Chicago Fire season 10 is a milestone for several reasons. Not only does it put the NBC show into double digits, it will also feature the series’ 200th episode! As part of my Fall TV Interviews series, I spoke with showrunner and co-creator Derek Haas about both those topics and the other changes that are taking place both in front of and behind the camera on the first One Chicago series.
Brittany Frederick: This is a major season for Chicago Fire, so did you approach producing or writing the season any differently?
Derek Haas: Yes. Less because of season 10 and more because we had our 200th episode coming up, which is the fifth episode this year. We really built a storyline heading towards the fifth episode which, it’s weird, because generally speaking, we promote the premiere. We promote the winter finale. We promote any other big cliffhangers. We don’t usually promote the fifth episode. But I think this year it’s going to be different.
BF: We spoke a few seasons ago about how you had limits to how far characters could move up and you still keep them on the show. Going into Chicago Fire season 10, Firehouse 51 now has three Lieutenants and a Captain. Plus, these are now characters we’ve followed for a decade. So has the overall dynamic of the show changed at all as people get promoted or just get older?
DH: I don’t know that the dynamic has changed, because we still try to fill every episode with some personal stories, some drama in the firehouse or outside the firehouse, comedy, some suspense, and action, all those things. I think individual episodes that we write, you’re just trying to put on all those hats at once.
And then as far as the characters, seeing further into their future…for me, it’s fun because you get to play off of really, really long history. Ten years of history, which is very human. Somebody might come back into your life that you haven’t seen in a while.
BF: The one cast change this season was promoting Hanako Greensmith to series regular. You’ve written for her as a guest star, then a recurring, and now what can we expect with Violet being a series regular and thus able to have longer-term storylines?
DH: Definitely she’s more fixed in Firehouse 51 this season. What I really liked last year [is] we ended the season with Ritter, Gallo and Violet saying, we should do a business like Molly’s. Herrmann and Mouch have Molly’s, and Casey has his construction business, we should do a business. We just jumped on that [in season 10]. We’re going to see a lot more of Gallo, Violet and Ritter, which we always think is fun.
BF: Chicago Fire season 10 is also the first season of Brett and Casey being in a relationship. You spent years building those characters to this point, so now that you’ve reached it, how do you write for them going forward?
DH: That’s how you open up a writer for writer’s room, is you say “What’s next?” (laughs) You say, “What’s the drama that we can bring either within this relationship, outside of this relationship? What’s the conflict or the resolution going forward?” That’s when the best ideas start flowing and then you just build stories around those. We’re going to see a lot of things happen with Brett and Casey in these first five episodes, for sure.
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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