How ‘Chicago Med’ star Platt moonlights on ‘The Bear’

LONDON (AP) — Timing is everything.

After nine years as Dr. Daniel Charles on NBC’s “Chicago Med,” Oliver Platt decided to flex his acting muscles, asking his agent if there was someone else he could play for a bit.

The first offer that came in? Uncle Jimmy in “The Bear.”

This was before FX’s hot kitchen comedy-drama had been on air and no one knew that Christopher Storer’s show would go on to be an award-winning, star-making smash hit.

“I felt like a guest for about five minutes on ‘The Bear,'” says Platt.

“Maybe that just makes me lucky or just makes me good at insinuating myself into a situation, I don’t know.”

And if anyone knows how to be a scene-stealing guest star, it’s Platt.

Three times he’s been in the running for an Emmy Award after making a special appearance on a TV series, notably “The West Wing” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Platt’s most recent guest star nomination was for playing the mysterious Uncle on “The Bear” — and he returned for seasons two and three as a fan.

“I didn’t get to work in the kitchen the first season, I was so excited to meet them all,” he says, noting that in 2022 his only scenes were with Jeremy White and Eban Moss-Bachrach (Carmy and Cousin, respectively.)

“My first day back on the set in season two, it was actually in the restaurant in the kitchen. And I literally was starstruck. And that’s a wonderful scenario.”

Uncle Jimmy is back once again, on June 27, for the third season of “The Bear.”

On set Platt is called “Unc” and in New York, where he lives, the actor gets the occasional “Yes Chef,” as he walks past.

He says spending more time with the money man, also known as Cicero, in new episodes might reveal a bit more about who he is.

“It’s so fun about the character in the way it’s written. It’s like you kind of never know what you’re going to get like, the kindly, but mildly twisted father figure or the frickin’ neighborhood dude who wants his money back?

“What you see is not necessarily what you get,” he says.

Both “The Bear” and “Chicago Med” are set and shot in Chicago so Platt was able to work on them in the same day — by walking the 200 yards between his two trailers.

“It’s really fun,” he says of pulling double duty. “It spices up the day,” calling both shows “gifts” in his life.

There was only one near-miss when Platt was rehearsing an argument as Dr. Charles, but accidentally channeled the confrontational Chicago accent of Uncle Jimmy.

“The director was like, ‘Oliver, what’s that? What’s that accent?'”

“It was very easy for me to drop into being Doctor Charles. I’ve been doing it for eight years, but Uncle Jimmy is relatively new and I think I was unconsciously preparing for the afternoon.”

Another nominated guest star appearance for Platt was as White House Counsel Oliver Babish on “The West Wing,” where his character dishes out legal advice over seasons two, three and seven.

Speaking to writer/showrunner Aaron Sorkin before he got to set, he was told to make the role his own and interpreted it as permission to be a bit loose and spontaneous with the script — only to quickly find out that was not the case.

“I’m not always so good at word for word, even when that’s the rules. So … there was a bit of hazing on ‘The West Wing.’ I knew a lot of the cast members, and they would come by and tease me like, ‘Don’t worry, buddy, we all went through it.'”

In July, Platt is excited to start filming season 10 of “Chicago Med” as psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Charles, a fan favorite, who he says he “loves” to play.

His mother was a psychiatric nurse and he remembers being told to wake her up if certain patients called after hours.

“So many mental health issues, they’re treatable. The main thing is to get people to ask for help,” says Platt.

“I just love the fact that we tell stories that destigmatize mental health issues that, on a good week, 10 million people will watch those stories and so that’s a cool thing.”

Starring on a medical drama means working with a lot of visiting actors, although they are less likely to be recurring roles.

“The dirty little secret of a procedural, right, is that it’s the guest stars that come in and have, like, the big emotions,” he says.


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