By Breanne L. Heldman
November 21, 2017 at 09:30 AM EST
Elizabeth Sisson/NBC

When season 3 of Chicago Med kicks off Tuesday night, fans won’t have to wait long to find out what happened to Dr. Charles (Oliver Platt), who was shot outside the hospital in the final moments of the second season. The cold open of the premiere will pick up immediately after the shooting, but will soon make a three-month time jump.

Dr. Charles’ shooting “affects most everyone,” executive producer Andrew Schneider says. “Initially, we were going to do the first episode as the night of the shooting, but since our premiere was delayed and we needed to remain in sync chronologically with the other Chicago shows, we had to create this gap of three months. But it also gave us some opportunities to sort of re-set the stage for some of our characters, not just for Dr. Charles, but for Dr. Rhodes and his girlfriend Robin, for Will and Natalie, and for Ethan and April.”

In the season 2 finale, Robin (Mekia Cox) is being treated for a brain tumor which had caused her to have erratic behavior misdiagnosed as a mental illness; Ethan (Brian Tee) and April (Yaya DaCosta) shared a little smooch; and Will (Nick Gehlfuss) and Natalie (Torrey DeVitto), now both single, danced together and shared meaningful looks shippers are likely still analyzing. Those three months will have been pivotal for all three pairings. They’ll also be crucial for Dr. Charles’ protégé, Sarah Reese (Rachel DiPillo).

“The emotional impact Dr. Charles’ shooting has on her will be quite profound,” Schneider explains. “But it also raises the debate of how you provide security for medical staff? Is it dangerous treating psychiatric patients? Are the doctors put at risk?”

Also facing tough questions in the premiere and beyond will be Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson). Schneider says, “One thing we’re dealing with this season — and this affects both doctors and administrators like Goodwin — is how do you balance good medical care given the tremendous expense of that medical care? It seems to be, in the nation, the No. 1 issue that affects people is healthcare: how we’re going to pay for it, how people are going to have it, and it also affects on the hospital level. There’s tremendous pressure to keep costs down, but, at the same time, how do you keep costs down without sacrificing patient care? … It’s going to put a lot of pressure on Goodwin, and she’s going to get in trouble because sometimes she will go around the board to make sure that people get their bills reduced, or they get care that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford.”

See how that all plays out when Chicago Med returns, starting Tuesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.