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Is Maggie (Marlyne Barrett) Leaving Chicago Med?
Season 8, Episode 19 of the series ended on a surprising note for the beloved character.
Maggie isn't just the eyes and ears of Chicago Med, she's become the heart, too. While many of the Gaffney doctors scurry to treat patients each day, as the beloved ED charge nurse, Maggie's job is defined by playing double duty as she assists patients and the dedicated staff. Maggie has been eagerly lending a helping hand since the show's debut, both as a friend and health provider, so it's difficult to imagine a Chicago Med without Maggie.
But by the end of Season 8, Episode 19 ("Look Closely and You Might Hear the Truth"), some viewers started thinking she could be leaving the hospital. Here's what happened:
Is Maggie (Marlyne Barrett) leaving Chicago Med?
It all began with Maggie arriving at work looking spiffy in a classy black dress. Maggie's friend and supervisor, Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), immediately notices her done-up look and asks her if there's anyone she's trying to impress. Maggie tells Goodwin that she's getting her driver's license photo retaken and wants to look nice for the picture since she'll have to look at it for years. Goodwin tells Maggie she looks fabulous and proceeds with business as usual.
Speaking of business, Goodwin's had her hands full with the hellfire Jack Dayton (Sasha Roiz) has brought down attempting to transform Chicago Med into a for-profit hospital. Goodwin scrambles to flip board members to vote against the harrowing decision, which would jeopardize patient care for hundreds. Sure, she has the flirtatious new board member George Thomas on her side, but she needs more votes to avoid Dayton's plan coming to fruition.
Goodwin and Thomas successfully change the mind of one board member to capture the majority, but that goes belly-up after he suddenly collapses right after agreeing to vote with them. A Chicago Med classic! While the board member is whisked away to surgery in the fancy new O.R. 2.0. suite, both Dayton and Goodwin cross their fingers in hopes he'll wake up and vote their way.
After the ill-fallen board member pulls through and the high-stakes board meeting begins, Maggie visits the preoccupied Goodwin to ask if she has a minute to chat. Seconds away from hearing the board's decision, Goodwin tells her it would need to be very important because she's trying to save a hospital here. But Maggie insists.
Maggie comes clean and admits she lied before about getting her license photo retaken. She confesses that she was actually meeting with a headhunter to explore potential employment opportunities at a different hospital. Goodwin is positively floored by this news, as she views Maggie as her right-hand woman.
However, the question of why isn't so difficult for Goodwin to understand. Frankly, the hospital has been going haywire since Dayton rolled up to the scene. Maggie admits that she regrets even considering it, but she is growing more and more concerned about the direction Chicago Med is headed.
"I feel guilty even thinking about leaving," Maggie tells Goodwin. "All the changes that are going down in the ED and all this chatter about going for-profit. I have a bad feeling about the direction that Jack is taking us."
"I get your frustration, Maggie," Goodwin reassures her. "And I promise you, we're working on a course correction, as we speak. The board is in the process of defeating Jack's agenda, and we're going to hold the line."
Goodwin's words provide comfort to Maggie, who reiterates that she really doesn't want to have to leave her friends and loved ones at Chicago Med. But just as Maggie seems to be back on the wagon, the board meeting concludes. Goodwin eagerly asks Thomas for the voting turnout, but it's bad news for everyone at Gaffney.
Dayton prevailed by seizing the majority, meaning Chicago Med will become a for-profit hospital. The swayed board member was so impressed with how quickly he was stabilized through O.R. 2.0.'s facilities that he chose to support whatever measure would bring in more high-tech medicine. Goodwin sadly couldn't hold the line as strongly as she promised.
So, what does this mean for Maggie? Will she continue working under Dayton's money-hungry system? Or will she explore a different hospital, after all?
Maggie is officially on the job hunt
With the diagnosis not looking great for Gaffney Medical Center, we learn Maggie moves forward with the headhunter in Episode 20 ("The Winds of Change Are Starting to Blow"). Maggie doesn’t waste any time notifying Goodwin, telling her she should expect a call from the recruiter some time soon.
When Goodwin asks to confirm Maggie's intended departure, the longtime charge nurse admits she is just "testing the waters.”
“What would it take for you to stop testing?” Goodwin lovingly asks.
Maggie tells her it would take a time machine to rewind to before Jack Dayton and O.R. 2.0. and the many pitfalls of becoming a for-profit hospital. Goodwin understands this headache more than anyone, so she tells Maggie she’ll give an update if she gets a call.
Maggie attempts to handle a paranoid patient who refuses to accept treatment, and after her grueling day, touches base with Goodwin. Goodwin tells Maggie that the recruiter called, and she sang praises about Maggie’s hard work at the hospital. Maggie admits it was a tough day because she wished she could do more for patients, and it's becoming increasingly harder.
Goodwin agrees; no one can deny the One Chicago doctors have their hands tied. But does that mean Maggie may be better suited somewhere else? No one wants to see Maggie go, but her fate at Gaffney Medical remains in the air.
Maggie moves forward with a promising interview
In Season 8, Episode 21 ("Might Feel Like It's Time for a Change"), Maggie tells Goodwin that she won't be able to make lunch because she has an interview at a hospital opening up in the city looking for an ED charge nurse. Goodwin is floored by the sudden development, even blurting out, "That was fast." Maggie tells her she just wants to see what they have to say, and Goodwin reluctantly agrees.
"Good luck," Goodwin chokes out. (It's clear she's struggling to accept Maggie's potential departure.)
Maggie arrives for her interview at a smaller, low-lit hospital that looks drastically different from Gaffney; it's in dire need of sprucing up. Maggie's interview goes swimmingly; her resume blew the employers away, and she explains she was only leaving Gaffney because it's time for a change. The director details the hospital's numerous mission statements, such as valuing underserved communities and providing financial assistance to those in need. Above all, the new hospital upholds that healthcare is a human right, which is a far cry from the plans Dayton has for Gaffney Medical.
"That is a belief I very much share," Maggie says.
Every moment of the interview suggests that Maggie has this job in the bag, but when Goodwin later checks in on how it went, Maggie tells her it went "fine." That summation is a massive understatement for how it actually went, and Goodwin instantly clocks Maggie's walls going up.
"Just fine?" Goodwin probes before apologizing to Maggie for her previous response. "Look, Maggie, I was caught off guard earlier. I knew this day was coming, but I just... I just wasn't ready for it."
"And to be honest," Maggie admits. "Neither was I."
"And then I was really angry with Jack because he's driving away one of our most valuable people," Goodwin reveals. "But I am so happy for you. You know, you're always looking out for everybody else and you're finally looking out for yourself. And that it is a really good thing."
It's a sweet moment between the Chicago Med BFFS, further proving their bond surpasses the walls of Gaffney Medical. And with the air sufficiently cleared, Goodwin's curiosity took over.
"Now," Goodwin hilariously leveled. "You better tell me how that interview went."
"It was great," Maggie giggled. "It's really great. They want me to build the ED from the ground up."
"Now they would be lucky to have you," Goodwin says.
"I don't have the job yet," Maggie reminds her.
"Oh, you will," Goodwin hilariously retorts. "They won't find anybody better, you best believe that."
Goodwin and Maggie make jokes about Maggie getting the keys to the ED already, breaking out into a fit of child-like laughter. It's a delightful moment where we know that the tension has subsided, and Goodwin truly supports Maggie's next chapter, even if it might take her away from Chicago Med. It will be a sad day if we ever have to bid farewell to the beloved Maggie, but it's refreshing to see her prioritize herself for a change.