The Reel Women of Chicago Med

Chicago Med
S. Epatha Merkerson, Jessy Schram, Marlyne Barrett

Editor’s Note: As we reach the end of Women’s History Month, it’s important to recognize the Reel Women who play the heroes in our favorite One Chicago dramas. Today we celebrate the Women of Chicago Med.

Chicago Med is a medical drama series created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead that follows the emergency room doctors and nurses of Gaffney Chicago Medical Center as they tackle unique new cases and forge fiery relationships. The show features many strong women — and we’re featuring the women who play them. 

S. Epatha Merkerson plays Sharon Goodwin

Sharon Goodwin, the Executive Director of Patient and Medical Services at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, is under intense fiscal scrutiny to preserve the bottom line while continuing to ensure that all patients receive nothing short of quality care and compassion. She is given the unimaginable role of final decision maker for who will receive medical supplies and care when materials are scarce. As a former Emergency Department charge nurse, she has the unique perspective of seeing issues as a nurse, as well as a business woman.

Here are some fun facts about award winning actress, S. Epatha Merkerson:

S. Epatha Merkerson has received numerous high-profile accolades for her work, including an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, four NAACP Image Awards, two Obie Awards and two Tony Award nominations.

She is the youngest of five children raised by a single mother in Detroit.

She made her big-screen debut in director Spike Lee‘s first feature, 1986 romantic comedy She’s Gotta Have It.

She is a former smoker who quit cold turkey after losing a close friend to lung cancer, she became an advocate against smoking and for lung cancer research and she once sat on the Board of Directors of the campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Her first major TV role was as Reba the Mail Lady on the cult classic show Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Merkerson, who suffers from diabetes, is passionate about spreading awareness of the disease and encouraging people who have it to stay on top of their health. During the Covid-19 global pandemic it was necessary for Merkerson to film from home and because her character Sharon Goodwin also has diabetes, it was written into the show that Goodwin would also telecommute for her own safety. 

Jessy Schram plays Dr. Hannah Asher

Dr. Hannah Asher, an obstetrician-gynecologist who is a recovering heroin addict. Her fresh start at Gaffney Medical finds her in the center’s new emergency OB/GYN service.

Here are a few fun facts about Jessy Schram:

Jessy Schram is a Chicago local who grew up in Buffalo Grove and has been working as an actress and model since she was 10 years old.

She has appeared in a series of nine Hallmark movies where she played the same character named Susan. 

Not only is she an accomplished model and actress, she has a music career which she is especially passionate about. She has showcased her singing talent on the TV show Nashville and the Hallmark Channel original movie Country at Heart.

She is actively involved in working with different charities and frequently visits orphaned children in Baja, Mexico through a group called Corazon De Vida. As well as visiting Project Angel Food in Los Angeles and her church’s local soup kitchen when time allows.

Marlyne Barrett plays Maggie Lockwood

Maggie Lockwood is the charge nurse, and eyes, ears and brain of the ER, who is skilled and confident but finds herself dealing with profound family issues of her own. She is living with the painful decision at a young age of giving her baby up for adoption, something she regretted for years. In a twist of fate, she was able to reunite with her daughter, who has become a doctor.

Here are a few fun facts about Marlyne Barrett:

Marlyne Barrett actually comes from a medical background. In addition to Marlyne herself studying nursing at College Maisonneuve, her family is in the medical profession as well. Her mother works as an ICU nurse while her father is a medical engineer. Marlyne’s aunt is an employee at Kaiser, and even her sister was a pre-med student before going pursuing law.

She is an ambassador for The Way Out, an organization which shelters young people rescued from sex trafficking and rehabilitates them with the intensive process lasting up to 9 months. The organization has had a hard time with fundraising challenges despite its efforts in transforming the sheltered victims both physically and emotionally.

She first entered into show business as a VJ in the later 1990s on MusiquePlus, a French Canadian music television station.

She battled cancer both on and off screen. First Barrett battled cancer on screen when her character, nurse Maggie Lockwood, was diagnosed with breast cancer and then, more recently the actress actress shared that she’s also battling cancer in real life. In July 2022, she was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer. 

Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 7 PM CST on NBC. 



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