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The "Chicago" franchise has become a major success for NBC, which broadcasts the show and its several spinoffs taking in different aspects of the emergency services. "Chicago Fire" was created by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt but is executive produced by veteran TV writer Dick Wolff through his Wolff Productions company.
In the first season of "Chicago Fire," the focus is on the relationship between two former friends at Firehouse 51 who work closely with a paramedic team, Ambulance 61. Unlike many other emergency services procedurals, "Chicago Fore" looks closely at the effects of events of the lives of the individuals working within the fire department of Chicago.
At the start of season one, we are introduced to a group of firefighters headed by Captain Michael Casey and Lieutenant Kelly Severide who are close friends and co-workers. The firefighters are joking around as they are dispatched to a house fire as they are all confident in the abilities of themselves and their fellow firefighters. Arriving at the fire, the team assess the situation quickly and are told there is another resident trapped in the attic of the building. Casey and his fellow firefighter, Andy Darden make their way to the window of the attic and discuss the chances of survival for the person trapped in the building. Darden makes an impulsive decision to smash the attic window and move inside before he is given any orders to do so.
Severide is also assessing the situation and realizes there are many problems facing the crew, not least the lack of ventilation allowing the power of the fire to escape. Realizing the attic is about to explode, Severide calls for the team to evacuate and save themselves. Casey tries to call for Darden and get him out of the building but cannot do so before the building explodes and Darden is lost.
The next time we meet the members of "Chicago Fire," a month has passed and the team has changed immensely. The close bond between Casey and Severide has been broken by the loss of Darden and the team is struggling to cope with the loss of one of their own members. Into the mess left by the decision of Darden to enter the building recklessly steps Peter Mills, the latest firefighter to attempt to fill the place of Darden.
The lives of the firefighters in "Chicago Fire" are slowly falling to pieces as the team struggles to come to terms with the events of the opening of the pilot episode. The battalion chief calls Casey and Severide into his office and tells the pair they must set aside their differences for the good of the team which is being affected by their daily animosity. While Severide is hiding a mysterious arm injury from his team and taking powerful pain relievers supplied by a paramedic, Leslie, Casey is seeing his world fall apart with his fiancee. The lack of security offered by his job has inspired Casey to try and start a family but his girlfriend, Hallie is not ready to do so and hands him back his ring.
"Chicago Fore" showrunners Derek Haas and Michael Brandt have a long history of working in TV and film across the media. Haas first became a successful novelist writing the "Silver Bear" trilogy of novels and developing scripts for movies such as "2 Fast 2 Furious" and "Invincible." The creative pair met in the late-1990s and have worked together often ever since with Brandt finding his way to producing movies and TV shows following his work as an assistant director on the movie, "The Faculty."
The TV veteran, Jesse Spencer plays the role of Captain Matthew Casey following a successful career in his native Australia and in the U.S. Spencer began his acting career in 1994 when he took the role of Billy Kennedy in the successful Australian soap opera, "Neighbours." Spencer left the show in 2000 and moved to the U.S. where he found international fame as Dr. Chase in the Fox TV show, "House."
Julliard School graduate, Monica Raymund had an auspicious start to her acting career with the respected school allowing her the chance to perform onstage for many respected directors. She would go on to become a popular figure for her TV roles in shows such as "Lie To Me," and "The Good Wife." Raymund has appeared in "Chicago Fire" since 2012 when she began appearing as paramedic Gabriela Dawson.
"Chicago Fire" has remained a location filmed show since its pilot episode was filmed on the streets of the Windy City with no plans to leave for often cheaper locations. The show was not seen as standing a major chance of success by either NBC or the producers but Dick Wolff believed the right chemistry among the actors would help the show achieve success. "Chicago Fire" has already completed seven seasons and has been renewed for an eighth with a series of spinoffs coming from the other emergency services departments featured in the show.
The show has received mixed critical reviews as the themes of the show are often praised but some have stated it is too formulaic to find long-term success. "Chicago Fore" has followed many of the themes and spinoff options used by Dick Wolff in his earlier "Law and Order" franchise to achieve success. "Chicago Fire" has become known for its powerful surge up the TV ratings achieving a peak average of over ten million viewers for its fourth season having grown from around seven million for season one. Metacritic gives "Chicago Fire" an average critical response of just 49 percent but IMDb gives the emergency response-themed show a rating of 7.9 out of 10.
Creating "Chicago Fire" and giving it the title has proven an issue for some who confuse the TV show with the local MLS franchise playing under the "Chicago Fire" moniker. In the early days of the development of the show, the producers asked the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel for permission to use local fire stations for the show. The Mayor agreed on the condition the show provided financial support for the bereaved families of deceased firefighters. The filming of scenes for "Chicago Fire" has caused issues for many in the Chicago area with a local TV news crew reporting on a plane crash later revealed to be a set piece for the show. On a lighter note, Jesse Spencer has remained close to his "House" co-star, Hugh Laurie and performs as a violinist in Laurie's "Band from TV."