After three seasons, actress Torrey DeVitto has a deeper appreciation for her character, Dr. Natalie Manning, on Chicago Med.
"Every season has been very satisfying and gratifying for me as a person and as an artist -- I feel really lucky and fortunate in that sense on this show. Our writers are phenomenal and write such rich storylines that every time I get a script, I'm still excited," DeVitto tells ET. "The last few seasons, Natalie was going through a lot of personal stuff: being a single mom, does she want to date and grieving over the loss of her husband."
"But this year, in particular, you really see Natalie stand on her own two feet as a woman and not let anybody push her around," the 33-year-old actress adds, referring to the Time's Up and #MeToo movements permeating throughout Hollywood. "Especially with everything that's going on with the world right now, it's very topical."
DeVitto credited the episode that aired Feb. 27, in which Natalie was forced to "put her foot down" in the workplace -- something many women face in the everyday world -- as being particularly illuminating to play. "I'm going to be treated as an equal or nothing at all," she says of her character's mindset. "When I read that script, I was so grateful to get the opportunity to play that role."
"She expresses that she feels that all through her life, in medical school and in her work, she's not treated the same as how some of the men are treated. She's done with that. She's not going to let anything affect that anymore," DeVitto continues. "She's going to stand for herself as a career woman and not let anything else get in the way of that, and she wants to be treated as an equal."
As DeVitto tells it, being in Natalie's shoes this season has been an eye-opening experience.
"It's cool to see the character evolve and grow and change so much," DeVitto says. "It's fun to see that because I've grown and changed over the past two-and-a-half, three years as well. It's kind of like she and I are doing it in tandem, and it's cool to be able to express things and learn through a character because I learn through so many of the storylines that I get. To see that filter into my own life has been really a really interesting process."
The former One Tree Hill star agrees that Natalie has been "more confident" this year compared to seasons past, chalking it up to the pediatric and ER resident overcoming personal and professional obstacles. "She's more planted in her own seed," DeVitto explains. "When we first met her [in season], she was pregnant and grieving. She was in a very fearful place. She's definitely transformed a lot."
In terms of Natalie's romantic life, DeVitto warns there's going to be "a lot of ups and downs" for her and Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss).
"You'll definitely see some conflict between them," DeVitto hints. "It'll be the, 'Will they persevere or will that make them crumble?' We've introduced that it hasn't been the most seamless transition of Halstead coming into Natalie's son's life, too. There's a lot of different factors."
As for why Natalie connects with so many female viewers, DeVitto hypothesizes that it's because she represents the modern-day woman. "She reaches the single woman, she reaches the single working woman, she reaches the single moms trying to date for the first time. She reaches all the women out there who are trying to be treated equal in the workplace," DeVitto says. "That's why I love this character so much -- she's relatable on so many different levels."
Chicago Med airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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