Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Wednesday’s Chicago Med. Proceed at your own risk!
Dr. Connor Rhodes said goodbye to Chicago Med during Wednesday’s Season 5 premiere — but not before another shocker, courtesy of his ex-girlfriend Ava (Norma Kuhling). Realizing that it was only a matter of time before the truth would come out about her killing Connor’s father, Ava had a breakdown. After reiterating to Connor that she did it for them, she took a scalpel and slit her own throat! Despite a valiant effort, Connor was unable to save her life and decided he need a fresh start somewhere that he wouldn’t always be tied to this tragedy.
With that, Connor and his portrayer Colin Donnell bid adieu to the hospital — but the door remains open for the doc to make a return visit, showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov reveal below. The pair also explain why Ava had to die and discuss the possibility of a “happily ever after” for Connor and Robin.
TVLINE | What kind of conversations did you have with Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling about their character exits, and how things were going to go?
ANDREW SCHNEIDER | Well, we told both of them that we wanted to give a real dramatic and emotionally satisfying ending to their story.
DIANE FROLOV | And they were both very satisfied. Norma had a lot of fun with that last episode.
SCHNEIDER | [She was] going for it. They’re both terrific actors, and you know, the door is still open for Connor’s character. He’s alive.
FROLOV | And everybody loves working with him.
SCHNEIDER | But they were both really game to jump in and resolve their stories in that way.
TVLINE | Ava’s story wrapped up very unexpectedly. Why did you decide to give her such a tragic ending?
FROLOV | We wanted to really give her story closure, absolutely slam the door. And it allowed her to take a final revenge on [Connor], and also gave him a big reason to leave. So those two things came together in that decision.
TVLINE | When we first met Ava, she seemed pretty stable and healthy. What would you say was the turning point for her?
SCHNEIDER | As she became increasingly obsessed with Connor, it brought up all her emotional issues, which were buried, but they’re there.
FROLOV | And so this sparked them, and she has a personality disorder where everything really, really revolves around her, and her wants, and her desire to get the things that she wants.
SCHNEIDER | Doesn’t mean she isn’t a great surgeon. But what it actually was sparked by [was], we’ve heard stories about really great surgeons who have terrible psychological problems.
TVLINE | Did you ever consider any other scenarios for Connor and Ava, for the conclusion?
FROLOV | As soon as we started going down the road that she slept with his father, we knew that there would be no happy ending to this.
SCHNEIDER | It had a kind of inevitability about it, that it would end badly.
TVLINE | And did you consider any other particular scenarios for this episode, for how they would say farewell?
FROLOV | We debated if she was going to survive the suicide and be arrested, but it didn’t seem as satisfying to us.
SCHNEIDER | Or to impact Connor. We really wanted people to understand why he was leaving, and we felt that by having her die, despite all of his efforts in the OR, it would really help that motivation.
FROLOV | But having her live was a possibility.
TVLINE | Where did Connor go? Are we going to get an update on where exactly he landed?
FROLOV | Well, you know, we kind of feel that he took that offer at the Mayo Clinic.
SCHNEIDER | He’s not far away.
TVLINE | Some fans were still holding out hope that he and Robin would get back together. Was there ever a chance that the two of them would reunite and go off on their own?
SCHNEIDER | They’re still young. They have their whole future ahead.
FROLOV | [Laughs] We never closed the door on that, but as far as on our show, as a storyline, obviously, that isn’t going to happen.
SCHNEIDER | But we do bring Robin back this season.
TVLINE | Connor got two really lovely goodbyes with Dr. Latham and Goodwin. How did you choose which characters would be the ones that would kind of send him off?
SCHNEIDER | They were the characters that he had sort of the most profound relationships with. Latham was his teacher and his mentor.
FROLOV | And he was a great friend to Latham.
SCHNEIDER | There was a very deep friendship there, even though Latham was not the best at expressing his emotions. They really kind of loved each other.
FROLOV | And Goodwin was the one that defended him, that brought him on. So again, we felt that he would say goodbye to her, [and] she would say goodbye to him.
SCHNEIDER | They were both, in a sense, his bosses, and he kind of owed them both, for professional and personal reasons, a farewell.
TVLINE | Was there ever a scene between Connor and Will that addressed him leaving?
SCHNEIDER | Will, at that point, is so wrapped up in his feelings about Natalie, it was hard to construct it. But they did have this very heartfelt scene up on the roof before Connor makes that decision.
FROLOV | And there’s this moment where Will says, “I just want to get out of here,” and [Connor] says, “I know how you feel,” and the subtext was he was feeling the same way.
TVLINE | Does what happened with Ava cause complications for the hospital?
SCHNEIDER | We’re not going to deal with that. The next episode jumps ahead six weeks. So there’s been kind of a big reset at that point.
Med fans, what did you think of the season premiere? Grade it below, then hit the comments!