Warming Up with “Chicago Fire”

Chicago Fire

A Review of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” by Tiffany A. White

With the new fall television season finally here, I’ve decided to feature a show that I am looking forward to returning… NBC’s Chicago Fire.

There’s just something about firefighters… they’re sexy, courageous, generous, and did I mention sexy? But seriously, can you imagine the pressure our firefighters are under on a daily basis? Saving lives; risking their lives; protecting everyone, including one another, at all costs; living with some of the highest levels of stress imaginable—they really are heroes.

Created by Dick Wolf (creator of all the Law & Order series), Chicago Fire follows a group of firefighters and paramedics as they serve Chicago and work to maintain and balance their personal lives. And, as if the job isn’t tough enough, the new drama starts off with these brave men and women losing one of their own.

Now, we all know that every fire starts with an ignition source; and with Chicago Fire, that source would be the sexiness. Just look at this cast: Jesse Spencer (House) as Lt. Matthew Casey; Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries) as Lt. Kelly Severide; Eamonn Walker (Oz) as Chief Wallace Boden; Charlie Barnett (Men in Black 3) as Firefighter Peter Mills; and Lauren German (Happy Town and Hawaii Five-0) as Paramedic Leslie Shay. The series also stars David Eigenberg (Sex and the City) as Firefighter Christopher Herrmann, and a few ladies I’m not all that familiar with (Monica Raymund and Teri Reeves). Plus, for those Fairly Legal fans (may the show rest in peace), Sarah Shahi joined the cast in a recurring role; but now she’s on Person of Interest, so I’m not sure how much she’ll be around in season two.

But, is all of this eye candy enough to keep us coming back for more?

If this series is anything, it is dramatic. We watch the firefighters and paramedics deal with addiction, guilt, blame, stress, heartbreak, and injuries. Every week, the brave men and women rush out to all sorts of emergencies—fires, wrecks, and other life-threatening situations. By definition, this makes Chicago Fire a procedural drama. However, the series also has ongoing storylines from week to week, making it a serial as well.

I chatted with a volunteer firefighter about NBC’s program, and let’s just say he’s not so thrilled with the end result. He mentioned that the cast and crew spent months following an actual Fire Department (if I remember correctly, I think he even said a Chicago Fire Department), and from what he could tell, the creators took certain liberties with how real firefighters do their job. Sadly, he said firefighters never undress and strip down to a bare chest in the street after battling a fire. I say sadly because I know many of us women wouldn’t mind seeing this happen, and thankfully the creators give us this tiny gift on the television screen.

Heehee. Sorry, back to being serious…

My fire fighting friend also stated that paramedics never ask anyone involved in a horrible crash to turn their necks, especially not a small child. He added that the fireman do not use their radio system to talk trash or do anything else that’s unprofessional over the air waves. All of this may not be true of every single fire house in the world, but these were his thoughts on the program, and he wished the writers would make it a bit more realistic while still making it interesting for the television audience.

I also visited with a good friend of mine, who just happens to be the wife of a former firefighter. She and her husband watch Chicago Fire together; and while he does agree that not everything is completely protocol on the show, he believes most of it to be surprisingly accurate. As one very familiar with these types of situations, he was impressed to see the series take the time to explain how the Chief “reads” the smoke and predicts what the fire is doing prior to sending in his team. He also feels the dynamics between the firefighters with one another, with their families, and with the hospital staffs are represented fairly well.

All of this said, I realize Chicago Fire is a fictional television program. I did not let any of the inconsistencies with what firefighters and paramedics actually do sway me away from watching. I like Dick Wolf. I like a few of the actors, particularly Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, and Lauren German. I like the fresh idea of a series with firefighters and paramedics when most of today’s TV centers around police procedurals, the supernatural, and sitcoms.

I didn’t watch season one religiously, but I also didn’t delete Chicago Fire from the DVR. I’d like to see what they have in store for viewers in the second year, especially considering they have landed a spinoff coming later… Chicago PD.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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