Breanne L. Heldman
November 21, 2017 AT 11:00 PM EST

If the premiere is any indication, season 3 of Chicago Med is going to need a high-powered heart monitor, as the show appears to be ramping up the romance. Not that we’re complaining.

First (well, actually, last in the episode, but first in our minds), Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) and Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) finally shared a kiss two full seasons in the making after she revealed she’d taken a three-month sabbatical just to figure out how she felt about him. We learned that the kiss Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) shared in the season 2 finale was the first of many — not that anyone in the hospital knows that yet. And Robin Charles (Mekia Cox) was checking out of the hospital after treatment for her brain tumor and checking into Connor Rhodes’ (Colin Donnell) pants and causing some concern.

While it may not be romantic, the father-daughter-ish relationship between Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) and Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo) took a considerable hit, even after we learned Dr. Charles survived his season 2 finale shooting.

We hit up executive producer Andrew Schneider to help keep our heart rates from spiking and walk us through the futures of some of our favorite pairings.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That Will and Natalie kiss was quite a nice surprise; it happened so early in the season. Can you talk about that choice to make that kiss happen right out the gate in the premiere?
ANDREW SCHNEIDER: We felt that really they had earned that relationship over two years. It didn’t seem forced, it seemed real. That being said, there will be things that will really try this relationship. It’s very had to balance a romantic relationship when you work with the person every day. Diane [Frolov, who is also an executive producer on the show] and I are the only people who seem to be able to do it. But they also have a hierarchical difference: She’s still a resident, he’s an attending physician, so technically he’s her boss. They will have disagreements over how to treat patients, they will have disagreements over gray ethical issues, so their relationship gets tested. She’s also a single mother, he’s not a parent, and he’s got financial problems. But they’re different people and as much as they want this relationship to work, it’s not easy.

It seems April and Ethan’s road is also going to be rather rocky.
The same issue is there in that there’s a power differential: He’s a doctor, she’s a nurse… Very often doctors and nurses have different ideas on how to treat a patient, and that will also come up in one of the early episodes. Again, these two people, they’re really into each other. They have a wonderful, romantic, and passionate relationship but they also have strains. And April’s pretty fiery. He can be a rigid guy, so it’s quite a combination.

How is Maggie (Marlyne Barrett) going to handle it when she finds out about them?
She actually approves of it. She likes them both. She doesn’t have any romantic designs. Maggie is going to have a romance this season. She’s supportive of April’s relationship with Ethan.

Will she defend it to the other nurses?
It doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Once [the relationship] does come out, it’s less of a deal than April anticipated.

Stepping away from romantic pairings for a moment, where do Dr. Charles and Dr. Reese go from here? Are they ever going to be able to forgive each other?
Yes. They will. They have a complex relationship, which is professional, but because of her past and her estrangement from her own father, Charles is kind of a father figure as well as a mentor. We actually bring in her real father; he has a recurring part starting in episode 11 (played by Michel Gill).

Are he and Dr. Charles going to meet?
Oh yes. And have a very difficult relationship.

We saw a bit of it looking promising at the end of the episode, but how is Dr. Charles’ relationship with Robin, now that they’ve both gone through their respective medical journeys?
He’s really reconciled with his daughter and they have a very strong relationship, but she has difficulties that he can’t help her with. She is always wondering if any emotional reaction she has is due to her illness. She feels she’s under scrutiny by Dr. Rhodes, who’s always looking at her wondering if she’s going to be okay. She doesn’t want to be a patient; she wants a normal life, which she finds increasingly difficult to have, and which puts a particular strain on her relationship with Connor.

Is Robin having side effects, or is she just nervous about the status of her relationship?
It’s a little of both. She is having some side effects, but she’s very nervous about it and always sort of checking herself and wondering, and it puts a lot of strain on her.

How does she figure that out? What does one do if they’re in that state?
There’s not a lot you can do except try to wait out the illness. I don’t want to tip where we’re going with Robin, but it creates tremendous strain and also puts more conflict between Connor and Dr. Charles. They’re both very protective of Robin but have different approaches on how to be protective.

Where is Connor’s battle with current nemesis Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) headed?
In our research about surgeons, particularly hotshot cardiothoracic fellows, they’re really competitive — so their competition will be an ongoing theme throughout the season, but at the same time, there will be romantic and sexual tension between the two of them.

That doesn’t bode well for Robin.
Well…

Are Goodwin or Dr. Charles going to get any romantic stories?
Goodwin has a lot of administrated headaches and she also has to make calls when there are ethical issues, but running the hospital with the new financial restrictions and structures, that’s going to be where we’re focusing. Her ex-husband does come back to the hospital with his new girlfriend, and that always creates tension for Goodwin. But no immediate romance for her or Charles. Charles is still really recovering, both physically and emotionally, from the shooting.

There was a question about whether Dr. Charles was ready to be back at work. Is he going to take more time?
He is going to take a little more time, and he thinks that he is okay, but it actually turns out that he will have some triggers that will kind of send him into a tailspin toward the back half of the season.

What can you tell us about Malcolm McDowell’s upcoming guest stint?
He plays Dr. Bekker’s mentor, who comes in as a patient and wants to have open heart surgery while he’s awake. Which you can do. It’s unorthodox, but he wants to have the surgery awake.

Is he going to have Connor or Ava working on him?
Both of them. And Dr. Latham (Ato Essandoh) will be back in his recurring role.

Chicago Med airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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