Are Chicago Med’s episode titles trying to tell us anything?

CHICAGO MED -- Pictured: "Chicago Med" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- Pictured: "Chicago Med" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC) /

What do Chicago Med’s episode titles mean? As we wait for season 5 to start again, we take a closer look at that title trend you’ve probably noticed.

If you’ve been watching Chicago Med for more than one season, you’ve likely noticed something different about the show’s episode titles. But is it just a quirk or are One Chicago fans supposed to read something into them?

Every episode has the same number of words in its title as the season that it’s in. For example, all of the installments in the current Chicago Med season 5 have five-word titles, such as “Too Close to the Sun” and “I Can’t Imagine the Future.”

This is something that’s been going on since the show began. All of the season 1 episodes only had one-word titles, while season 2’s episodes used two-word names, and so on.

It could just be a neat thing that showrunners Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider decided to do, or it could have some significance about the future of the show.

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CBS‘s critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife used the same device, and they did it for a very specific reason—because their co-creators Robert and Michelle King had a plan to end the show at seven seasons.

So the episode titles went up in number of words for the first four seasons, and then back down again, so that the final season returned to just using one-word titles.

Is that what’s happening on Chicago Med? There’s no official word one way or the other, but it’s not unreasonable. This isn’t something that Schneider and Frolov have done on any of their other TV shows, so there has to be a reason they’ve chosen to do it here.

None of the other One Chicago series have used the concept, so it’s not in keeping with any kind of branding, either. Chicago Fire also has an episode title device, but that’s different; every title there comes out of a line of dialogue spoken in that episode.

That being said, it’s also possible this is just a creative decision on their part. If that’s the case (and even if it isn’t) one figures that it has to end sooner rather than later. This season’s episode titles are already getting unwieldy, with clunky ones like “It’s All in the Family” or ones that don’t quite fit such as “In the Valley of the Shadows.”

If Chicago Med goes on to a sixth season, which it should given this season’s strong ratings, how much longer and more of a mouthful will the titles become? Could you imagine if the show was in season 9 and they were trying to come up with nine-word titles? We’re reaching the point where this device isn’t really practical anymore.

We’ll have to wait until next season to see if the titles continue to get longer, or if they start being shorter. Until then, the purpose behind the episode titles—if there is one—will remain a mystery.

Next. Chicago Med season 5's most shocking moments. dark

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