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From small town to the small screen: Local first responders on extra duty in Chicago medical drama

They know how to perform their duties in real life, and now four Sauk Valley first responders will show off their acting skills on an NBC medical drama.

Albany Police Chief Wyatt Heyvaert, Whiteside County Sheriff Sgt. Kris Schmidt, and CGH Medical Center paramedics Eric Eugene and Bill Friedrich are extras in an episode of "Chicago Med" airing March 6, and are hosting a watch party at Whiskey Barrel Saloon, 305 W. Second St. in Rock Falls.

Heyvaert, 38, of Albany, and Eugene, 28, of Ohio, are no strangers to the small screen. They have appeared in past episodes of producer Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise, which includes "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D."

Heyvaert brought Schmidt, 46, of Morrison, who's running for Whiteside County sheriff, to a shoot in November. Eugene brought Friedrich, 28, of Sterling. Only during production did they realize that it really is a small world.

“It was neat, because me and Bill were up there, and we weren’t expecting to run into Kris or Wyatt,” Eugene said. “I saw Kris, and a couple of minutes later, ran into Wyatt. I was like, ‘Hey, we could all carpool, you know?’”

The law enforcement officers play members of the Chicago police force, and will be shown arresting one of the characters.

This time around, because the scenes were shot late on a Friday, actors were more personable with the extra characters because not many other people were around, Heyvaert said.

“Usually, you come in, they put you in a spot, and you do your thing; and the actors may just say ‘hi’ or ‘bye,’” Heyvaert said. “This time, they were very talkative and very personal. It was really neat.”

"Chicago Med" is Friedrich's first television appearance. He was impressed with the planning and coordination that goes into each scene, on top of the whole episode.

Eugene and Friedrich play paramedics. They didn't have to go strictly by the script when it came to motions and spots. Much of their movements were improvised based on how they would normally act on the job.

“Him and I have been on numerous calls together, so we could actually predict each other’s actions, not just on camera, but in real life as well,” Friedrich said.

In the episode, titled "Folie à Deux,” Dr. Connor Rhodes (Colin Donnell) and Dr. Ava Bekker (Norma Kuhling) try to save a misdiagnosed patient, while Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) is on a mission to figure out what happened during a stabbing at his apartment complex. 

The episode’s title is a French term meaning, “madness of two,” and is another name for induced delusional disorder – where delusional beliefs are transmitted from one person to another.

Created by Wolf and Matt Olmstead, "Chicago Med" depicts everyday emergency room situations and the stories about doctors and nurses at the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center.

Now in its third season, the show drew an averags of of 9.47 million viewers each week during its second season, according to Nielsen ratings. 

Episodes air 9 p.m. Tuesday nights. Because of the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, the next episode airs Feb. 27.

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