Dean Archer, Chicago Med
Credit: NBC George Burns Jr/NBC via Getty Images.

Since he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, One Chicago fans have had concerns over if Dr. Dean Archer will die on Chicago Med or live to see another day at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center.

Chicago Med is NBC’s medical drama following the personal and professional lives of doctors and nurses in the emergency department of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. The series — which premiered in 2015 and is created by Dick Wolf, the same mind behind the Law & Order and FBI franchises — is the third spin-off in NBC’s One Chicago franchise, which also includes Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.

Steven Weber plays Dr. Dean Archer, a trauma surgeon and emergency physician who joins in Season 6. Dean, who is promoted to a series regular in Season 7, is a former mentor to Dr. Ethan Choi after both serving in the United States Navy together. In an interview with Parade in May 2023, Weber opened up about what it was like to become a series regular on Chicago Med after starting as a guest star. “I know, I think you have to play up how good I am as an actor and how well liked I am in the business in general,” he said. “Anybody would be a fool to just use me sparingly. I think this show, Dick Wolf, NBC and, of course, the global audience is saying, “Oh, my God we want more Steven Weber.”

But after two seasons on Chicago Med, could Weber be done? Read on for what we know about if Dr. Dean Archer dies on Chicago Med and what happens to Steven Weber’s character.

Does Dr. Dean Archer die on Chicago Med?

Dean Archer, Chicago Med

Does Dr. Dean Archer die on Chicago Med? The answer is unclear. However, Chicago Med hinted at Dean’s death (and Steven Weber leaving the series) in the Season 8 finale trailer, which shows Dean collapsing while performing surgery as nurse Maggie Lockwood asks, “Dr. Archer?” The trailer also included the statement, “Someone will go,” confirming that a cast member was leaving Chicago Med in the Season 8 finale.

One Chicago fans learned Dean was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in Season 8. End-stage renal disease is the final, permanent stage of chronic kidney disease, where kidney function has declined to the point that the kidneys can no longer function on their own, according to John Hopkins Medicine.  In Season 8, Episode 20, “The Winds of Change Are Stating to Blow,” Dean’s son Sean Archer — who he was estranged from for years due to Sean’s struggle with addiction and later imprisonment — tests to see if he’s a viable kidney match for his father. Sean learns he’s a match for Dean in Season 8, Episode 21, “Might Feel Like It’s Time for a Change,” and the doctors inform Dean that he could undergo surgery within the next month. Dean, however, is unsure of whether to accept the transplant, given his estranged relationship with Sean and the fact that both of them are interested in Dr. Hannah Asher.

“There’s a little bit of uncertainty there, having to do with those trust issues that I mentioned earlier, and also because he understands the reality of hospital world,” Weber told TV Insider in May 2023 of why Dean was unsure about accepting Sean’s kidney transplant. “It is of course his world. It’s what he believes in. He also knows that there are great risks involved, even in the simplest of procedures. This is not a simple procedure, and it also binds people together in ways that might make a guy like Dean very uncomfortable. There’s a lot of obligation involved and a lot of kind of existential obligation. Dean is a guy that’s a rolling stone that gathers no moss, but since he’s been at Gaffney, he’s fairly moss covered, and so this will be a challenge to him.

So does Dr. Dean Archer die on Chicago Med? Weber hinted to TV Insider that Dean doesn’t die and accepts Sean’s kidney transplant by realizing how much he needs to ask for “help.” “We’re going to see more revelations involving how he deals with being vulnerable and asking for help,” he said. “He’s not used to that. He’s used to assuming that he’s the help that is asked for, and so he’s got to find a way to trust people, another big issue for him, and the people who he’s seeking trust from are also people who have trust issues.

He continued, “Hannah Asher has a past in which she’s dealt with a lot of betrayal in a way, and of course, his own son, who’s fresh out of the clink and fresh into the world of recovery. These are Dean’s allies. It’s hard. It’s hard. And also his situation is becoming more serious. He’s tried his best, but in spite of all his efforts, he’s finding out how vulnerable he is.”

Weber also told TV Insider about why Dean must ask for help to not only live but continue as a doctor. “He’s still able to treat people, but it’s becoming more and more challenging,” he said. “And apropos of what I was just saying, he’s got to now ask for people to help him accomplish these things. It’s very hard for him. We all know people like this. We all have people like these in our lives who find it hard to open up and ask for help. He’s got to learn to do that in order to continue.”

As for the Chicago Med Season 8 finale, Weber teased about how Dean confronts his life-or-death situation and the fate of his love triangle with Sean and Hannah.”We’re going to see versions of what I’ve just been discussing,” he said. “These people are going to try to navigate these emotions which are nagging at them, which are threatening to upset the fragile balance that they’re just encountering for the first time: Sean out of prison, Hannah continuing her sobriety, and Dean who’s kind of growing finally at this late stage of his life, facing his own mortality in ways that he never reckoned on.”

He continued, “He probably thought that he might be killed in battle or he might just kind of go on and just become an even more irascible and unapproachable doctor and maybe just kind of faint over a patient, drop dead at work. He’s more vulnerable than that, and that’s a little scary to him.”

Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

For more on the One Chicago franchise, check out our photo gallery on the most shocking exits on Chicago Med.