'Chicago Med' season 5: How will NBC plot Dr Connor Rhodes and Dr Ava Bekker's departure from Gaffney following actors' exit?

Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling were announced to be leaving the medical drama following a shocking reveal in the season 4 finale. Donnell and Kuhling will be returning for the season 5 premiere to wrap up their characters' storylines.


                            'Chicago Med' season 5: How will NBC plot Dr Connor Rhodes and Dr Ava Bekker's departure from Gaffney following actors' exit?

Actors Colin Donnell and Norma Kuhling who played Dr. Connor Rhodes and Dr. Ava Bekker respectively are set to leave NBC's 'Chicago Med' following season 5 premiere.

Donnell joined the medical drama in season 1 as a cardiothoracic and trauma surgeon while Kuhling was added in the recurring role of Dr. Bekker -- also a cardiothoracic surgeon -- in season 2 and was later promoted as series regular. Deadline reported that the actors were leaving due to "creative reasons related to the characters’ story evolution".

Rhodes and Bekker had an on-and-off relationship throughout their time at the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. However, this ended when Connor was convinced in the Season 4 finale that Ava was responsible for his father's death. Season 4 saw Ava turn from an assertive character to a manipulative woman willing to do anything to keep dating Connor. Accusations began piling up on Ava through the season -- that she seduced Connor's father to secure funding for the hybrid operating room,  she intentionally cut herself to get Connor's sympathy, faked a kidnapping to prevent Connor from getting close to his ex-girlfriend Robin (Mekia Cox) and finally, the explosive revelation that she intentionally overdosed Connor's father to win Connor back.

When Season 4 began, Connor was set to leave the hospital for a more prestigious job, only to decide that he will continue on in Gaffney to head the hybrid OR. While the season did see him perform impressive surgeries, the majority of Connor's storylines revolved around his relationship and troubles with Ava. The season ended with Ava leaving the hospital in anger as she realized Connor would not get back with her following him realising her role in his father's death.

The abrupt end followed by the news of the actors' exit left fans disappointed as they wanted Connor and Ava's stories to have a proper ending. Later, it was announced that both Donnell and Kuhling would return in the season 5 premiere to wrap up their characters' storylines.

Behind the scenes of NBC's Chicago Med Season 5 with Norma Kuhling as Dr. Ava Bekker. Credit: Norma Kuhling

In a photo shared on Instagram by Kuhling while shooting the season 5 premiere, she is seen in scrubs. Donnell also shared a BTS picture while in scrubs. Could this mean that we see Ava and Connor perform surgery one last time together? Or will Connor be working separately from Ava but eventually have a showdown prompting him to make a decision that would see him leaving Gaffney?

Connor could be finally taking up the prestigious job at Mayo Hospital that he passed on the previous year in an effort to distance himself from Ava. As for his knowledge and suspicions of Ava's supposed crimes, would he use them to make Ava pay and perhaps lead to her arrest? In season 4, if Ava was indeed doing everything she was suspected of, she was able to get away with everything. In season 5, we might see Connor pretending to stay close to Ava in order to get her to confess and report her to the authorities.

Behind the scenes of NBC's Chicago Med Season 5 with Colin Donnell as Dr. Connor Rhodes. Credit: Colin Donnell

'Chicago Med' will have to deal with Gaffney's Cardiothoracic department's sever lack of cardiothoracic surgeons following Ava's and Connor's departures. Ato Essandoh's Dr. Isidore Latham might not make regular appearances following his signing on to other projects. While a new doctor is joining season 5, he is going to be an ED doctor. 

In whatever way 'Chicago Med' decides to bid farewell to one of the fans' favorite characters (Connor) and one of the most controversial characters (Ava), fans will be hoping for closure and the possibility of the actors returning for guest appearances in the future.

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