Dr. Mitch Ripley (Luke Mitchell) has some big shoes to fill. He's coming in as a replacement for Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), who was not only respected among the staff of Gaffney Medical Center, but served as the default protagonist of Chicago Med for nearly a decade.
Ripley isn't going to become the de facto protagonist of the show, but all signs seem to point to him playing a major role in the show's future. NBC has released the first batch of promo photos to include the character, and it appears as though he's already drawn the ire of a Gaffney veteran.
There are several photos that depict Ripley and Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber) treating the same patient, and in each of them, the two men appear to be at each other's throats. Now, admittedly, Dr. Archer is not the easiest character to get along with, especially when it comes to collaborating with others in the field.
Ripley and Archer bump heads while treating a patient
He's bumped heads with nearly every one of the show's doctors, including the man who he previously worked with in the Navy, Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee). He calls it like he sees it, so it doesn't come as a surprise that he would be skeptical of the new hotshot doctor coming in.
What will be interesting to see is how Mitchell and Archer's relationship develops over the course of the show. Mitchell is an unknown commodity, so he is going to have to win the fans over.
Archer is a grump, for sure, but he's also been around for so long that he's become a beloved grump, and the doctors he was critical of in the past have become some of his closest confidantes (Hannah Asher, in particular).
Ripley has to prove himself at Gaffney Medical Center
Steven Weber actually talked about the progression of his character during an interview with CBR:
""The character has found more growth and more complexity that goes beyond a stock character [of] the irascible doctor. He's not a grouchy son of a b**ch. He's a caring, interesting, dark but compassionate player in this ensemble of personalities. [He] absolutely evolves in a way that I think the audience will find very interesting.""
Ripley's desire to prove himself, coupled with Archer's skepticism of anyone who's new to Gaffney, will make for a pretty compelling season 9 premiere, and we're curious to see how they resolve their differences.