The cast and crew of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med and the forthcoming Chicago Justice, recently gave CASSIUS the VIP treatment with an inside look into the world of first responders on television.
We had the opportunity to not only visit the sets of all three shows in the heart of Chicago, but we got a chance to spend the day with some of the actors and producers and learn a lot about the city, too.
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly three million people. According to the Chicago Tribune, in the first half of 2017, 323 people died as a result of violence. The city is on track to top 700 homicides for a second consecutive year, a mark that had otherwise not been reached in two decades.
What does that mean for the shows of Chicago? Simple: Networks have a huge responsibility to realistically reflect the city. Here are three fun facts and six fire quotes we got from the “One Chicago Day” event that illustrate exactly how it’s done.
1. Each show has a consultant with real experience from a police department, a local emergency room, or a fire department. Each actor is assigned to a consultant for reference to all the procedures of each organization, which helps make all the scenes look and feel as authentic as possible.
2. The shows film ten months out of the year, giving the actors and staff two months off before getting back to work. There are certain days that are dedicated purely to training, and—after running through their regimen—we can tell you that it is rigorous.
3. Many of the stories are derived from real situations and the true experiences of the consultants attached to each show.
“For the most part people don’t understand what police officers have to endure from the time they wake up, till the time they lay down. Because of this show, now we do, and for this reason alone, I have a huge amount of respect for the women and men of the Chicago PD.”
John Seda, Chicago PD
“[Chicago officers] are doing a job where they don’t know if they are coming home, and for that, I take a deep responsibility in portraying that to the very best of my ability.”
Jason Beghe, Chicago PD
“Chicago is a fascinating place to be a police officer. It’s a complicated place, and it’s especially complicated to be a cop. Racial issues, white cops, the African American communities, there’s a story here. And we are happy to capture them in a realistic way.”
Rick Eld, executive producer of Chicago PD
“Our job is to raise the issues in a very honest way. Not necessarily picking a winner, but letting the audience decide who was right and who was wrong. But building a story based around pure honesty and real emotion.”
Eriq La Salle, Executive Producer of Chicago PD
“It’s even more difficult being a woman working for the fire department, and even more difficult to be a woman of color. And I talk to our consultant, Michelle Martinez, a lot about it because it’s not a role where women are taken very seriously. Women have a tough time, but the women who do it are incredibly strong, and incredibly brave, so I don’t see any other option but strength when playing my role as Dobson.”
Monica Raymond, Chicago Fire
“I’ve got dope cops stories, growing up in Harvey. And honestly, more bad than good. So imagine me approaching this job. I didn’t expect to fall in love with not just the character, but the culture of cops. I ended up having a basketball coach who was a cop, and ended up leading the investigation into my cousin’s murder. I think about him a lot when trying to bring out the good part in cops and my character.”
La Royce Hawkins, Chicago PD
You can catch up on the entire Chicago franchise here.