The “One Chicago” universe is known for its emotional turbulence. So it only makes sense that many of the One Chicago characters had some dramatic exits. However, Norma Kuhling’s departure had an intensity that still rocked fans years later.
As long-time Chicago Med viewers will recall, Kuhling’s character, South African-born Dr. Ava Bekker, by suicide in the season 5 premiere. In one devastating scene, Bekker’s love interest and colleague Dr. Connor Rhodes that she was behind his father’s death Fansided. This sparked a tense conversation between the two doctors, with Bekker asking Rhodes to make her disappear forever after her secret was revealed. However, when Rhodes refused, Bekker put a scalpel to her neck. “We could have been so happy,” she said, per Fansided. “You ruined everything.” After a nasty insult to Rhodes, Bekker took his own life before his eyes. Although Rhodes and the rest of his “Chicago Med” team did what they could to save her, it was too late, and the devastating episode marked Bekker’s — and by extension Kuhling’s — exit from the show.
Understandably, many One Chicago fans were devastated by the loss. However, many also wondered what had led to Kuhling’s departure behind the scenes.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
It all came down to a creative decision
It’s not uncommon for One Chicago stars to come and go from the franchise. Some of the actors’ departures have been overshadowed by behind-the-scenes troubles, such as Sophia Bush’s dramatic exit from Chicago PD. Many were purely creative decisions, however, and when it came to Norma Kuhling leaving Chicago Med, that was the case.
According to a 2019 report by Deadline, Kuhling was among the three “One Chicago” stars who were dropped from the show. As sources told the publication, firing the actors was a purely creative decision, and it only made sense to the story that the characters dropped out.
Considering her exit was due to creative reasons, it only makes sense that Kuhling himself took the news relatively well. Shortly after news of her departure broke, she took to Instagram and shared that she had no bad feelings about the situation. Rather, she declared, “I’m really going to miss this family but have nothing but gratitude.” The actor thanked everyone involved with the show, from producer Dick Wolf to NBC and the show’s fans, “for making these shows possible.” made what they are”. Additionally, she proved there were no hard feelings by adding that she would continue to be a One Chicago fan herself, writing, “Can’t wait to cheer on #OneChicago in its future seasons!”
Fans thought Kuhling’s character was doomed
Long before Norma Kuhling left the One Chicago franchise, fans were more than a little apprehensive about her role. In fact, many Dr. Ava Bekker for the worst character in Chicago Med for her manipulative nature. A 2019 fansite review by One Chicago Center lamented that it was all down to the writers. This review pointed out that while Kuhling had done an excellent job, her dramatic storylines were just too much to handle.
In the past, Kuhling herself has admitted that her character resonated with many viewers. Speaking to Fansideed, she shared this while trying to remain neutral to provide a good performance, saying, “People either love Ava or hate Ava.” She added that however the audience perceived Bekker, “I think both opinions are valid.”
It may be a comfort to know that the storminess of Kuhling’s character was the creative team’s plan all along. Speaking to Parade, executive producer Diane Frolov explained, “We had read about very, very competent surgeons who had real mental health issues … so it just seemed like a really fascinating area for us.” Well, that’s an area in which they definitely excelled at, and while we’re definitely sad to see Kuhling leaving, we’re glad to have gotten over the emotional roller coaster her character has brought!