill Hennessy and I got on the show." Merkerson explained that the show's "numbers were incredible" as a result, encompassing a demographic of female viewers. She said of her character, "Van Buren was truly the precursor to a lot of females coming in after that as figures of authority, so it was a great honor."

That actor reunited with her old "Law & Order" boss on "Chicago Med." "You know what I love about Dick, is that he's really, really loyal," she said on an episode of Dennis Miller Plus One. "...I've been working off and on in the Wolf world for almost 25 years. It's kind of amazing."

Nick Gehlfuss was Shameless before he played Will

The One Chicago franchise loves a crossover, and when "Chicago Med" premiered in 2015, Nick Gehlfuss' character, Will Halstead, provided a link to the rest of the "Chicago" universe. Will is the brother of Det. Jay Halstead, one of the main characters on "Chicago P.D."

Before joining "Chicago Med," Nick Gehlfuss was best known as the drug-addicted Robbie on "Shameless," the man with whom Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has an affair during Season 4. "Shameless" is also set in Chicago, a fact that hasn't escaped Gehlfuss' notice. He's happy to be on the other side of the line now, playing someone who helps others instead of needing help. After all, it's his family business. He told StarryMag, "I really appreciated being able to portray a first responder. The last time I worked in Chicago I was a 'drug addict' and a very malicious brother on 'Shameless.' My mom is in the medical field and so is my sister. So, now I'm accepted into the family. What can I say? I'm a real fake doctor they can turn to."

Amid cast shakeups, and despite the fact that Will was fired at the end of Season 6, Gehlfuss got to stay at the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. He told Hello!, "We've had some adjustments in the cast, losing some and gaining some, so it feels like we are restructuring the show and like we're recreating some things, and it's exciting."

Yaya DaCosta was almost America's Next Top Model

For six seasons, Yaya DaCosta played fan favorite Dr. April Sexton on "Chicago Med" before departing the show. When she originally joined the cast, fans may have recognized her from "All My Children," "Ugly Betty," or "Take the Lead," where she starred opposite Antonio Banderas.

Some viewers, though, knew her best as the second-place finalist on the third cycle of "America's Next Top Model." When she started going out for acting jobs, DaCosta hid her participation in the reality show from casting directors. She told Complex about Hollywood's reality TV stigma: "The very directors and writers that were hiring me had just gotten their shows denied by a network because a new reality show was taking up that time slot, so the stigma didn't just have to do with being a model, it was reality TV in general." DaCosta added, "You didn't talk about it. It wasn't on your résumé. Producers for 'Take the Lead' and 'Honeydripper' told me that if they had known, they wouldn't have hired me."

The actor seamlessly moved from Chicago One to other opportunities. Discussing her decision to leave "Chicago Med" and sign on to Lee Butler's 2021 drama, DaCosta told the Television Critics Association (via Deadline), "There isn't much to say about it. There was a window opening and a question mark as to whether I should stay or go, and in that window, I fell in love with 'Our Kind of People.'"

Brian Tee was a Tokyo Drift King

Before he played Dr. Ethan Choi on "Chicago Med," Brian Tee was no stranger to procedurals. The actor had small roles in a number of network dramas, including "JAG," "Bones," "CSI," and "Grey's Anatomy." He took over the role of Shredder in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows," but he is best known as a different villain.

Tee lit up the streets of Tokyo as the Drift King in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," and he's particularly proud of that role. Speaking with Soompi, he said, "It's funny how often I get recognized as D.K. I think for that particular movie, even though it was part of the franchise, it was kind of a one-off because it was about drift racing. ... It was really phenomenal. To this day, I will still get called out as being the Drift King, and be recognized. I enjoy it. In the drift world he is the main villain, the iconic bad guy. I'm quite proud of it."

The hunky Dr. Choi is a much better person than D.K., but Tee says not to expect him to act like a real doctor in emergencies. He told MindYourBodyTV, "I've been asked the question, 'If something were to happen, do you feel like you could fill those shoes?' And I say, yes: I would be the first person to call 9-1-1."

Torrey DeVitto enjoyed getting to know Natalie

Torrey DeVitto's character, Dr. Natalie Manning, returned to "Chicago Med" in its Season 7 premiere...only to say goodbye.

Before she was part of the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center team, DeVitto had recurring roles on a number of teen shows, including Carrie on "One Tree Hill" and Dr. Meredith Fell on "The Vampire Diaries." On "Pretty Little Liars," she played Melissa Hastings, older sister of Troian Bellisario's character, Spencer. DeVitto was continually surprised by her role on the series, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "Every time I go back on set I feel like, 'Oh yeah, I finally have a grasp on Melissa and I get it,' and then they throw something at me and I'm like, 'Oh my god! This character I've been playing for three years, I still have no idea who she is some of the time.' I've obviously made choices as an actor, and then I'll read scripts and realize that what I had decided totally needs to change now."

DeVitto got to know Natalie much better on "Chicago Med." "Season 1, it was like, when I got a scene the night before, I would spend like six hours saying it over and over again," she told BUILD. "Now, I just know her so well that I read a scene and I'm like, 'Oh yeah, I get it.' ... It's interesting being on a show that goes for this long, because you just really do become one with the character you're playing."

Oliver Platt swore off TV last time he worked with Dick Wolf

Oliver Platt, also known as Dr. Daniel Charles, has been a successful actor for a long time. He has multiple Emmy nominations, for playing Russell on "Huff," Freddy on "Nip/Tuck," and Oliver Babish on "The West Wing."

He previously worked with "Chicago Med" creator Dick Wolf on the show "Deadline," which was about a newspaper. It was canceled after only a few episodes, leading Platt to swear off television before "The West Wing" came around. The actor told NPR, "I had actually just had my own television show that I did for NBC unceremoniously ripped off the air after three episodes. ... My manager called me and said, 'Aaron Sorkin wants you to be on 'The West Wing.'" Platt wasn't interested, but he read the script and couldn't resist. "I did eight episodes of the show and I just had so much fun. And it kind of restored my belief in television."

At PaleyFest 2016, Wolf shared that his actors were the key to his success, calling out Platt by name. "TV is the most collaborative art form in history, more than movies," he said (via the Chicago Tribune). "I get way too much credit, but then I get all of the blame. ... I hire great people like Oliver Platt, who goes to hospitals to meet people to do research for his role." Platt's hard work has paid off, and he has stuck with "Chicago Med" for many seasons.

Bonita Friedericy joined the cast in Season 7

Bonita Friedericy had her first appearance on "Chicago Med" in the Season 7 premiere as Teri Hammer, homeless mother of new character Stevie, with plans to recur throughout the season. For much of her career, she has had one-off roles on shows as varied as "7th Heaven," "Veronica Mars," and "Spin City." Friedericy told HoboTrashCan that she liked the work of appearing just for an episode here and there: "It is kind of funky to pop around, because you don't quite belong and your job really is to know your lines, not bother anyone, and be fun to work with. I do like the variety, I have to say. I'm a character actor and I think being able to play a general one week and a horrible mother the next week and then a secretary on 'Drew Carey' or something, that I really like a lot. I like the variety."

On the other hand, Friedericy will also look familiar to fans of NBC shows because she played General Diane Beckman for all five seasons of spy comedy "Chuck." The role offered more stability than she was used to, and she joked with Assignment X that she was happy when General Beckman was bumped up to series regular. "I've never been made a series regular before," she said in 2011. "I'm delighted. People call me 'queen' now. I'm now Queen Friedericy. That was nice. You can have a title once you're a series regular."

Marlyne Barrett was on The Wire

Marlyne Barrett has been with "Chicago Med" since the beginning, playing Maggie Campbell (née Lockwood). Before Chicago, Marlyne was known for leading Baltimore, the Baltimore of "The Wire," that is. She played a different character named Campbell — City Council President Nerese Campbell — in two seasons of the HBO show. 

"I made the conscious decision that if Nerese, as a politician, was going to rub shoulders with the boys, we were going to dance," she told EDGE Magazine. "It was Baltimore. And the truth is that I wanted her to go all the way to Washington. ... What would I bring to the table when I wanted to sway a situation? I needed something as strong as a gun, something in her speech that was as potent as gunpowder, something so specific that my words balanced between intelligence, wisdom, and a threat. That's what I thought Nerese was, all in a sexy body."

It's fitting that she now plays a nurse on "Chicago Med," because she went to nursing school, even though she didn't want to go into medicine. "It was a promise I made to my parents," she told EDGE. "My father worked for Siemens as a medical engineer. And we have cousins who are doctors and nurses. So it's a family thing."

All American Asjha Cooper joined the Chicago family

Asjha Cooper joined "Chicago Med" in Season 6 as Vanessa Taylor, a medical student who signs up for the Emergency Department due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The big reveal that Vanessa is Maggie's daughter left viewers in anticipation for the dramatic outcomes of Season 7.

Viewers might have wondered where they'd seen Cooper before she began her journey on "Chicago Med." On the CW's "All American," she played Kia, Spencer's ex-girlfriend. Though she didn't start until the tenth episode of the series' first season, Cooper told her co-stars that she didn't feel excluded. "It's all about the atmosphere, the community... When I came on to that set, I felt so welcomed," she said on an episode of co-star Daniel Ezra's podcast, "The Hangout." We can only imagine that the "Chicago Med" cast made her feel the same way!

Asjha Cooper starred in two streaming horror movies in 2021: a home invasion thriller called "There's Someone Inside Your House" for Netflix, and a vampire movie titled "Black As Night" for Amazon Prime.

Michael Rady is a true Christmas star

Michael Rady's character, Dr. Matt Cooper, joined "Chicago Med" in the Season 7 premiere. Rady is a holiday movie veteran who starred in "The Christmas Bow," "Two Turtle Doves," "Christmas at Pemberley Manor," "Secret Santa," "A Joyous Christmas," "Christmas in Homestead," and more. He told MediaVillage, "I have to say all of the Hallmark movies have been spectacular. Hallmark is truly a great company to work for. ... They're such wonderful people from the top down."

He even worked with Meghan Markle in "Random Encounters." "That's my biggest claim to fame and biggest contribution to the globe. [Meghan] was like the third lead and we had a great time working together," he said to MediaVillage. "Then she became the most famous person on the planet and it was re-released with her on the cover. There was a pretty sensual scene that I now find hilarious. But she was so sweet and lovely."

For audience members of a particular age, though, Michael Rady is most recognizable as Kostas, the Greek hunk who romances Alexis Bledel in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." He expressed to Talk Nerdy With Us that he'd be eager to revisit Kostas. "Oh, I would be flattered and honored to be part of another movie that they do. ... If they have me back, I would be thrilled."

The last time Dominic Rains was on TV, he was blue

There's a reason fans might not immediately recognize Dominic Rains — who has played the hard-partying Dr. Crockett Marcel on "Chicago Med" since Season 5 — but they might have more luck if they pictured him in blue. On the fifth season of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," Rains played Kasius, the evil Kree leader who tried to bring about the destruction of Earth. He was also part of horror history, playing Saeed in the groundbreaking Iranian vampire film "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night."

On "Chicago Med," Dr. Crockett Marcel is Iranian-American, as is Rains himself. When discussing his role in the film "Burn Country," he told Harper's Bazaar that he doesn't worry about being typecast. "A great character is a great character no matter where it comes from," he said. "I just ask that the character is three dimensional and that it's socially relevant... Yes, I'm an American and I am very much a western boy, and I identify with being an American, but I am also grateful for the vast, rich culture that I was born into in Iran. That's beauty, and that is part of what this is, and I accept that. I'm willing to take on whatever [role] of that region, as long as there is substance to it."

Steven Weber led a Cheers spin-off

Steven Weber's character, Dr. Dean Archer, joined the "Chicago Med" crew in Season 6, quickly becoming an invaluable part of the team. In Season 7 (per HITC), he becomes the head of the Emergency Department while Dr. Ethan Choi is out recovering from a shooting.

Weber has a long list of acting credits, including the principal on "13 Reasons Why," Max St. Vincent on "How to Get Away With Murder," and Douglas Hamilton "NCIS: New Orleans." However, he is best known as Brian Hackett, the main character on "Wings." Weber enjoyed working on the show, but he looks back on it somewhat critically, telling the AV Club in 2016, "Look, it was a far less observant show than either 'Cheers' or 'Frasier.' It didn't necessarily take any risks with any current topics or sexuality." Weber continued, "It was good, a fairly standard comedy, but it was almost always well-written. ... It was a great time all around. ... We all had great schedules, made good dough, had a lot of fun. And made a lot of good friendships."

He likes the writing on "Chicago Med," too, and has found the longtime characters to be quite welcoming. Weber told UPI, "Brian [Tee] and the other actors made me feel very at home," adding, "We get along very well. They are writing our characters in an interesting way. There is a kind of immediacy and compassion in our relationship that is kind of surprising."

Guy Lockard was already part of the One Chicago universe in a different role

In Season 7, Guy Lockard joined the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center family as Dr. Dylan Scott. Dr. Scott is a former police officer who decides to become a doctor instead.

Before joining the "Chicago Med" cast, Lockard mostly had small, single-episode roles on procedurals like "Bull," "FBI," "Blue Bloods," and "The Blacklist." He even had a one-episode role on another "Chicago" show, a character named Lewis in a Season 8 episode of "Chicago Fire." Per Fansided, Lewis was "a frustrated father who chained himself to 51's engines in staging a protest."

In the past, Lockard has worked professionally as a singer. Penguin Random House notes that music fans who saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Winter 2010 tour would have seen Lockard as a featured vocalist. He also narrates audiobooks for a living and can be heard on a range of works. He even won an Audie Award for his work narrating "Sunny" (per Audiofile Magazine).

Lockard loves his "Chicago Med" experience as Dr. Scott. He wrote on Twitter that his favorite aspect of the role is, "Working with kids honestly! I'm the pediatrician so most of my scenes are with kids and I love it."

Kristen Hager has played a nurse before

Another newcomer to the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center team in Season 7 was Kristen Hager as Dr. Stevie Hammer. In addition to playing one of the lead roles in "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," Hager is recognizable for her role on "Being Human." For four seasons of the SyFy hit, she played Nora, a nurse who becomes a werewolf.

The star loved her "Being Human" castmates, telling Showbiz Junkies, "It couldn't be a better group of actors to work with. ... Every day is a party, which not all directors love when they first come on board. But, everyone is very professional. As soon as they say, 'Action,' we're very much prepared. They feel like my family members at this point, and I will be devastated when the show ends because I won't be able to see them every day for five months of the year."

As for her new role on "Chicago Med," Hager told the Meet Us At Molly's podcast that she auditioned years earlier for a role on "Chicago Fire," but she didn't get it. She "had been in their minds" for "Med," meaning she didn't need to audition for the role of Stevie and was instead offered the part. Hager is excited about how big the One Chicago world is, adding, "We shoot all at the same studio on different stages, and it's like a giant family, and it really is like its own universe. And it's, while being overwhelming to join, also so exciting."