Chicago Med Director Opens Up About The 'Definitely Different' Surgery On The Way For Archer, Plus Meeting The Cast

Steven Weber as Dean Archer in Chicago Med Season 8
(Image credit: NBC)

The end of Chicago Med Season 8 is quickly approaching, but NBC’s hit medical drama still has plenty in store before heading into summer hiatus of the 2023 TV schedule. In the new episode on May 10, called “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow,” Maggie will be at odds with Dr. Charles ahead of a possible huge loss to the ED, Crockett and Will will team up, and Hannah and Archer will run into some surprises with their patients. For Archer, that means a surgery that director Nikki Taylor-Roberts describes as “definitely different,” and she opened up about her experience on Med and what’s on the way. 

Nikki Taylor-Roberts came to Chicago Med as part of NBCU’s Female Forward program, which gives female directors the chance to shadow on a show and then direct an episode later that season to break into episodic television. As a medical series, Chicago Med involves all the twists of a primetime TV drama as well as the fast-paced action of the hospital. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Taylor-Roberts previewed the challenges of Archer's surgery that was teased in the promo for “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow,” which appears to be a big one. She said:

There's a bit of dissection that goes into it, like in the same way that that you would think goes through the mind of a surgeon. [It's] taking it all apart and putting all the pieces together visually to articulate the surgery that's happening on the table and to do it in a way that you haven't seen before, an interesting way. So it's a bit of humor or a swivel around something or a push in. Something like that, and our surgery is definitely different. So it has that going for it and I'm excited for everyone to see it.

A "bit of humor" is something fans haven't seen too much with Dean Archer lately, as Steven Weber’s character hasn’t had the most comedic season of Chicago Med, after being dealt an injury that leaves him in need of a kidney transplant, and not 100% sure that his son is far enough along in his recovery to be a candidate for donation. Even the support from Hannah (Jessy Schram) hasn’t been without its complications, including a confrontation and the development of an emotional triangle between her and the Archer men. This episode's surgery will evidently be something different for Archer, and Nikki Taylor-Roberts is excited for fans to get to watch! 

Of course, coming into Med is no small feat, as – like sister shows Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. – the drama has been running on NBC for quite a long time. Nikki Taylor-Roberts had the benefit of shadowing on the series before coming on to direct “The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow,” and she shared how she prepared to come on board Season 8: 

It's all in the prep. I like to walk the sets when no one's around, just kind of be one with the set because there's something to be said about your spatial awareness. I'm big on that. For me, it allows me to ground myself. So that was definitely one of the ways. Also, knowing my crew definitely helped. Knowing them, they know me, me feeling comfortable with them, them feeling comfortable with me. My AD team, all the different teams that go into it, having conversations with my DP. That's what really helps.

The Female Forward director was able to walk the Chicago Med set and ground herself to prepare to step behind the camera for this episode, with the benefit of having a crew who presumably already know their way around the show. Taylor-Roberts went on to share that her experience with meeting the stars of the show was unique, saying:

Because once you meet the actors for the first time, you don't have any time with them, except for in the table read, which has been virtual because of COVID. When you are on set, it's like, 'Hi, how you doing? First time.' [laughs] But thankfully, in the shadow, they all see me around, so it was kind of like, 'Get ready! Get ready for me.' [laughs] That was what really helped, getting familiar with everyone and having a rapport with everyone.

Fortunately, Nikki Taylor-Roberts didn’t meet the stars for the very first time when she arrived on set to direct the May 10 episode, thanks to her experience shadowing earlier in Season 8. Plus, the One Chicago series is evidently still taking COVID precautions, even though the doctors and nurses of Chicago Med have moved on to dealing with a whole new set of problems with Jack Dayton and OR 2.0 turning the hospital for-profit. For now, check out the promo for the next episode and peek at the surgery that is going to be different for Dean Archer:

Nikki Taylor-Roberts’ episode of Chicago Med will air on Wednesday, May 10 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Chicago Fire (which may be building to a Season 11 finale goodbye) at 9 p.m. and Chicago P.D. (which has LaRoyce Hawkins “optimistic” about what’s ahead) at 10 p.m., all on NBC. All three shows have been renewed for the 2023-2024 TV season. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.