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Dr. Mitch Ripley’s Difficult Past Comes Back To Haunt Him on Chicago Med

From sketchy lawsuits to troubled friends resurfacing, Dr. Ripley has been dealing with a lot. No wonder he's on edge.

By Grace Jidoun

Season 9 of Chicago Med introduced Dr. Mitch Ripley (Luke Mitchell), a hard-working member of the emergency department who recently began a romance with Dr. Hannah Asher (Jessy Schram). Early on in the season, viewers learned of his difficult childhood that included a stint in “county juvenile” — and he seems unable to escape his past, no matter how hard he tries.

How to Watch

Watch Chicago Med Wednesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

In Episode 11, titled “I Think There is Something You’re Not Telling Me,” Ripley found himself in the middle of two sticky situations where his past came back to haunt him.

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Earlier in Season 9, it was revealed that about two decades before Ripley began working at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, he was a troubled kid whom Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) provided psych care to. When the two met again, under very different circumstances as doctors at Gaffney, they had a shaky start but managed to mend fences. Then came a bogus malpractice lawsuit brought by Pawel Wapniarski, the shady brother of Dr. Charles’ girlfriend, against Ripley and the hospital. But almost everyone has been supportive of Ripley, including Dr. Charles.

In Episode 11, Ripley got the rundown from the hospital’s attorney on what to expect in an upcoming deposition related to the lawsuit. And Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), the hospital's director of patient and medical services, reassured Ripley that “Med will bear the brunt of this lawsuit.” But things didn't go well when the lawyer for the other side tried to get under Ripley's skin. 

Dr. Mitch Ripleyspeaks to Sharon Goodwin in Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 11

Dr. Ripley got rattled by difficult lawyer at deposition

During the deposition for the suit Pawel brought against the doctor and hospital, Ripley appeared ready for whatever hardball questions were lobbed his way by the opposing counsel and sailed through the first few questions easily. But then things took a turn when the attorney began probing into his past. “I see you graduated from Columbia on a full ride, that’s very impressive,” said the attorney. “I did notice, however, a huge gap in your education. Your last two years of high school are unaccounted for. And no record to explain the absence.”

“So?,” Ripley replied.

“Well, in my experience, Dr. Ripley, a complete lack of education records typically only leads down a few roads — one of those being incarceration and the other being institutionalization. Given that both of your parents were...,” the attorney continued, before being cut off. As the hospital's lawyer stated his objections, Ripley silently made a fist under the table in an apparent attempt to contain his anger.

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As soon as the deposition was over, Ripley lost control while out of sight of the attorneys in a locker room. Out of sorts, he accidentally bumped into a garbage can and then suddenly let loose, kicking the garbage can to the floor. Just then, Dr. Charles walked in to witness Ripley’s brief meltdown.

“I heard the deposition was a little rocky,” Charles said. When Ripley explained that they “tried to use my past to get to me,” no one could understand that better than Charles, who gently suggested that settling the lawsuit might be the right path. But Ripley wasn’t on board with the idea, insisting he wouldn't let the lawyer get into his head.

Sharon Goodwin and Dr. Daniel Charles appear in Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 11.

Dr. Charles suggested to Sharon Goodwin they settle the lawsuit

When Dr. Charles later brought up to Sharon that she should tell Ripley it's better if they settle the suit, she was puzzled and asked why. “It’s complicated,” Dr. Charles responded. “Between us, I’d rather not go into it.”

After Sharon pressed him, he only revealed, “Here’s what I know about Mitch.  At his core, he’s a fighter. The thing about fighters, they don’t always know when it’s time to back down. The best idea is for you just to make the decision for him.”

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When Sharon talked to Ripley about settling, alarm bells went off, and Ripley brought it up to Dr. Charles privately. “She now seems to think that the best option for everyone is to settle the lawsuit and not go to trial,” he said, asking Charles point-blank, “Does she know about my past? Our past?”

Dr. Charles assured him that she didn’t. And when Ripley asked if he had spoken to Sharon about settling, Charles responded, “I just think that your history belongs to you. And that is your story to tell. And if you ever decide that you want to do that, I would just hope that it would be on your own terms. That’s all.”

Dr. Mitch Ripley and Hannah Asher appear in Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 11

Dr. Hannah Asher met two people from Dr. Ripley's past

Ripley had quite the day in Season 9, Episode 11. On the same day he had to navigate a difficult deposition, his old pal Robert “Sully” Sullivan showed up at Gaffney. After greeting his buddy with a hug and a pat on the back, Ripley spied another friend from his old crew in the hospital’s waiting area, Lynne, who was revealed to now be Sully’s girlfriend and 29 weeks pregnant.

“I’m happy to see you’ve finally done something with that head of hair,” Lynne joked to Ripley. Sully clarified, “that mullet?,” before a coughing fit prevented him from speaking. Nodding toward Lynne's very pregnant belly, Ripley joked, “I had such high hopes for you, straight As all through high school, just to wind up with the loser in the back of the class.”

Viewers soon learned why the couple came to the hospital: Lynne had been experiencing cramping, and her regular doctor wasn't around. She was whisked into a treatment room, where Sully had yet another coughing fit. “Don’t get me started on that cough,” Lynne said. But when Sully responded, “It’s just a cold, it’ll clear up. Tell her Rip,” it became clear that he was hiding his lung cancer (that was revealed in an earlier episode) from Lynne.

Later, when Hannah and Ripley were alone, she remarked, “That was fun to meet some people from your past. You three haven’t skipped a beat. You guys must have some crazy stories from back in the day.”

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Reluctant to discuss his troubled childhood with Hannah, Ripley avoided the conversation and quickly left to handle something else. But as Hannah and Lynne chatted about life and pregnancy, more clues about Ripley’s past came up.

“Sully’s so tight-lipped,” said Lynne, “and Rip, just like the old neighborhood. You can never let them see weakness.”

“Mitch doesn’t ever really talk about where he’s from,” Hannah said with a quizzical look.

“Yeah, him and Sully went through a lot growing up,” Lynne responded. When Hannah probed for more information, Lynne demurred by stating how proud she was of him for overcoming so much, leaving Hannah with more questions than answers.

Dr. Mitch Ripley in Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 11

Ripley later found an opportunity for some straight talk with Sully. “Listen, if you’re really not going to treat your cancer, you gotta let Lynne know what’s going on, man," the doctor said. "She’s carrying your child.” Sully’s reasoning — that he didn't want his pregnant girlfriend to worry — didn't pass muster with Ripley, who told him, "You and I both know you’re not telling her because she’s gonna force you to get treatment.”

Sully told Ripley he’d handle it on his own, but when he nearly collapsed from coughing and spit up blood, Ripley took the opportunity to admit him to a hospital room for an assessment. Realizing his lung cancer was getting worse, Sully finally seemed ready to deal with his disease.

Hannah got frustrated by Ripley's and his friend's secrets

Meanwhile, after Hannah discovered that Lynne didn’t know about Sully’s lung cancer, she confronted Ripley about it.

“So let me get this straight," she said. "He’s your old friend, but you can’t sit down and have an honest conversation with him?”

Ripley responded, “Hannah, what else can I do? He’s my patient. I have to honor his wishes. Look, I gotta get him upstairs.”

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By the end of the episode, Sully had told Lynne about his cancer, and Hannah and Ripley seemed to be back on good terms for the time being.

“Lynn told me a few things about you too," Hannah said. Ripley asked, "Like what?" And Hannah jokingly responded, “Mainly, that you had questionable hair as a kid.”

But then she got to down to what had really been on her mind, by saying, “Hopefully, one day you’ll tell me a little more.” 

To find out if Ripley ever opens up to Hannah, keep watching new episodes of Chicago Med on Wednesdays at 8/7c p.m. on NBC or stream them the next day on Peacock.