Chicago Med welcomes back Chicago Justice’s Carl Weathers as director

CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Friendly Fire" Episode 110 -- Pictured: Carl Weathers as Mark Jefferies -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC)
CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Friendly Fire" Episode 110 -- Pictured: Carl Weathers as Mark Jefferies -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC) /

The coolest part of tomorrow’s Chicago Med is behind the camera—because the episode is directed by Chicago Justice star and entertainment icon Carl Weathers.

One Chicago fans know Carl from playing State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies on Chicago Justice, a role that he also portrayed in episodes of Chicago PD, Chicago Fire and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Wednesday’s episode means that he’s now been involved with the entire One Chicago franchise, and is the first time that this talented actor-director has stepped behind the camera on a Chicago show. He spoke with One Chicago about his return to the Windy City in our exclusive interview!

More from Carl Weathers

One Chicago Center: This is the first time you’ve returned to One Chicago since the cancellation of Justice in 2017. How did you get to direct Chicago Med?

Carl Weathers: It’s something I’ve wanted to do…I stressed to [Wolf Entertainment] a while ago that I was really interested in directing, and obviously my representatives were expressing the exact same thing. So here we are a number of years later, and I guess I got an invitation as a result, and was really happy to receive it.

OCC: Did your experience on Justice help you in helming this episode of Med?

CW: Absolutely. Not only had I been on Justice, but I’d been on PD, I’d been on Fire, and I don’t think I’ve been on Med. But at any rate, just being around there and interacting with so many of the directors who had directed multiple episodes of series for the Wolf company, and of course my interest. When I watched those episodes, I was really looking at styles, and looking at what the directors who directed those episodes did, how it translated. I was able to pick up a lot.

OCC: How much does your perspective as an actor inform you as a director? We’ve seen other directors who act in the One Chicago franchise, including Mykelti Williamson who directed an episode of Chicago Med earlier this season.

CW: I think if I had to put a definition on it, it would be as a storyteller who is interested in translating not just the tone of the show, but the tone of that episode really well. That could be through the eyes of the characters, or through the eyes of you as the viewer, but certainly through the eyes of the writers of the scripts for the episodes, and for the show overall.

I don’t think you can avoid doing that in television, because unless you are the person who directs the pilot, you’re a guest. And you’re a guest on something that’s already been mapped out; it’s been illustrated. What is it about that that really worked for you, the director? And how can you get that then to work for those viewers that are going to be looking at this show, and seeing that it’s basically your translation of the work?

Chicago Med
CHICAGO MED — “Some Things Are Worth The Risk” Episode 612 — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tee as Ethan Choi, Hanako Greensmith as Violet — (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC) /

OCC: You got a rare Chicago Med episode that includes a subplot outside of the hospital with Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee), Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber) and some characters from Chicago Fire treating a patient in a semi-renovated house. How complicated was that to film?

CW: You would think it might be, but it never was for me, partly because I think there was enough room for all those bodies to move them around. We had enough really wonderful actors, and the DP [director of photography] knows the show so well that it just seemed to work out without a lot of difficulty. I was absolutely ecstatic about directing that episode, and quite frankly I don’t know that I could have had another episode that would have been any better, for me anyway.

OCC: Were there other highlights in the episode from your perspective?

CW: People just have to watch the entire episode, honestly. My attempts were to do things that made sense for the episode, and that also made sense for Med in the relationships that went on—from [Natalie’s] mother with her issues, to the episode within the house and that tragedy going on, all of it. All of the medical issues that were going on, as well as the personal relationships, whatever sexual tension that was there, all of that stuff made sense to me and I hope it makes sense for audiences.

OCC: This is the first time you’ve directed a medical drama since Strong Medicine back in 2001. What was it like to come back into the medical genre?

CW: It wasn’t that challenging, really. I don’t think any of the material is really challenging when you’re not trying to reveal something that people don’t know about medicine. And this show is so well orchestrated on paper that your job really, as a director, is to come in and to relay those things that are really about the human beings.

Medicine, or mechanics, or mind-reading doesn’t really make that much difference as long as the human stories are revealed. So I was very comfortable with it, and of course being back in Chicago gave me a lot of comfort as well. I like the city.

Chicago Justice
CHICAGO JUSTICE — “Drill” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Carl Weathers as Mark Jefferies, Philip Winchester as Peter Stone — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

OCC: We know from your guest spot on Law & Order: SVU in 2018 that Mark Jefferies is still the State’s Attorney in Chicago. Do you miss your Chicago Justice character?

CW: I think we miss all of those characters. I think that series had a lot more promise than was allowed, and for whatever reason, the decision was made to jettison it, so to speak. But it’s a part of the business we’re in. Everything that is created, everything that’s put out cannot survive, or cannot thrive. And so at the end of it all I think we all just said, “Okay, next.” Not saying it in a cavalier way, but we know that you’re very fortunate if something lasts more than one season into a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth season. I think we all just moved on from there and said, “Okay, let’s continue.”

OCC: One Chicago viewers who know you from Justice might not realize you’ve been directing for decades. So after Chicago Med, what’s the next Carl Weathers directing project that people should check out?

CW: There were a number of episodes of different shows at different points of my directing career. Back in the ’90s, and then there’s stuff in the 2000s, and then there’s more recent stuff. All somebody has to do is look on IMDB, and they can see everything I’ve directed…And here I am currently directing a block of The Last O.G. So far that’s been a lot of fun, and a good group of people.

dark. Next. Could Chicago Justice be revived on Peacock?

For the latest Chicago Med season 6 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Med category at One Chicago Center.