Chicago Med’s Luke Mitchell Previews a Triggered Ripley and Hannah’s Curiosity About His Past

With a lawsuit and the return of his old friend Sully, Chicago Med‘s Mitch Ripley has plenty of reasons to be on edge in this Wednesday’s episode (NBC, 8/7c).

From the moment the character was first introduced in the Season 9 premiere, the ED doc has skated the thin line between somebody who’s changed and matured, and somebody who could very easily fall back into his troubled ways.

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“That’s the fun of the character is that he has this past and, essentially, he is still that person, but the question is he’s changed, and he’s gone and made something of his life, but how much has he changed from that kid with violent tendencies? And if it is still a thing, how is he managing that?” his portrayer Luke Mitchell tells TVLine.

In navigating that balance, Mitchell is “incorporating hints of, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m not quite sure what Ripley’s going to do in this moment,'” the actor says. “Just a little bit of volatility is good and is, obviously, evident when characters like his old mate Sully turns up.”

Below, Mitchell talks about joining the long-running medical drama, Ripley’s flirtation with Dr. Hannah Asher and working with Oliver Platt (from whom he has not tried to get The Bear spoilers, despite being a self-proclaimed “big fan” of the comedy).

TVLINE | You’ve come into shows before in the middle of their runs, but Med has been on for eight seasons already. Was it a different experience? How was that for you, coming into a show that’s already so established?
You’re right, I have done it a couple of times, but yeah, it is a little bit different when a show is so established after eight seasons. I didn’t really know what to expect, and it was such a quick turnaround. I was really in kind of a holiday vacation headspace. After a full year of basically not working, thanks to the strikes, it was a lot, but I had to hit the ground running. It was a surprisingly lovely experience. When a show’s been going for so long, you never really know what you’re going to be walking into in terms of the dynamic, and the thing that struck me the most is that not only is everyone genuinely really lovely, but everyone really cares about what they do. So it’s not just the fact that after so long, everyone loves doing what they do, but they really care about the work, which is just amazing. So from the very first moment, I felt very welcome and looked after and supported, and it was a really, really great transition.

Chicago Med Luke Mitchell
Chicago Med Luke Mitchell

TVLINE | Are we going to see more of that darker edge to him in the upcoming episodes?
Yes, absolutely. Sully comes back into the storyline in Episode 11 and is around for a couple of episodes. And so, anytime that Sully’s in the picture, I think he adds the volatility to Ripley because Ripley’s just still trying to figure out how to mesh his two worlds, this past that he thought he’d left behind and his present that he’s currently flourishing in. And then part of the storyline is another character from Ripley’s past comes in, which turns out to be Sully’s girlfriend, who’s pregnant, and that brings in Asher to that dynamic because Lynn, Sully’s girlfriend, has a bit of a complicated pregnancy. So then Dr. Asher starts coming in, and then she starts getting curious about Ripley’s past because, all of a sudden, she’s introduced to these people. That makes things challenging.

But then, also, the other thing that makes things challenging is this lawsuit, and Ripley takes part in a deposition in Episode 11, and everything seems to be going very smoothly until the lawyer starts asking questions about Ripley’s past and his family and absent parents and things like that, which obviously triggers him and leads him to let off some steam, perhaps, and also, I think, leads to a bit more of a bonding experience with Dr. Charles, who will naturally catch Ripley letting off steam.

Chicago Med Luke Mitchell
Chicago Med Luke Mitchell

TVLINE | It’s been interesting to have this kind of character on the show because I don’t think we’ve ever seen a main character with that edge, that sort of, like, question mark before. So it’s added an interesting tension to the show.
Yeah, it was super fun to play, and it’s also just so great to work with Oliver [Platt] and build this dynamic with him between Dr. Charles and Dr. Ripley, where it’s not father/son, but it’s not not father/son, you know? Ripley sees Dr. Charles as yet another person who abandoned him in a time of need when he was a teenager. Throughout the season, they’ve obviously been forced to work together and build, at least, a professional relationship and [are] taking steps toward building a personal relationship, as well, which has just been so much fun because, literally, every single scene with Oliver is important because he makes it important. He wants to make every single scene the best scene it can be, which is just right up my alley. That’s the way that I like to work. But it also means that I have to be on my toes because there are constantly things being tweaked to make sure that we’re giving the best version of the story that we can.

Chicago Med Season 9 Luke Mitchell
Chicago Med Season 9 Luke Mitchell

TVLINE | Obviously, Ripley and Hannah are attracted to each other, but they keep getting thwarted. So what can you tease about what’s next for them? Are they ever going to get an uninterrupted moment?
Personally, I’m enjoying the quote-unquote slow burn of it. I don’t think anything’s being rushed there. The writers are doing a good job at kind of teasing the audience with some flirtations and some connections and getting them to work together. Ripley [is] getting to see Asher in all her professional glory and really growing admiration for her as a professional. But I think they are very similar people, and I think they do genuinely get along very well, personally. I think it’s going to be a fun little few episodes towards the season finale, and I think Sully and Lynn coming back into the story will be integral to that because, as I mentioned, because of them, Asher gets curious about Ripley’s past, and Ripley’s pretty keen to keep a wall up between his past and his present, probably understandably. But I think, ultimately, he realizes that if they’re going to take a step forward, he needs to open up to her, [be] vulnerable, and Sully and Lynn are a part of that. They encourage him to open up. So that’ll be something that plays out, and I think it’ll be interesting for the audience to see how Asher responds to that vulnerability.

TVLINE | I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not because you just joined the show this season, but they have been sort of playing around with the idea of Archer and Hannah, and are they friends, or are there feelings there. Is Ripley picking up on any sort of vibe between Hannah and Archer and suspecting that maybe there’s more than just a friendship there?
I don’t think so. I don’t think, at this point in time, that Ripley’s picked up on anything there. It would be interesting to see if he did pick up on that and to see if he had any sort of feelings about that.

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