Chicago Med storyline paid tribute to actor John Ritter

John Ritter (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage)
John Ritter (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage) /

Chicago Med has emulated lots of cases from the real world. There’s no shortage of unique cases and illnesses that have been reported, and one of the most high-profile when it comes to TV is the untimely death of actor John Ritter.

Ritter, the star of Three’s Company and 8 Simple Rules, died as a result of an undetected flaw in his heart called an aortic dissection. It’s a rare condition, occurring in only three out of 100,000 people per year, but it’s something  that was at the forefront of a recent Med episode.

Chicago Med aortic dissection story

It may seem odd that the show would reference Ritter as a narrative inspiration, given that the actor has nothing to do with the show, but it was something that came about through Med star Steven Weber, who was close friends with Ritter.

Weber told TV Insider that the writing team came up with a way to highlight the dangers of aortic dissection that was both engaging and information.

"“I think they handle the particular storyline and the particular issue with care and with specificity, and it’s that care and specificity that made my ears prick up”, Weber explained. “In regards to the John Ritter Foundation, it actually kind of wrote itself.”"

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The actor also mentioned the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, which was founded by Ritter’s widow, Amy Yasbeck, following his death. He felt happy about using his platform on Med to highlight such a good cause.

"“They tried and they succeeded and I couldn’t be happier. And Amy is ecstatic”, he added. “[I hope] people came away with not only being moved by the story, but informed about something that is actually incredibly widespread and not that well known.”"

Anybody who watched the episode could see that his character, Dr. Dean Archer, was his typically indifferent self. It made for an interesting juxtaposition, especially when you consider how much it all meant to Weber and his relationship with his late friend.

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