Chicago Med season 5, episode 17 recap: The Ghosts Of The Past

CHICAGO MED -- "The Ghosts Of The Past" Episode 517 -- Pictured: Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Halstead -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "The Ghosts Of The Past" Episode 517 -- Pictured: Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Halstead -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /
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Chicago Med
CHICAGO MED — “The Ghosts Of The Past” Episode 517 — Pictured: Oliver Platt as Daniel Charles — (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Natalie and Charles

Charles crosses paths with his other ex-wife Susan (Jill Abramovitz from Beetlejuice on Broadway). It’s not a happy reunion; their 13-year-old daughter Anna has gotten into vaping, and Susan blames Daniel “for neglecting her” since Susan moved back to Chicago from Milwaukee about a year ago. You’d think that such a thing would have been big enough to mention on the show when it happened.

Charles points out that CeCe died, and Susan has about as much sympathy as a brick wall. So Charles trudges into the house and tells his petulant daughter that she’s coming to the hospital so that he can keep an eye on her. He leaves her in his office and goes to consult on Natalie’s case, which Dr. Linda Strauss (guest star Anna Belknap) thinks is a case of “medical child abuse.”

(For those keeping score at home, this means that this is the second week in a row that a CSI: NY star has been on Chicago Med. It’s funnier because the characters played by Belknap and Carmine Giovinazzo on that show were married, too.)

Natalie isn’t convinced, but has to play dumb with Mindy’s mother, who insists that something is wrong. While she does that, Charles discovers that his daughter (guest star Hannah Allgood) has gone through his desk. He locks his bottle of alcohol in a filing cabinet and then starts lecturing her about the dangers of vaping…but doesn’t actually finish. Way to go, Daniel.

Back on the case, the ever-growing team calls in Dr. Samuel Abrams (recurring guest star Brennan Brown) whose opinion seems to back up Dr. Strauss’s theory, so Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) decides to call in the Department of Children and Family Services. While doing this, the group gets Mindy’s mom’s permission to take her off oxygen, and lo and behold it’s perfectly fine for Mindy to breathe on her own.

That’s the cue for Charles to ask mom to step outside, and ask if she’s ever heard of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is the same much-publicized condition depicted in Hulu’s Emmy Award-winning miniseries The Act. Mom goes on the offensive immediately, and insists that the hospital is not taking her child, just as Anna has decided to wander out from dad’s office. She also thinks it would be a good idea to interrupt, and is next seen crying because she thinks that the state might separate them “because you haven’t been a very good dad.”

The logic is pretty flawed, but the guilt trip works and Charles apologizes to Anna with a promise to do better in the future. He then returns to console Natalie and talk to Mindy’s mom, but then tells Strauss that he no longer agrees with the idea of calling DCFS. He thinks mom actually has a form of post-traumatic stress “from the experience of giving birth to an extremely premature baby” and that’s just made her overprotective. And Natalie and Goodwin back him up on this! So Strauss leaves in disgust.