What’s next for Chicago Med after Yaya DaCosta, Torrey DeVitto exits?

CHICAGO MED -- "Fathers and Mothers, Daughters and Sons" Episode 608 -- Pictured: Yaya DaCosta as April Sexton -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "Fathers and Mothers, Daughters and Sons" Episode 608 -- Pictured: Yaya DaCosta as April Sexton -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Med is about to lose two more stars, as Torrey DeVitto and Yaya DaCosta opted not to renew their contracts with the NBC series and will not be returning next season.

Their departures aren’t that surprising; it’s common in TV for cast members’ contracts to come due after six seasons, at which point actors choose whether to re-sign or leave. One Chicago fans have already seen similar with Monica Raymund, who opted to leave Chicago Fire after that show’s sixth season.

And DaCosta and DeVitto’s characters’ storylines have been pointing toward the door—April Sexton is looking to advance her career, while Dr. Natalie Manning is facing potential charges for stealing medication to treat her sick mother.

But what makes these cast changes different from before is the position that they’ll leave the show in when season 7 begins this fall.

More from April Sexton

The fact that both Yaya DaCosta and Torrey DeVitto are leaving at the same time creates a major question of who is Chicago Med‘s female lead?

It was Natalie in the first few seasons, and then April rose to prominence more recently. With the two of them gone, the only female series regulars are a pair of characters who have always been more supporting; Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) and Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson). Because of the way they’ve been written in the past, and the jobs that they have, it’s not easy to just bump one or both up to that leading position.

Goodwin is the hospital administrator, so logistically she’s not going to be on the Emergency Department floor every week, getting involved in cases. While Maggie is working in the ED, she’s the charge nurse; she can work on cases but she, too, has to do things other than the meat of what the show is about.

It’s highly unlikely Chicago Med would go on without a female doctor in the main cast. Will producers cast a new female surgeon in the offseason, or introduce one in the upcoming season finale, the way they did when bringing Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) aboard?

Aside from the casting issue, the changeover leaves Chicago Med with a plot problem, too. More than either of the other two One Chicago series, ships are a huge part of this show. With both April and Natalie gone, Chicago Med will not have a primary ship—or any of them, really.

Though April and Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) haven’t been a couple in a while, the writers never quite shut the door on Chexton. Likewise, anyone hoping for a Manstead reunion will be crushed, and Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) is about to be single again.

Yes, Maggie and Goodwin both have partners, but there’s a big difference in a pairing where one character is recurring and only pops up once in a while—as Ben and Bert do—and a ship between two main characters that is a regular part of the show, something that fans can rally around and the network can promote.

On another series this probably wouldn’t be a huge deal, but Med has dived so deeply into the personal lives of its characters that it’s going to have to figure out where the next personal story comes from. Presumably, the new addition will eventually be paired off with somebody. But it’s going to be like starting from scratch in that department.

All that being said, change is not necessarily a bad thing. Both Natalie and April had become polarizing characters with some of the choices they’d made over the last few seasons, especially in the current season 6.

Natalie should have been fired after she and Crockett performed an illegal surgery; instead, they didn’t even get suspended. She routinely breaks the rules when it suits her; even going back to the fourth season, she had some head-scratching storylines. April’s done some questionable stuff as well, like using her personal relationship with Choi to get him to go easier on her brother Noah.

Some viewers have brought up how Chicago Med has let characters get away with a lot; writing out the two characters most likely to break the rules could help address that belief, and allow the writers’ room to bring in characters with different points of view.

Torrey DeVitto and Yaya DaCosta have already lined up their next projects, and they’ll get to go on and try new things. Maybe, like Monica Raymund, we’ll see them appear again later on. Their final two episodes air over the next two weeks, and then there will be some big decisions to make about Chicago Med season 7.

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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.