Doc Halstead hangs up scrubs on Chicago Med
Original Chicago Med star Nick Gehlfuss is taking off his scrubs and exiting the OR.
Gehlfuss portrayed Dr. Will Halstead for eight seasons on the NBC drama and his character departed Wednesday night after he reconnected with his ex-fiancée, Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto, who left the show in season 6) and her son.
“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,” Gehlfuss told Variety after the season 8 finale aired.
“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.”
Halstead's brother Det. Jay Halstead (played by Jesse Lee Soffer) also departed the One Chicago franchise, exiting Chicago P.D. last year.
“It's overwhelming, because of all the emotions. It wouldn't be that way if it didn't mean so much. It's like with love, if you truly love somebody then you're going to have very high moments and very low moments, because it's just so important to you,” he says. “It was important to me to give everyone an advance notice of me leaving so that we didn't finish cold turkey,” Gehlfuss added in his interview with Variety.
In a separate interview with Deadline, Gehlfuss held out hope that Dr. Halstead could return for a guest spot in future episodes.
“I wanted that to be the case but of course, I would have been OK with whatever the writers felt necessary for the story. So I'm glad that they preserve that possibility,” he said. “They said outright, `You know, we'd be happy to have you come back whenever you want.' And it's really touching.”
Gehlfuss told People that he struggled to keep his composure when he filmed his final scene on the show.
“These are eight-year relationships that I have with the crew that — we don't use the word lightly, and that's the only word for it — is family,” he said.
Halstead doesn't know what's next on his acting plate, but he told People that he's looking forward to playing somebody new and being part of a new storyline. “I want to develop new and different characters. It was a gift to be able to explore one character for eight years. TV allows that possibility. So I look forward to doing so again.”
Chicago Med will return for its ninth season this fall on NBC and Citytv.