SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the latest Chicago Med episode.
Rafferty guest-starred in “Change is a Tough Pill to Swallow” as Dr. Pamela Blake, Chicago Med’s top-flight transplant surgeon whose daughter was brought into the Emergency Department. Blake tried to perform her daughter’s operation and when that didn’t work, she repeatedly interjected into Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) and Dr. Dean Archer’s (Steven Weber) treatment plan.
While everything worked out in the end One Chicago fans were surprised on two counts. Marcel was shocked that Archer went along with what Blake wanted, seemingly to advance his own career. And then the viewers got a last-minute surprise when Crockett received a call telling him that Blake had requested him for one of her own surgeries.
The latter leaves the door open for Sarah Rafferty to appear in future Chicago Med episodes and that’s one of the best things the show could do right now.
Anyone who’s watched Suits knows what a tremendous actress Sarah Rafferty is. Her performance as Donna Paulsen was scene-stealing from the start, and the character grew leaps and bounds over the course of the show to rise from being Harvey Specter’s assistant to the law firm’s chief operating officer, enabling Sarah to explore so many different aspects of Donna and shades of her personality.
That was somewhat mirrored in her Chicago Med episode to a smaller extent. Blake was clearly positioned as the antagonist to create tension for Marcel, and between Marcel and Archer. But in watching Sarah’s performance, she gave the character context that made Blake feel much more three-dimensional. She definitely caused issues but audiences could see the emotion behind her actions. We understood the fear, pain and pride that drove her and that’s what made the story work.
It’s also something that the show overall doesn’t have at the moment. When we see other doctors outside of the main cast they tend to be either terrible people or full of themselves (or sometimes both). There was an example of that just last week when Marcel butted heads with cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Simms; that character had no personality outside of being a jerk. It would be lovely to see some more staff members who prove that Chicago Med’s sense of camaraderie and respect isn’t limited to the people who work in the ED.
Those characters usually have a limited amount of screen time, though, because they’re not regulars and so are there for the express purpose of moving a storyline along. So if the writers are going to make a commitment to flesh those roles out they also need to have actors who can take a small scene or a moment and make it count. Sarah Rafferty is one of those people, and the character they’ve written for her puts her in a position to really be able to help Chicago Med season 7.
Marcel does not have a consistent foil with the exit of Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto). Med‘s attempt at playing med student Vanessa Taylor (recurring guest star Asjha Cooper) off him went bust when that story went from mentoring to her having a crush on him. He needs someone to play against and why not another doctor who’s going to push him, like Blake did in this episode? Marcel has no shortage of confidence so putting him in cases with someone who’s even more self-assured would be interesting; he might be on the back foot in those scenes. It would also bring in some different types of cases since Blake is a transplant surgeon and Med focuses almost exclusively on the ED these days.
Plus, if you follow Archer’s logic, it would open up a plot thread of Crockett having to choose between doing what he feels is right and advancing his career at the hospital. That would be a great thread for Dominic Rains to pull. So much time has been devoted to Marcel’s personal life that let’s explore his professional world and how he sees himself as a surgeon. Working with Pamela Blake would give him that opportunity, and more of Sarah Rafferty would boost Chicago Med to new heights.
Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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