Chicago Med’s Gwen Garrett: Should she return for season 5?

CHICAGO MED -- "Heavy Is The Head" Episode 403 -- Pictured: (l-r) Heather Headley as Gwen Garrett, Nate Santana as Jimmy Lanik -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "Heavy Is The Head" Episode 403 -- Pictured: (l-r) Heather Headley as Gwen Garrett, Nate Santana as Jimmy Lanik -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med featured Heather Headley as Gwen Garrett in season 4, but should the hospital executive return in Chicago Med season 5?

As we conclude our look back at the latest Chicago Med season, it’s time to examine the fate of the season’s major recurring character. Should Gwen Garrett return for Chicago Med season 5, or is the series better off without her?

Gwen (Heather Headley) was introduced at the end of the third season, but became a prominent part of season 4 as the series stirred up more bureaucratic drama around the hospital.

She had been appointed as chief operating officer and it was her job to worry about the financial and public relations issues, which routinely caused her to butt heads with administrator Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson).

However, Cornelius Rhodes (recurring guest star D.W. Moffett) revealed that Gwen’s contract was set to expire, leaving her fate on the series up in the air.

More from One Chicago Center

So should she come back next season? Will she?

Based on her track record, Gwen Garrett doesn’t have a lot of redeeming qualities. She fired longtime Emergency Department boss Dr. Stanley Stohl (Eddie Jemison) and replaced him with her own choice, Dr. James Lanik (recurring guest star Nate Santana), just to spite Goodwin.

Watch One Chicago on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

She also strove to keep Pat Halstead (Louis Herthum) on life support when he was clearly beyond recovery—just to keep the hospital’s numbers looking good. Adding insult to injury, she hid that diabolical intent under pretending like she cared about Pat and his family.

Gwen’s role also slowly shrunk in the back half of Chicago Med season 4; she appeared less and less, and when she did pop up it was usually only for a scene or two. Whatever the writers had in mind for her, it seemed like they’d forgotten it by midseason.

When you add those things together, it seems like a no-brainer that the character needs to be cut immediately. But it’s surprisingly not that simple. Heather Headley is a Tony Award winner and an outstanding actress—her presence is a huge get for the show. There would be value in having the character stay just to keep Headley’s talent in the One Chicago universe, especially since the show has just dropped three main cast members in one season.

Plus, it’s clear that the biggest problem with Gwen is the writing. If she had been fully fleshed out as a three-dimensional counterpoint to Goodwin, and not written as just another antagonist who purely causes trouble, she could be a great character. Chicago Med hasn’t dug too much into the business side of the hospital except to lament its financial problems, and Gwen being around is an easy way to crack that.

Unfortunately, the things she did in season 4 are the kind of things that a character doesn’t find their way back from. The whole issue with Pat Halstead put her immediately on fans’ hate list, not to mention Will (Nick Gehlfuss). Another issue is that Headley has moved on to a new project.

Given that it’s probably best to drop the character and say her contract wasn’t renewed. She’s not easily redeemed, she wasn’t being used that much by the end of the season, and Heather Headley deserves a bigger role elsewhere. One Chicago fans will just have to reflect on what could’ve been.

Next. Who's returning to Chicago Med?. dark

For the latest Chicago Med season 5 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Med category at One Chicago Center.