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Dr. Ava Bekker was a Second Year Fellow, and later Attending Physician in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. She was portrayed by Norma Kuhling.


Ava was born to unknown South African parents in Cape Town, South Africa. Before coming to complete her cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Gaffney, Ava worked at Groote Schuur Hospital, a teaching hospital located in Cape Town. She worked under the mentorship of world-famous heart surgeon Dr. Marvin Jaffrey.

Ava and her co-fellow Connor Rhodes initially dislike each other, but later develop a healthy sense of competition, vying for the approval of their mentor Dr. Latham and frequently one-upping each other. They eventually become romantically involved. They date, but eventually break up after Connor discovers that Ava slept with his father in order to gain funding for Connor's pet project, a hybrid cardiac operating room in the emergency ward. Ava is unwilling to let Connor go, pursuing him aggressively. During the course of season 4, when Connor starts to rebuff her romantic advances, Ava starts to torment him with increasingly elaborate schemes and ploys, culminating in her killing his father Cornelius with an overdose of insulin. When she is found out, she commits suicide by slashing her carotid artery, causing Connor to decide to leave Chicago at the beginning of season 5.

Season 3[]

Dr. Ava Bekker, a South African surgeon, joins Chicago Med as a cardiothoracic fellow under Dr. Latham's supervision. Dr. Latham tells his other fellow, Dr. Connor Rhodes, that Ava had been his first choice over Connor for the fellowship. She studied at Groote Schuur Hospital, a famous teaching hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, and was mentored by Dr. Marvin Jaffrey, a famous heart surgeon. ("Love Hurts.") Ava immediately establishes herself as both, highly competent, as well as highly competitive. She immediately sees Connor as her rival, often manipulating Dr. Latham into giving her more prestigious surgeries, and frequently teasing, and mocking Connor, while also making clear that she is attracted to him, via repeated invitations to dinner, coffee, or drinks. Ava does not hesitate to take advantage of the fact that Connor is struggling with personal stresses, including managing his girlfriend Robin Charles' health condition, to undercut him professionally. ("Nothing to Fear"). Although Connor professes to find her irritating, Dr. Latham observes that both Ava and Connor seem to enjoy sparring with each other. ("Trust your Gut"). However, over time, Connor and Ava learn to work together ("Naughty or Nice"). When Ava's former mentor, Dr. Marvin Jaffrey, comes to Chicago Med for a complicated heart surgery and publicly demeans Ava, Connor vouches for her skill as a surgeon ("Down by Law").

After Robin Charles and Connor break up, Ava is amused by Connor's propensity to engage in reckless and casual sex, especially when he ends up diagnosing one of his one-night-stands with a heart condition, bringing her to Med for surgery. After working together on a particularly difficult case, they end up sleeping together, but Ava tells Connor that it was unwise and they shouldn't do it again. (""Folie à Deux"). They continue flirting, however, and competing against each other for surgeries, and Dr. Latham informs them that he will be choosing just one of them to assist him in a complicated and prestigious procedure to separate conjoined twins. Connor goes behind the team's back to recommend a procedure to resolve a critical condition before the surgery. Although his method works, Dr. Latham picks Ava over Connor as he says Connor is not a team player. ("Devil in Disguise"). During the surgery to separate the conjoined twins, they run into difficulties, and Connor, who is observing, proposes a solution. Dr. Latham tells him to scrub in and perform it, successfully allowing the twins to be separated. This infuriates Ava, but when Connor is offered and accepts a position at the Mayo Clinic as a result of his surgical success, she tells him she will miss him, even though he's making the right decision professionally. ("The Tipping Point").

Season 4[]

In Season 4, Connor prepares to leave for the Mayo Clinic, while Ava is appointed as an attending cardio-thoracic surgeon at Chicago Med. They work together on what is meant to be one last case, during which they lose a patient while transiting from the E.R. to the cardiac wing. Frustrated, Connor tells Sharon Goodwin, the hospital administrator, and Ava, that what they need is a hybrid operating room in the E.R., to allow them to attend to critical cardiac cases. On Sharon's suggestion, Connor writes a proposal for a hybrid O.R. for the board, but they reject it as too expensive. Unbeknownst to Connor, Ava then approaches Cornelius Rhodes, Connor's wealthy businessman father, and asks him to donate the money for the O.R., with the condition that it be headed by Connor, so that he doesn't leave Chicago for the Mayo Clinic. Ava also asks Cornelius to donate the money anonymously, as Connor has a fraught relationship with his father and might balk at accepting funding from him. Cornelius agrees. The new hybrid O.R. is approved by the board, and Connor agrees to stay and head the program. ("Be My Better Half")

Ava and Connor continue to clash over surgeries, especially over whether cases should be handled by Connor's emergency cardiac O.R. or the cardio-thoracic surgery wing upstairs. Ava is upset when Connor makes reckless choices, telling him he is putting the entire hybrid O.R. program at risk of losing funding, which was very hard to acquire. ("Heavy Is the Head"). Connor attempts to find out the identity of the anonymous donor so he can ask for more funding for additional equipment for the hybrid O.R., but Ava is reluctant to support his efforts, and he is eventually told by hospital administration that they cannot release funding or disclose the identity of donors who have chosen to stay anonymous. ("What You Don't Know"). Meanwhile, Connor and Ava continue to flirt, and eventually start dating. ("Lesser of Two Evils"). However, hospital C.O.O., assuming that Connor already knew, tells him that his father was the anonymous donor who funded the hybrid O.R. Realising that Ava already knew this, Connor is upset, telling Ava that she lied to him by omission, and that she should have known he doesn't like being beholden to his father. Ava dismisses his concerns, telling Connor that the source of the money doesn't matter, and what matters is the lives they have saved in the hybrid O.R. They eventually reconcile, but Connor remains upset at the fact that his father now has a position on the hospital board, as a donor, and is able to continue controlling and interfering in Connor's life. ("The Poison Inside Us").

Matters come to a head when Ava refuses to attend a gala with Connor in honor of the new hybrid O.R., telling him that she is uncomfortable being around him and his father, given their tumultuous relationship. Connor convinces Ava to attend, telling her that he hopes they have a future together and that unfortunately means she can't avoid his family forever. He also tells Ava that now he knows she asked Cornelius for the money, he owes her for the hybrid O.R. Ava reluctantly agrees. However, at the gala, Cornelius Rhodes approaches Ava, and makes a pass at her, mentioning that he donated a very large money at her request to the hospital, and asking her if Connor knows about them. Panicking, Ava tells Connor that Cornelius is spreading rumors that she slept with him to secure the donation, resulting in Connor punching Cornelius in public, and apologizing to Ava for insisting that she attend with him. ("All the Lonely People"). Although Connor tells Ava that it is typical of Cornelius to engage in such malicious and manipulative behavior, he starts to have doubts as he watches Ava closely, seeing her behavior differently. Disagreeing with him on the treatment of a patient, Ava tells Connor that sometimes the ends justify the means, which he finds concerning. ("Who Can You Trust"). Connor eventually goes to Cornelius, who tells him that he did sleep with Ava in exchange for the funding, but it was Ava's idea. Noticing that Connor has been cold and distant, Ava asks Connor to talk to her, and Connor eventually admits what Cornelius told him, telling her that he believes Cornelius' version of events. Connor points out that Ava has lied to him every step of the way, and reminds Ava that she told him, "The ends justify the means." Although Ava denies sleeping with Cornelius, and urges Connor to realize he is being manipulated, he tells her he doesn't believe her. ("The Things We Do").

Ava makes efforts to get Connor back, but is repeatedly rebuffed by him. She engineers a series of manipulative situation to gain Connor's sympathy, including placing her hand in Connor's way while they operate on a HIV+ patient, resulting in Connor accidentally nicking her. As a result, Ava is placed on preventive medication for HIV, and temporarily barred from surgery, making Connor feel guilty, while Ava forgives him("Ghosts in the Attic"); filing a complaint against Connor and causing an old case of his to be reopened for ethics violations, and then making a statement supporting him ("Can't Unring that Bell"). When Connor's ex-girlfriend, Dr. Robin Charles, returns to the hospital to support her sick mother, Cece Charles, Connor becomes Cece's doctor. Although Connor advises against doing a risky procedure, Ava goes behind his back and agrees to perform it for Cece, causing them to have a heated confrontation at the hospital. Ava prevails, but at the cost of putting Cece at significant risk in recovery. (“Old Flames, New Sparks”). Ava becomes increasingly jealous of Connor and Robin ("The Space Between Us"), she returns to stealing Connor's patients and surgeries, raising her profile with the hospital's administration at his expensive ("Tell Me The Truth").

When Cornelius Rhodes visits the hospital as a board member, Connor sees him looking unwell and insists that he get examined, despite Cornelius' protests. Discovering a hole in Cornelius' heart, Connor is insistent that his reluctant father get surgery to repair it. However, Connor becomes trapped in a hostage situation at the hospital, involving another patient. While he is away, Ava performs the surgery on Cornelius. ("Never Let You Go"). Connor later discovers that Cornelius will require a second surgery, to correct an error in the previous one and confronts Ava, accusing her of botching the surgery on Cornelius deliberately. However, the head of their department, Dr. Isidore Latham, later tells Connor that the issue was due to a faulty patch placed on Cornelius' heart, and not Ava's technique. Connor apologizes to Ava, who accuses him of trying to deliberately hurt her, and tells him she regrets their break up but is owed an apology for everything else as well. ("More Harm Than Good"). While Connor works on rebuilding his relationship with Cornelius, and his ex-girlfriend, Robin, Ava continues to pursue Connor. When Cornelius codes at the hospital, Connor rushes back to find Ava attempting to revive him. Despite their efforts, Cornelius dies. ("Forever Hold Your Peace")

After Cornelius' death, the Medical Examiner informs Connor that he was administered a fatal dose of insulin, despite not having been prescribed the medication. While Connor suspects Ava was involved in his father's death, Ava sees the situation as opportunity to get back together with Connor. Ava tells Connor that Cornelius was the impediment to their relationship, and with him gone, there should be nothing holding them back, but Connor refuses, telling her they will never get back together. Infuriated, Ava walks away from him. ("With a Brave Heart").

Season 5[]

Connor and Ava are both interviewed by the police in connection with Cornelius' death, and it becomes clear that the police consider Connor to be a suspect, given his very public history of feuding with his father. At the hospital, Connor accuses Ava directly of being involved in his father's murder, which she denies, filing a complaint with the hospital administration against Connor in response. Finally, their supervisor, Dr Latham, in a last-ditch attempt to get his department to return to normal, decides to test the insulin which caused Cornelius Rhodes' death. The insulin was revealed to be tainted with chromium which is traceable, while the insulin itself isn't. Realizing that she is soon to be caught, Ava walks away while Connor follows her. She begs him to allow her to run away and never be seen or heard from again. She admits to murdering Cornelius, and says that she did it for him and that they could have been so happy together if Connor hadn't ruined it. After Connor refuses to let her go, she cuts her carotid artery with a scalpel. She is immediately taken into surgery but dies on the table. ("Never Going Back To Normal").

Memorable Quotes[]

(to : Connor Rhodes) - “Not at all, I just hate winning by default.”

(to : Ethan Choi) - “Excuse me, you’re an emergency medicine resident. Why are you even talking?”

(to: Connor Rhodes) - "Sometimes, the ends justify the means."

(to : Natalie Manning) - “Until you know for sure, don’t let your mind take you to a bad place. Stay focused on right now.”

(to : Patient’s Parents) - “I believe that whenever you do something out of love, it can never be wrong.”

(to : Connor Rhodes) - "I'm a universal donor."

(to : Connor Rhodes) - "We could've been so happy. You ruined it all. You really are an ungrateful prick."

Notes and Trivia[]

  • She was from South Africa.
  • Her blood type was O-negative.
  • Her time of death was 16:22.
  • Dr. Latham remarked on more than one occasion to Connor that Ava was actually his first choice for a fellowship under his wing.
  • Connor was the only one who called her Avey.
  • Ava and Connor had a 8 or 9 year age gap.
  • It is never made fully explicit that she slept with Cornelius, but it is strongly implied;
  • While never specified, her actions (killing Cornelius because she saw him as the one preventing her relationship with Connor, trying to frame Connor when he rejected her anyway and then killing herself when she was about to be arrested) seem to indicate a borderline personality disorder: a psychiatric condition characterized, among other things, by the fear and refusal of abandonment, whether real or only perceived, that can lead to violent and psychotic conduct to prevent it and/or when it occurs.
  • She owned fish.
  • She wore size 6 and 1/2 gloves.
  • She was seen with both an iPhone 8+ and iPhone XR on the show.
  • Ava is the first and only main character to be killed off.
    • She's also the first and only female main character to be killed off.
    • She's also the first and only main character to kill off a non-main character (Cornelius Rhodes).
    • Norma Kuhling also portrays LAPD SWAT Medic Nora Fowler in the 2017 series S.W.A.T.




Season 2
Soul Care Win Loss Natural History Brother's Keeper Extreme Measures
Alternative Medicine Inherent Bias Free Will Uncharted Territory Heart Matters
Graveyard Shift Mirror Mirror Theseus' Ship Cold Front Lose Yourself
Prisoner's Dilemma Monday Mourning Lesson Learned Ctrl Alt Generation Gap
Deliver Us White Butterflies Love Hurts
Season 3
Speak Your Truth Nothing to Fear Trust Your Gut Naughty or Nice Mountains and Molehills
Ties That Bind Over Troubled Water Lemons and Lemonade On Shaky Ground Down By Law
Folie à Deux Born This Way Best Laid Plans Lock It Down Devil in Disguise
An Inconvenient Truth The Parent Trap This Is Now Crisis of Confidence The Tipping Point
Season 4
Be My Better Half When to Let Go Heavy Is the Head Backed Against the Wall What You Don't Know
Lesser of Two Evils The Poison Inside Us Play by My Rules Death Do Us Part All the Lonely People
Who Can You Trust The Things We Do Ghosts in the Attic Can't Unring That Bell We Hold These Truths
Old Flames, New Sparks The Space Between Us Tell Me the Truth Never Let You Go More Harm Than Good
Forever Hold Your Peace With a Brave Heart
Season 5
Never Going Back to Normal We're Lost in the Dark In the Valley of the Shadows Infection, Part II Got a Friend in Me
It's All in the Family Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings Too Close to the Sun I Can’t Imagine the Future Guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore
The Ground Shifts Beneath Us Leave the Choice to Solomon Pain Is for the Living It May Not Be Forever I Will Do No Harm
Who Should Be the Judge The Ghosts of the Past In the Name of Love Just a River in Egypt A Needle in the Heart

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