On paper, this is a guy who you could easily assume would fit the hero bill: He’s a prominent surgeon at a prominent hospital, he’s admired by his friends, and he pushes himself to be the best that he can be. Connor is superficially the sort of guy you put on billboards to make other people want to choose a path in medicine.
Yet, with Connor his heroism is ultimately about so much more than that — especially since there’s another side of him that could easily be unlikable. We’re talking here about a confident, sometimes-overconfident doctor who comes from wealth. That can lead towards jealousy or of course eye-rolls about “yet another doctor who knows everything.” Yet, Connor never acts that way; as a matter of fact, his defiance of that preconceived notion is a big part of what makes him so interesting.
Connor’s confidence does not stem from the mere fact that he’s in this profession; instead, it comes from his knowledge of the work, his experience in the field, and his drive to make his patients’ lives better. He’s always speaking with that in mind and he’s willing to go the extra mile for them, even if it means crossing some ethical lines. If Connor was in this job for the glory, he probably wouldn’t have chosen it to begin with. He could’ve had even more wealth or local celebrity following in his father’s footsteps. The appeal of watching him as a character comes from the fact that we’re watching a guy who could’ve had almost anything decide that he wants to challenge himself in medicine. Save for a certain impulse purchase after Robin’s departure he doesn’t boast his wealth or any particular aspect of his life. He’s doing the best that he can in every moment; he has ups and downs but that’s a big part of what makes him so likable. He doesn’t lose his humanity in his pursuit of better medicine.
Being defined as a hero, whether you are in the fictional realm or in life, is also sometimes about bucking convention and challenging authority. Connor has the ability to do that, whether it be with Dr. Latham, Goodwin, or even with his colleagues like Dr. Bekker. While he has his weak points, but and large it’s never personal — his challenges to them are often about the case and he possesses the ability to tone that down and treat their relationships outside the hospital as separate. We’ve seen Connor be a good friend and at times a good boyfriend — he does have a lot to work on in the latter, but it’s mostly just because he’s so transfixed on trying to right for his patients.
Praise for Colin Donnell
One of the biggest reasons for Connor’s likability, beyond of course everything already referenced, is the performance of Donnell in the role. We knew that he had a penchant for likable, determined characters the moment that he signed on for this show, but he’s brought a new degree of resolve and vulnerability to it that has shown completely new dimension to him as an actor.
The more emotional storylines we get for Colin as Connor on Chicago Med, the better off we’re all going to be.
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