NBC Drama Chicago Fire Puts the Spotlight on First Responders
Chicago Fire is a drama that follows the lives of the firefighters, rescue squad, and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51. It is a show that gives us a look at the complex lives of everyday heroes committed to the noblest of professions that can also be counted among the most stressful and dangerous, as well as exhilarating.
The series has a great good-looking cast with stars Jesse Spencer as Lt. Matthew Casey, Taylor Kinney as Lt. Kelly Severide, Charlie Barnett as Firefighter Peter Mills, Monica Raymund as Paramedic Gabriela Dawson, Lauren German as Paramedic Leslie Shay, Eamonn Walker as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, and David Eigenberg as Firefighter Christopher Herrmann. They all bring excitement to Chicago Fire, now in its second season on NBC, airing Tuesday nights at 10. It’s been on a little hiatus but returns to the air on Nov. 12.
It’s not just the fire-of-the-week show, but the show does have the actors working with pyrotechnics special effects, and fire can be scary. David Eigenberg explained, “It’s a good thing that we’re wearing real firefighter gear. But that also means it’s really heavy and we sweat a lot.”
There was training before the series started, and Taylor Kinney reported, “We did ride-alongs with the firefighters and learned about the brotherhood and camaraderie. It’s kind of jovial at the firehouse, but when that bell rings, they flip a switch and do their job. They’re all pretty amazing.”
Jesse Spencer said, “We call them heroes engaged in a very noble profession, but that’s from an outsider’s perspective. Our show is taking a look at how the guys and gals see themselves, not as heroes but as people concentrating on doing a job, a dangerous job they love. And they have to work together as a unit, even though they run into situations and have issues with each other, and sometimes they might not necessarily like each other that much. But once they become a unit, they do what they do best.”
Eamonn Walker said he did some training at the fire academy “that got us through a great deal of fire and smoke mock situations to get us up to speed so we have a better idea what firemen do.” And the cast, crew, writers, and producers work closely with current and former firefighters with filming taking place at an actual firehouse in the Chicago area.
Eigenberg is a former Marine who served from 1982 to 1986, and he compared the Marine’s training to that of firefighters. “When you go through boot camp in the Marine Corps, you’re asked to go above and beyond. The same with these people, they’re amazing,” the former Sex and the City actor said. He also had high praise for his castmates. “I’ve done a lot of plays on Broadway, and I love actors, but sometimes they can get a little bit prissy or something. Not these guys (the Chicago Fire cast). I would follow any of them into any kind of situation. That may be because Mr. (Dick) Wolf is around and we are in awe of him and want to do our best for him.”
Producer Dick Wolf, renowned for his Law & Order franchise, is the force behind the high-octane Chicago Fire, along with creators Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, plus showrunner Matt Olmstead. The show is from Universal Television and Wolf Films, and a spin-off, Chicago P.D., has been announced by NBC and will have a Jan. 8 debut. Chicago P.D. will star Jason Beghe (Thelma & Louise, G.I. Jane), Jon Seda (HBO’s Treme), and Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) as Windy City cops. The new show has its precinct set just a couple of blocks from the Chicago Fire firehouse so fans can expect some crossovers.