Just before season 1 wrapped up, creators Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah got the good news; not only did NBC renew The Night Shift for season 2, but the network also upped them from eight to 14 episodes and moved the show from a summer slot to a midseason debut right after The Voice.
In case you missed out on all the medical madness that went down last summer, The Night Shift is a drama (with a good deal of grounded comedy) that takes place during the San Antonio Memorial Hospital night shift. Whereas some doctors studied hard, rose through the ranks stateside and played by the rules, others served as Army medics, doing whatever they had to do to save lives with minimal resources out in the field. Both techniques are vital at San Antonio Memorial, but they also cause a good deal of conflict, especially when a potentially life-saving tactic is against hospital policy.
Last season we saw Dr. TC Callahan (Eoin Macken) save the day many times, but also wind up in his fair share of trouble courtesy of his temper, a serious case of PTSD and his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint). Second-year resident Drew (Brendan Fehr) was an all-star in the ER and during his army training mission, but he had a tough time keeping his sexuality a secret. There’s also ER interns Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.) and Krista (Jeananne Goossen). Paul quickly came to realize that being an A-student in school didn’t mean he’d be the best when it came to treating real patients and Krista was forced to come to terms with the fact that she can’t save everyone, no matter how hard she tried or how much she cared.
And that’s only scratching the surface of what The Night Shift accomplished in its mere eight-episode season 1 run. If you didn’t watch it, I highly recommend catching up. It’s a fun, fast-paced show with exciting medical cases, solid comedic timing and an extremely charming group of key characters who are simply a pleasure to spend time with. The Night Shift is due to return to NBC tonight at 10pm, so in honor of the big season 2 debut, I got the opportunity to visit the show’s Albuquerque, New Mexico set to check out some filming and talk to the cast. I’ll have loads of interviews to share over the new few weeks, but first, let’s start with a brief recap of what the key characters went through last season, what they’ll be dealing with this time around and the details on the new scenes we got to see.
TC (Eoin Macken) – After a breakdown/breakthrough at the end of season 1, TC has been suspended and is currently working for a search and rescue unit out in the field. As for his relationship with Jordan, as Macken explained, “The start of the season is about TC focusing on Jordan and trying to be less selfish … but that’s also gonna be a negative thing because he puts so much effort into the two of them.”
Jordan (Jill Flint) – Jordan is still hard at work at San Antonio Memorial, but thanks to what happened to Milo Osborne in “Save Me,” she isn’t the head of the night shift anymore. On top of that, she’s still dealing with all the relationship drama that went down between her, Scott and TC last season.
Topher (Ken Leung) – After taking a bullet to the gut at the end of season 1, Topher’s healing up and getting back to business as the new head of the night shift. He isn’t thrilled about the hefty amount of paperwork the gig requires him to deal with, but now that he’s got three kids, he could certainly use the extra income.
Drew (Brendan Fehr) – Drew finally came out in front of the whole ER, but that certainly didn’t take all the pressure off. Rick’s got a serious recovery ahead of him after having his leg amputated and it’s really weighing on Drew. As Fehr explained, “It’s gonna make one of us kind of realize what exactly is going on and to realize what we had and what we have and then what we want, and whether that’s different or the same.”
Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez) – Ragosa is making some especially big moves this season. He’s back from his eye surgery and has a whole new outlook on life that will completely change how his colleagues see him at San Antonio Memorial. Rodriguez teased, “It’s been an interesting journey.”
Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.) – Paul’s still finding his place at San Antonio Memorial, but he’s getting closer to picking his specialized residency. Will it be pediatrics or surgery? A certain someone might have something to say about that later in the season, but for now, Bailey Jr. noted, “I think he’s really just … trying to figure out where he fits in and what he is actually passionate about outside of everybody else’s demands on his life.”
Krista (Jeananne Goossen) – Krista has had a bit of a rough run in the relationship department, but a certain someone made a move between seasons, so when we see her again in season 2, she’s got a little romance brewing. Krista’s also got another new relationship that’ll be key this season and that’s her relationship with the new surgeon, Dr. Chavez. Goossen explained, “Krista has met a real mentor … he’s just the same person further along the same path.”
Kenny (JR Lemon) – Kenny had some good times in season 1, but he’s getting down to business more than ever in season 2. Lemon teased, “Some things transpire that make Kenny start to take his job more seriously – not that he didn’t [before], but he starts to ask himself, is he happy?”
Gwen (Merle Dandridge) – Meet Gwen, the new paramedic in town and Jordan’s longtime best friend. Gwen’s seen TC’s darker days so she isn’t too keen on the idea of him getting back together with Jordan. Even though Dandridge describes Gwen as “Jordan’s pit bull” when it comes to her relationship with TC, she also noted that Gwen will need a little support from Jordan as well because she has “gone through her own traumatic incident that she is trying to get away from.”
Dr. Scott Clemmens (Scott Wolf) – Even though things got pretty tense between Scott, Jordan and TC last season, Scott decided to stick around. He isn’t happy about losing Jordan to TC and still doesn’t always appreciate TC’s tendency to completely ignore the rules, but Scott’s top priority is saving lives so he’ll have to figure out how to deal with it all so he can do his best possible work.
Dr. Chavez (Adam Rodriguez) – TC isn’t the only one using some rather unconventional techniques at San Antonio Memorial anymore. Dr. Chavez is an expert surgeon, he just happens to ride a skateboard, practice yoga, listen to music in the OR and be insanely handsome.
I had the opportunity to visit the set of The Night Shift last year for season 1 and was blown away by how they essentially built an entire hospital floor right there on a sound stage, but this time around, they’re going even bigger. In addition to what they started with, the crew also added another hallway, modified a number of rooms and got the opportunity to use a second sound stage for additional set building.
While we were there, they had an incredibly authentic looking bar set up as well as the remnants of an apartment. After a little snooping, I found a plank of wood labeled “Jordan’s Apartment,” so perhaps we’ll get to see a little more of what life is like for her after she goes home from work.
(Spoiler Warning: We observed filming of select scenes from season 2, episode 8, so if you’d rather not know what’s to come a little further down the line, now’s the time to tune out!)
Earlier in the day, we got to see the cast and crew film what goes down after a local building collapses. In one of the show’s signature lengthy oners, we get to see a flurry of activity go down in a single shot. It begins with Topher and Jordan walking down the hallway of the bustling ER. Krista pops in for a quick update, then Kenny follows and is instructed to put together a list of missing victims. After that, a stretcher comes barreling down the hall with an older man on it who looks at Topher and asks, “Are you my guardian angel?”
Topher assigns the next surgery patient to Paul, but before he can make his way over to the OR, someone stops him. It’s Paul’s father, Julian Cummings. Topher introduces himself and heads off leaving Julian just enough time to turn back to Paul and warn, he better not let him down, before the elevator doors close. After wrapping up that long shot, they grabbed a few tighter ones of the conversation between Paul, Julian and Topher.
A little later in the day The Night Shift team moved on to a scene featuring Jordan and a young building collapse victim named Alex. Gwen wheels her into the ER. Alex is donning a brace and is suffering from some serious head trauma. While Jordan checks her vitals, Alex loses her vision and become frantic, startling her godfather. He aggressively tries to reach out to her, but Gwen steps in and takes him outside so that Jordan can continue assessing the situation.
That’s it for now, but keep an eye out for my full interview with Eoin Macken coming later today and be sure to catch the season 2 premiere of The Night Shift tonight at 10pm on NBC.