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Chicago Med's Mekia Cox Recalls The Physical Toll Of Robin's Harrowing S2 Story

Mekia Cox's young epidemiologist Robin Charles first appears on the One Chicago hit drama "Chicago Med" in the Season 2 "Brother's Keeper" episode. Working alongside doctors Ethan Choi (Brian Tee), Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), and others, it's quickly revealed that Robin has a distant and strained relationship with her father, Gaffney Chicago Med's Head of Psychiatry Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt). Robin's difficult dynamic with her dad relates back to her parents divorcing when she was still a young child, and her arrival to work in the same hospital as him does little to repair this rift.

While Robin proves herself an able colleague during her initial stint on the series, as the show progresses, it's clear she's dealing with some form of cognitive impairment. This manifests primarily in her sudden obsessive fear of rats, as she begins hearing them in the walls of her apartment. When it's shown there is no infestation, her issues are dismissed as stress-related, but they turn out to be something more.

Toward the end of Season 2, she is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her increasingly unstable behavior causes her father to have her committed. Shortly after that, however, she is re-diagnosed, correctly this time, as suffering from a benign mediastinal teratoma, an invasive brain tumor which is then successfully operated on. With this dramatic backstory informing the character during Season 2 on "Chicago Med, fans may wonder, how does Cox describe her experience playing Robin Charles on the series?

Mekia Cox says playing Robin in Season 2 of Chicago Med left her exhausted

During her time as Robin Charles on "Chicago Med," Mekia Cox portrays a character battling a devastating medical condition while struggling to repair a broken relationship with her father. These stresses, while fictional, are nonetheless guaranteed to tax any actor's stamina.

In a 2017 interview with Spoiler TV, Cox commented on the emotional strain of playing a character like Robin. She said part of her prep for the part included reading "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness" by Susannah Cahalan. The book tells the true story of the author's battle with a rare form of encephalitis that left her with some of the same symptoms as Cox's Robin.

As Cox explained, Cahalan "[W]as basically going through a lot of the same things that my character was going through. It was quite emotional." The actor explained that one scene called for them to be on a freezing balcony in minimal clothing, but by the end of the shoot, she actually felt super-heated. "I think my body just didn't know that I'm you know shooting a theme for a show on TV. My body thinks this is really going on, and you know it gets into fight or flight mode and it can be really exhausting."

Robin eventually decides to leave Chicago in Season 3 and move away to live with her mother. However, the character makes return visits to "Chicago Med" in Seasons 4 and 5, with her last appearance being in 2019.