Gretchen Polk, Complications
Gretchen Polk (Jessica Szohr)
Gretchen Polk was an ER nurse and one of the lead characters, as series protagonist John Ellison’s most indispensable ally. After John witnessed a drive-by shooting in which a little boy was injured, he and Gretchen became partners in fighting an ongoing a gang war. Gretchen was portrayed as sassy, with a quick temper and a reckless streak, but also smart and capable.
Over the course of Season 1, more of Gretchen’s backstory was revealed: she had an addict sister she was protecting and she was in and out of foster care during her adolescence. She was openly gay and her sexuality was treated as a non-issue on the show. When she was asked out by a male character, Gretchen responded with “I don’t like sushi, I don’t like guys, and I don’t like you.”
Gretchen’s girlfriend Liz was introduced in episode 3, but only got a very few minutes of screen time. Liz was not involved in the main story arc, and the relationship seemed present only establish that Gretchen was a lesbian and give her a home life. Liz, like John’s wife Sam, was shown to be unhappy with Gretchen’s new life as a vigilante, however, she did not appear in the season’s last 3 episodes and that storyline was never explored further.
With the central plot of the show focusing on John and Gretchen’s involvement in the gang war, John’s wife Samantha served a similar purpose to Liz. However, the character of Samantha was also part of the main cast and the heterosexual relationship was developed significantly more.
The show was cancelled after one season.
- 10 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Liz (Chelsea Hayes, lesbian, guest, 3 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a woman: Yes
No male love interests
Relationship story arc with a man: No
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? No
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.