Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. are huge hits on NBC. How does it feel to be joining the Chicago heroes family?
It’s awesome. It was very exciting to join a show that was part of a franchise that is already doing so well. It’s really thrilling. It makes you scared because you think, “What if this doesn’t work? What did we do wrong?” But it’s great. When I found out that I got this, I watched the pilots of both Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., and I was blown away by the quality. It was so big-looking. The whole show is so grand-looking. It was so beautiful, and the acting was great, so I’m so proud to be a part of this.
I heard that there will be a four-way crossover of the Chicago trilogy and Dick Wolf’s other enormously successful show Law & Order: SVU, airing sometime in February. Can you tell us anything about this?
There’s going to be a lot of crossovers. I don’t know any details about them yet because it comes up last minute, and I haven’t personally done a crossover yet, but the people that have are like, “Yeah, I got called last night and they said, ‘Tomorrow you’re working on Fire.’” To get the schedules to go smoothly, you kind of have to do things like that last minute. I think it’s awesome that they’re doing so many crossovers like that.
There have been other shows about the inner workings of a hospital, each with its own twist—Grey’s Anatomy and House, M.D., for example. What makes Chicago Med different?
For me, what I think makes Chicago Med different is that we have the strict medicine side. I feel that we’re really truly honoring the medical world and making everything look as real as possible. I can speak for myself and all the other actors on the show: we are doing the proper training, asking all the questions, and really having firsthand experiences shadowing at the hospital and really pretending like we’re supposed to be there. But we also have equal as much drama as we do medical. We’re honoring that medical world, but we’re also providing a lot of personal drama, like what goes on between the doctors inside. It’s not just about the medical procedures, and it’s not just about the love lives and the drama of it all. It’s a really perfect blend and mixture of the two worlds, and that’s what’s really special about the show. They do a great job of blending the two.
You said you shadowed doctors. Did you have any interesting experiences while doing that?
Yes! I’ve had a lot of experiences. I almost feel like I’d be giving away a secret if I delved too deeply into them. So just to kind of give a broad statement about them… I got to shadow in a hospital and act as if I were a medical student, and it was in the ER, and I saw some crazy things come through. We got to see some pretty intense things firsthand, and it was very eye-opening. I’ve always had a respect for doctors and surgeons and nurses, but the doctors we’ve been shadowing and the ones we’ve had on set—I swear they’re superhumans. What they do is out of this world. I have a whole new respect [for doctors], and I’m learning things that I never even thought I would know about in this lifetime. It’s been quite the education.
You’re also in the psychological thriller Amy Makes Three. Can you tell us a little about that movie?
Amy Makes Three is about a young couple whose child passes during labor and what they go through, how they grieve. And it also becomes a psychological thriller, and I will say, without giving anything away, that project was one of the most emotionally demanding things I’ve ever done. It became very personal to me. I feel very attached to that project. I definitely put my all into it, and I hope people will be able to see it and enjoy it because I really loved filming it.
You’ve played some interesting characters (Nanny Carrie on One Tree Hill, Melissa Hastings on Pretty Little Liars, Meredith Fell on Vampire Diaries). Who would you say was your favorite character to play?
Oh, that’s so hard! I love playing Melissa on Pretty Little Liars because that’s the longest character I’ve ever played, since I’ve been playing her since the pilot. And I have to say Troian Bellisario is one of my favorite people to act with. She’s really giving, and she’s so smart and so kind, and I love whenever I get to go back to Pretty Little Liars. I feel like it’s a little treat, like a little girls’ date when I get to go see her. Nanny Carrie was definitely one of my favorites because she was so crazy. And the second half of [playing] Nanny Carrie was so much fun for me to delve into such a psychopath and torture Paul Johansson and try to kidnap a child. That was so much fun. I think I have equal amounts of love for those two parts. Those are like the two top favorites for me.
Let’s talk Pretty Little Liars. How did you feel about the Big A reveal this past summer?
You know, I loved it. I had no idea what was going on because unless I’m in the episode and I’ve read it, I don’t really know what’s happening, and it’s the kind of show that you have to watch every single episode to understand what’s going on. So I was really curious. When I knew they were revealing that, I looked on Twitter. When I found out who it was, I actually had to ask Troian. When I came in I was like, “So explain this to me.” She did, and I was like, “That’s really cool.” Because there’s so many fan theories out there that I think that they had to do something outrageous to keep the fans, since there were theories about everything. Had they done anything else, somebody would have guessed it, and I think it was very inventive.