S. Epatha Merkerson warns 'it’s gonna be a fight' for Goodwin as she comes to terms with her ex's memory struggles

Chicago Med's S. Epatha Merkerson sits down with One Chicago Center to preview the journey that awaits Goodwin in wake of Bert's return and his memory issues which she teases will not be an easy road for Goodwin to navigate.

CHICAGO MED -- "I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You" Episode 9005 -- Pictured: S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin -- (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)
CHICAGO MED -- "I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You" Episode 9005 -- Pictured: S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin -- (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC) /

Things have been looking up for Dr. Sharon Goodwin in the early episodes of Chicago Med's latest season with Goodwin embracing her second chance at love. Her relationship with fellow doctor, Denis Washington, has been progressing in the right direction which is when life decided to throw a curveball in Goodwin's direction in the form of her ex-husband, Bert.

In the show's Feb. 7 episode, "These Are Not the Droids You Are Looking For," Goodwin's grandson was brought into the ED and we learned that Bert had fallen on the child, injuring his leg in the process. Over the course of the episode, we saw hints that something more was going on with Bert as his memory seemed to be failing him and by the episode's end those concerns were confirmed when Goodwin and Bert's daughter Tara discovered a heartbreaking moment on her nanny cam.

The video Tara shared with her mom as the episode came to a close saw Bert lost and confused as to where he was and how to leave the room. It was made clear that something is going on with Bert's memory and it's not just his usual forgetfulness as Goodwin initially assumed. Clearly, something is going on with Bert, and tonight's new episode, "I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You," will see Goodwin seeking answers as Bert is evaluated.

The moment marks the first step in what promises to be a rough journey ahead for Goodwin as she attempts to be there for her children and her ex-husband, all while still juggling her new relationship with Denis and running the hospital. It's a journey that will not be easy for Goodwin as star S. Epatha Merkerson warned when One Chicago Center caught up with her to get the inside scoop on Goodwin's current storyline including how Bert's memory issues will challenge Goodwin in a way we've rarely seen during the span of the show's nine seasons!

One Chicago Center: In episode 4, we saw Sharon’s ex-husband Bert come through the ER at Med after taking a fall and over the course of the episode we saw hints that something else was going on with his memory. Sharon’s initial reaction was so truly authentic to the experience many in this position have had of not seeing the warning signs at first or brushing them off as we saw Sharon do across the episode.

Now that Sharon has come to the realization that something more is going on with Bert’s memories, can you walk me through how she’s processing the reality of the situation? 

First of all, her focus will be on her children and that’s what really brought this whole thing on.

It's her concern for her daughter and her daughter’s worry about her father, that's gonna make her step back and say, “Ok, all right. As much as I don't wanna do this because I've got a new life here. I am going to deal with this because this concerns my child.”

So I think that's really where her focus is first and then to move forward with it and knowing that Bert can sometimes be pretty irascible, she will call in the friend that she has known for over 40 years that knows her ex-husband as well. So she'll call him in as well for support and, and for help.

But I think first and foremost, the thing that is pushing a Goodwin forward into this is what she's seeing and what she's hearing from her children.

Chicago Med - Season 9
CHICAGO MED -- "I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You" Episode 9005 -- Pictured: (l-r) Oliver Platt as Dr. Daniel Charles, S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin -- (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC) /

One Chicago Center: As you just alluded to, as part of the next steps, Sharon brings in Dr. Charles to assist with evaluating Bert’s memory, and as the promo for the episode teased Bert’s quick to lash out at her which is something many in this situation experience. How can we expect Sharon to navigate the process? 

There's the problem of being in this situation where her life is experiencing love, where she is in this place where she really wants to be and she keeps getting pulled back into Bert’s life.

It's gonna be frustrating. But ultimately, again, she has to think of her children and this is the father of her children. And so you might want to abandon him, but I don't know if she can.

One Chicago Center: Bert’s diagnosis indeed comes at a time when Sharon is in a really great place romantically with her current boyfriend Dennis. I imagine the situation with Bert might put a strain on their relationship. 

At this point, I found that she is apologizing to Dennis for moments [she and Bert share.] Like he caught them holding hands at one moment and she doesn't know how to handle it.

It's [one of the few times] where she does not know how to handle the situation. Here's a man that she's really falling for and in the midst of all of this, which is lovely and good for her, she has to deal with the fact that there's something going on with Bert. 

It’s gonna be a fight for her [to figure out] how to deal with her family and then keep this man in her life that right now she really wants. I think it's one of those few times where you get to see her not have all the answers. And that's, that's a good place for, for Goodwin to be as well.

Let folks know that her heart is in this relationship with Denis Washington, but her heart, mind, and body have to be with her family, with her children. Hopefully, Denis Washington will understand that.

Chicago Med - Season 9
CHICAGO MED -- "I Make a Promise, I Will Never Leave You" Episode 9005 -- Pictured: (l-r) Greg Alan Williams as Bert Goodwin, S. Epatha Merkerson as Sharon Goodwin -- (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC) /

One Chicago Center: Is it safe to assume we’ll get to see Goodwin leaning on her Med family for support through this process?

Well, I would definitely say, Daniel Charles because this is a friendship that we all know now has lasted some 40 years. Outside of their working relationship and their friendship, Daniel and Bert also have a separate relationship.

When you think of your old friends, the people that know you through everything, that's who Daniel Charles is to Sharon and that's who Sharon is to Daniel Charles. He will definitely be there. 

I think that it is important for their friendship, that she calls on Daniel for help. She needs someone that can from the outside, look in and know what they're dealing with. She will always depend on Daniel Charles. 

One Chicago Center: Of course, the ongoing storyline with Bert is at the heart of Sharon’s current storyline but she’s also overseeing a hospital where there is never a quiet moment. How will Sharon balance her work and personal lives in the episodes ahead, and what challenges might be awaiting her, especially at this time when the lines between her work and personal lives are blurring together? 

I think that's the good part of the story, that we see she can break a little, she can have moments where she's not on top of it. I think that's important in terms of our character structure and character growth for Sharon Goodwin.

It'll be interesting to see Sharon Goodwin not have an answer for everything. I think that'll be refreshing for me as well as for our viewers. She has her moments and her moments now are dealing with an ex-husband and the issues with this ex-husband and then a new life that is in front of her that she's not quite sure she can get there because of what's going on with her ex.

That's stuff to play that. That's, that makes the character really interesting to me.

Don't miss new episodes of Chicago Med Wednesdays at 8/7c on NBC and streaming next day on Peacock!