Does Chicago Med miss Rachel DiPillo as Dr. Sarah Reese?
Rachel DiPillo was the first Chicago Med series regular to disappear from the show. For three seasons, she played med student turned psych resident Dr. Sarah Reese—and then in the season 4 premiere, Reese abruptly left for Texas.
She’s never been seen and barely been mentioned since.
And while fans are still talking about what happened to Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) and Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling), Sarah Reese seems to have largely faded away. The whole situation is, and always was, a little bit strange.
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Reese wasn’t the most dynamic character; it always seemed like she had no idea what to do with her life, probably because the show didn’t quite know what to do with her. She went from med student to coffee shop barista to psych resident in three seasons, and only hit her stride with the latter.
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She was supposed to be the audience’s proxy into the world of Chicago Med, since she was new to the hospital, but that got lost as stronger personalities like Connor and Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) held viewers’ attention instead.
It’s hard to deduce if she wasn’t clicking on the series and so the producers wrote her out, or if she wasn’t clicking because no one knew exactly what to do with her.
Yet what’s become abundantly clear over Chicago Med season 5—the first complete season without her—is that Reese did have a part to play on the show. She served as a valuable partner and foil to Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt), and without her there, his character hasn’t been the same.
Getting rid of Reese also meant getting rid of the dedicated psych storylines in every episode. Instead of Charles and Reese working together on their own case, now the show is wrangling mental health angles into other plotlines and having Charles piggyback off those cases. One such example is in the episode being re-aired tonight, “Pain Is For The Living.”
While it’s been interesting to see Charles interacting with different characters, it’s hard not to see him as a third wheel, getting called for a consult and then waiting for the next one. Cases don’t feel like his anymore; even when the psych element is more prominent, it’s still psych and something else involved.
Even as the focus shifted to more of Charles’ personal life, Reese would have been useful. She could have supported him through the death of his wife Caroline (Paula Newsome) and helped him with his parenting issues. After all, his daughter was a young woman feeling estranged from her dad—like Reese was a young woman who didn’t even know her dad for a while.
But what happened to her was, in a way, a precursor to what happened with Connor and Ava. Her storyline took a hard right when her dad (a love-to-hate-him Michael Gill of Mr. Robot fame) was suspected of being a serial killer. It felt completely jarring, and then just like Connor did a season later, Reese was leaving the hospital to get away.
Adding to the confusion was that it was never made clear if this exit was the producers’ idea, or if Rachel DiPillo wanted to leave the show. Two years later the best we have is this statement from the producers, while DiPillo doesn’t have an IMDB credit since, making the situation even more vague.
So Reese has become a non-entity in the Chicago Med world. Aside from Charles briefly getting angry about her leaving, she’s been forgotten about. None of the other characters have brought her up. She wasn’t in attendance at any of the weddings that have happened on the show since, which you’d think she would be if she was still considered part of the hospital “family.” And Elsa Curry (recurring guest star Molly Bernard) might be developing into Charles’ new foil.
Sarah Reese wasn’t Chicago Med‘s most important character or its most compelling. But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that she deserved a little more—and that she’s definitely missed.
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.