For seven seasons, the hit NBC drama “Chicago Med” has won our hearts on screen.  The captivating series set to the backdrop of a state of the art trauma center, pulls on our heartstrings each week with interesting, gritty, and trending plots and twists.  The series as a whole grows with each season and only gets better with time.  Viewers embark on an emotional thrill ride each week.  During these unprecedented times it is encouraging to have a great feel good television show to indulge in from the comfort of our homes.  It is also empowering to see courageous doctors, nurses, clinicians and first responders on screen battling for the good of our television community.

The incredible casting on Chicago Med also aids to the show credit.  Each week we intertwine with the on screen cast as if we know them personally.  The cast portrays realistic art on our television screens that keep us wanting more with each new episode.  S. Epatha Merkerson is one of the amazing cast members on the long running show.  She effortlessly portrays the role of Sharon Goodwin as the lead of the Chicago Med hospital team.  We’ve also seen S. Epatha Merkerson in the hit NBC series of Law and Order; and also Lackawanna Blues. So it’s no surprise that her talent is now seen on Chicago Med.

photo by Nino Munoz/NBC

I had the pleasure of speaking with S. Epatha Merkerson about the 7th season of Chicago Med, her amazing career, self-care and beyond.  Her persona was just as gracious virtually as it is on the television screen.  Her kind, genuine and outgoing spirit was a joy to witness.  Here are the details:

What can we expect from Sharon Goodwin this season?

The first thing that will happen is dealing with Will Halstead.  We ended last season with her (Sharon) firing him and also finding out that it was not Dr. Halstead who stole the trial meds.  So we’ll bring him back and see why he’ll be coming back.  She’s asked him to help with an investigation in the hospital that will unfold as the season rolls on.  Of course she’s sort of watching everything that’s going on in the hospital and she’s dealing with health issues while leading the hospital administration.

How has your acting career pivoted since COVID?

We all have to be a little more observant of our activities and how we are playing out our lives.  We were able to come on set to handle the protocols.  Basically I keep to myself.  I have a 95 year old mother that I like to visit.  I’m just being careful.  I love the people that I work with and it’s important to me to come to them healthy, vaccinated and more.

How do you manage acting on a show that shares real life health concerns in our current climate?

It’s important that we have shows like this that bring up issues that people deal with.  Some are amazing and unknown conditions but there are also those opportunities for people to see themselves reflected on the screen.  The reason why I love working with Dick Wolf is because you sit down and learn something while being entertained.  I love the one night, one family, one Chicago series all verge on telling stories about what’s happening in the world.  A lot of people get their news from television so we want to make sure that we are telling them properly.

Who are your top 3 favorite actors or actresses of all time?

I would say Rubie Dee and Ossie Davis.  They were also personal friends.  I got to know them as human beings and not just actors.  They were huge role models for me.  Then I would have to say Betty Davis.  I love watching Betty Davis.  But there are certainly more. I love Alfred Woodard, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and so many contemporary actors that I love to watch as well.

What are your favorite things to do to practice self-care?

I’m a diabetic so I have to be very careful about how I eat.  I’ve never been a kitchen person ever up until the last couple of years.  I was recently telling my mother, “You won’t believe what I made today:  I slow cooked some oxtails and made me some kale and cornbread:”  She was like “what?”  I think the lockdown has allowed me to learn my kitchen and to cook for myself to do better in terms of what I eat to keep my A1C where it needs to be.  A lot of it has to do with just healthy eating for me.

How do you prepare for your acting roles?

I read the script over and over again.  I try to figure out the basics of who, what, when, where and why of the person.  I try to figure out what people are saying about the character.  The process of the rehearsal is a lot quicker on television than on stage.  On stage you have the opportunity to explore the character but on screen you have to do it a little quicker and even deal with vocabulary that you have to learn.  We have a medical expert there for us and a script person who helps us learn the medical terminology and breaks it down phonetically for us.  You get an idea of how you want the character to look and sound; and it all comes from the script.

You have a proven track record in Hollywood. What advice would you give to an actor/actress to have longevity in the industry?

It depends on what you want from it.  I wanted to be a working actor.  Now, you have the ability to do that.  It’s important for actors to read.  It allows you to create a visual.  The writer gives you the location but you can decide what it looks like.  You can put a face on that character. Reading is really important. It doesn’t matter what you read.  It can be a newspaper, magazine or even something online. It allows you to hold on to what your imagination can do.

What is your favorite positive affirmation to live by?

Always have a sense of humor.  Find humor in whatever it is.  Know your worth and always keep setting goals.  Once you reach one goal, always put another one out there.  Keep the energy moving forward.

What upcoming roles, special events or etc can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m working on little things that are in the beginning stages.  I’m always setting goals.  I also quilt.  My castmate just had a baby so I’m working on a quilt for the little one.  Those are the things that I do to keep myself busy when on set.  I usually go on stage but because of the pandemic that has changed.  To be apart of this show is really rewarding.  I work with some amazing actors.

“My Black Girl Magic will keep you on your toes,” says S. Epatha Merkerson and I couldn’t agree more.  Her life on screen and off screen is a blessing for us to witness.  She truly studies her craft to bring us amazing television thrills each week.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until season 7 airs on Wednesday, September 22 at 8pm ET.  I will continue to be tuned in to visually experience the art given on Chicago Med by S. Epatha Merkerson and her castmates.  Follow One Chicago on Instagram and also S. Epatha Merkerson.  Check your local listing for air times and more. Chicago Med is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Writer, C. Scott, is a mompreneur, social worker, educator and lover of all things literary related.  Follow her online as @curls_coils.