The nurse has become the patient this season on Chicago Med as Maggie Lockwood faces a challenging breast cancer diagnosis. And the toughest part of her treatment is still ahead, which means it might be time for Maggie to confide in her colleagues about what she’s going through.
Below, actress Marlyne Barrett talks about the responsibility that comes with portraying Maggie’s health crisis, and its emotional and physical toll on the Emergency Department nurse.
TVLINE | What did it mean to you when you found out that Maggie was going to be going through this really important but scary storyline with her cancer diagnosis?
[I thought], “Wow, I have a lot of research to do.” Breast cancer is not an easy subject. Cancer, in itself, is not an easy subject. When you think about the totality of society that’s at least going to be exposed to it, meet someone who went through it or will have it themselves, that’s humanity, in general. No matter what language you speak, no matter what race you are, what class you are, it’s like a commonality. So researching that and understanding what the writers were going to write… that process became my focus, my most specific focus.
TVLINE | How is it going to impact Maggie at work in the upcoming episodes?
Well, first, she has to deal with the aspect that she doesn’t want to share it, and that’s something that happens to everyone. As soon as they hear the word “The Big C,” it becomes this private thing that you don’t want anyone to know about. You feel, like, contaminated. So Maggie has to deal with all that, and then choose to let people that she loves touch her life. And that is big for someone who’s always in the position of helping.
TVLINE | Is she going to consider confiding in anybody else besides Goodwin?
She has no choice. The ED is a place of excellence. And, eventually, chemo does physically get to you.
TVLINE | Rumors start circulating about Maggie this week. How does that affect her, to have people talking about her?
She gets irritated. She likes squashing rumors. She doesn’t like to be the rumor, let alone the rumor to be true. So that’s a triple banger that is hard for her to take.
TVLINE | What’s the physical toll like for her this season?
As soon as you go through chemotherapy, there’s an instant menopausal [reaction], there’s an instant affliction that happens to the body. So her body’s not obeying her anymore, and that’s a shock to any woman. Her reproductive system, everything, starts freaking out. And this what I love about Wolf Entertainment, and about [showrunners] Andy [Schneider] and Diane [Frolov], is that they take the time to write something that’s so realistic that when you’re living it, when they yell, “Cut!” I have to take a step back, because the humanity is just so rich.
Chicago Med airs Wednesday at 8/7c on NBC.