‘Chicago P.D.’ and ‘One Tree Hill’ Gave Sophia Bush ‘Poisoned’ and ‘Jarring’ TV Experiences

On the new CBS medical drama Good Sam, Sophia Bush plays cardiothoracic surgeon Sam Griffith. She’s balancing a promotion to head of cardiothoracic surgery, overseeing her stern father and former employer as he returns to work after a six-month coma post-gunshot wound, and experiencing a burgeoning love triangle on the job.

However, Bush’s return to network television wasn’t an easy one. She left Chicago P.D. and her earlier hit show, One Tree Hill, a teen drama that ran for nine seasons on the WB and then the CW from 2003-12. Both of her exits were largely due to toxic workplace situations that she claims she encountered on the sets. Let’s look at Bush’s career and why she chose to give network TV another shot.

Sophia Bush’s career spans nearly two decades

Sophia Bush waves to cameras at the 2021 Emmy Awards
Good Sam star Sophia Bush at the 2021 Emmy Awards | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Bush wears many hats, including actress, activist, director, and producer. She starred as Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill from 2003-12. Bush also played Erin Lindsay in the NBC police procedural drama series Chicago P.D. from 2014-17. The 39-year-old currently produces and stars as Dr. Samantha “Sam” Griffith on Good Sam

Bush also appeared in films like John Tucker Must Die, The Narrows, The Hitcher, Chalet Girl, Acts of Violence, and Incredibles 2. The Pasadena, California, native is involved in social activism; she’s worked with the Time’s Up movement and DoSomething.org. Being involved in several projects has certainly given Bush a lot of experience in Hollywood. And some of it wasn’t so great.

Toxic workplaces in Hollywood

Bush, along with former One Tree Hill co-star Hilarie Burton and other female cast members, released a statement. They accused producer Mark Schwahn of “traumatizing” sexual harassment throughout the show’s nine-season run from 2003-12.

Bush told USA Today, “It was a very jarring thing, to have the two longest-running jobs that I’ve done in my career be poisoned with this kind of behavior that ran the gamut of severity. It really made me rethink what I wanted to do.” 

Regarding her later experience with Chicago PD, she claims the environment was an abusive one as well. Bush was told that she was stuck in a seven-year contract with no way out. She elaborated that it felt “like I was standing butt-naked, bruised and bleeding in the middle of Times Square, screaming at the top of my lungs and not a single person stopped to ask if they could help me.”

Sophia Bush’s new role on ‘Good Sam’

These days, Bush is finding network TV to be less toxic. Her new show, Good Sam, airs on CBS Wednesdays at 10:00 pm EST. According to Insider, Bush made it clear that she would not take part in any show that devalued her again, adding that she was “incredibly proud to set the kind of tone on a set that does lead with empathy” and “leads with deep respect for every single person on it.”

She added, “Every single person on our set knows that they’re valued, loved, and appreciated and knows that we do not take the effort that they make to create a show with us for granted ever.”

Having learned a few lessons, Bush has definitely seen the underbelly of Hollywood and come out on the other side. Her work in activism is a testament to her journey, and she is taking her experience to let other actors know they should not have to suffer through abuse for the sake of their careers.

RELATED: ‘Good Sam’: Why Sophia Bush Was Destined to Play Dr. Sam Griffith