Here at The Champ Box we’ve been rather taken by Chicago Fire so we will be posting weekly recaps once season 2 commences on September 24. As an introduction to the show, we thought we’d present the key players to you and sum up the main storylines from season 1. *SPOILER ALERT* This recap contains information about the entire season including the action in the finale and storylines that have been set up for season 2.
Chicago Fire is a Dick Wolf production. I’ve been a long time fan of the Law and Order franchise so I had an idea of what to expect from a show in his stable. And I think it delivers – it’s well written and trust me, you’ll grow to care about the characters as they are so darn likeable and well, authentic. Being a Dick Wolf show, not everything ends happily and there are lots of heart string moments 🙂 and some pretty cool rescues (and I am a rescue geek so I love this aspect of the show). Steph pretty much said the same on her blog (#hivemind!) when she posted an introduction to the show earlier in the year. Check it out here.
The action centres on Fire House 51 which is a rather special House because it has a squad of firefighters (Truck 81 or ‘Truck’) and a rescue squad (Rescue 3, or ‘Squad’) and paramedics (Ambulance 61). This is quite interesting to me because I am a rescue geek and in Australia, our paramedics work out of the hospitals and we have police rescue squads as well. Anyway, the show explores the personal and professional lives of the team at House 51 and there’s drama aplenty with this large ensemble cast. They have each other’s backs and operate as a family but just like any family, there is conflict. There’s some rivalry between the two squads as Rescue Squad is the more elite of the two – these firefighters focus mostly on tricky rescues and get to use awesome tools like the ’jaws of life’ and the sawzall.
The team at House 51 is headed up by Battalion 25 Chief, Wallace Boden. This man is so awesome we call him CA, for Chief Awesome. He’s played by British actor, Eamonn Walker, who has a deep, serious voice and, as Alicia has said to me, he has a little trouble enunciating his words sometimes. But what we can make out, we think is pretty darn awesome. CA has been around forever and he has the scars to prove it. He’s a terrific example of a great leader – he is entirely dedicated to his team and he has absolutely earned their loyalty and respect. He makes tough decisions sometimes but lives by the ethos “leaders lead from the front.” There are too many examples of his awesomeness to mention; just trust us when we say that he’s a wonderful leader and the glue that holds the House together.
The fire fighting squad, Truck 81, is headed up by Lieutenant Matthew Casey, played by Jesse Spencer. Look, little Billy Kennedy is all growed up! I’m chuffed that an Australian actor whom I first saw on television when he was a teenager has a lead role in this show. I agree with Steph’s observation on her blog about the Australian accent – I reckon Jesse sounds like he’d much rather be speaking Oz. Like me! Matt has a strong moral compass and is seriously dedicated to his job. His Serious Face is a sight to behold and he brings it out regularly. He’s a CA in the making for sure. There’s some rivalry between Casey and the head of the Rescue Squad but it’s not over-egged and I think better that the writers don’t go down the bromance route with these two characters anyway as there are plenty of other strong partnerships on the show.
Here is Casey’s truck team:
The most experienced firefighter is Christopher Herrmann, played by David Eigenberg. Herrmann’s the family man of the House, with five children and counting by the end of the season. Herrmann is totally competent on the job but hopeless with financial decisions in his personal life and he always comes up short in his ‘get rich quick’ schemes. His father and brother run a successful business but Herrmann seems to have missed out on the financial nous gene. But he’s so adorable even if he’s grumpy most of the time.
There’s a candidate in the fire fighting squad, Peter Mills (played by Charlie Barnett). Mills is young and enthusiastic and he has Rescue Squad aspirations, to follow in the footsteps of his father who served with CA and the current Rescue Squad lieutenant’s father, but was tragically killed in the line of duty when Mills was young. His mother and sister run a diner and his mother would much rather her son work there than risk his life as a firefighter. He’s dead keen to improve himself and he’s clearly got the chops for it, he’s just a bit petulant and immature at times.
Brian Zvonecek, played by Yuri Sardarov, was the previous candidate and he’s now been promoted to the lifts, hence the nickname Otis. Otis is smart and funny but often feels overlooked and unappreciated by his fellow firefighters. He is of Russian descent and his cousin, Zoya, is introduced later in the season and I believe she will be back for season 2. He comes from a family of doctors but has always wanted to be a firefighter. He’s the joker of the House but also has a serious side, witnessed in the podcasts he creates about the life of a firefighter. He spends some time relieving at another fire house where he feels more valued and considers transferring there until he is convinced to stay put. I’m glad because he’s a good character and the writers gave him a greater role around the middle of the season when he entered into a business partnership with two of his colleagues.
Randy McHolland, played by Christian Stolte, is another of the experienced firefighters in Casey’s squad. I actually had to look up this character’s name because he’s only ever called Mouch – as in part man, part couch. Mouch has a special spot on the couch and spends his non-fire fighting time eating and watching television. He’s a bit of a dinosaur and a bumbler but he’s kind and often surprises everyone with his unique solutions to problems. He’s the House’s Union rep and is involved in helping out several members of the team when they face disciplinary action. For most of the season he is involved in an online relationship with a mystery Japanese woman but she arrives in the finale and she’s totes adorable. I hope this isn’t a scam!
Joe Minoso plays Joe Cruz who is Truck’s resident driver. He’s the most peripheral of the main characters although we do know that he’s come from a troubled background and his brother has been involved with gangs. He’s part of one of the main arcs of the season involving a decision he makes to protect his brother. See Part 2 for more on this.
Rescue Squad 3 is led by Lieutenant Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, whom we have taken to calling HHF, for Handsome Heroic Firefighter, partly because Severide sounds way too much like Severus Snape and partly because HE IS handsome and heroic. Severide is my favourite character and not just because he’s a wonder of nature (the scruff, the greys, the beautiful eyes and the tooth-gap smile – sigh). He’s the best bad boy with a heart of gold on television right now. He has charisma in spades, is strong and good at his job, and he’s at his best when helping little old ladies. He’s a bit of a player but at the same time, he’s kind and generous and an all round decent guy. Check out that faaaaaace!
The other members of Rescue Squad are very much peripheral characters. There’s Capp and Hadley (as shown in the picture below with HHF). Hadley was transferred late in the season after he took joke-playing on Candidate Mills too far. And then there was poor Vargas to spent 10 years trying to make Rescue Squad and once he did, was injured on the job and had to retire.
The paramedics of Ambulance 61 are both women and they are total BAMFs and generally great examples of strong female characters on television. I love these two! Leslie Shay is played by Lauren German and she does a great job with the role and I’m happy for her after all that she had to put up with on H50. Shay is responsible for two of the finest partnerships on the show. She’s paramedic partner and friend to Gabriela Dawson, played by the stunning Monica Raymund, and these two had some of the best scenes together of the season. Shay is the snark-with-heart and Dawson is the career-oriented-fierce-but-flawed one although they are both passionate about their jobs and their friendship. They are called to some extremely distressing incidents and they work well together as a team, showing strength and compassion for the people they help and a sense of humour when the occasion calls for it.
Shay is a lesbian and part of the other partnership of the show that intrigues me – her friendship with HHF. They are flatmates and besties and stick together through thick and thin although Shay’s tough enough to call HHF out on his sh*t when needed. HHF says at one point that Shay is the only person he trusts. He’s not afraid to show his affection for her and the two of them are a joy to watch.
Honourable mention number 1 is Antonio Dawson, Gaby’s brother and detective with the CPD, played by Jon Seda. He will be in the spin- off series, Chicago PD. He’s a total bad ass but he loves his sister to bits. In season 1, Antonio is shot during a drug investigation and Gaby, at great risk, finds the necessary information to put the drug guys away. Antonio tells her how proud he is to be her brother *sniff*.
Sergeant Hank Voight, played brilliantly by Jason Beghe, is also going to be in the spin-off series. Voight was a dirty cop who harassed Casey and his girlfriend at the start of the season but later becomes Antonio’s boss in the Intelligence Unit. I love this character – there’s something charismatic about Jason Beghe with his gravelly voice and the twinkle in his eye. I know that he’s been a dirty cop but I can’t help but like him. He respects both Dawsons and you have to give him props for that.
Robyn Coffin plays Herrmann’s wife, Cindy, and she deserves a mention as she’s just plain awesome and knows what it takes to be a firefighter’s wife. She supports Herrmann though his failed business ventures and is considered part of the House 51 family.
Now that you have been introduced to the main players, let’s summarise the key story arcs from season 1 – on to Part 2!