Show has burn­ing am­bi­tion

Vows to gets its heat from emo­tional blazes, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

ELE­VI­SION shows about fire­fight­ers have been as plen­ti­ful as camp­fires at an ar­son jam­boree. Dick Wolf, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the lat­est se­ries set in a fire­house, Chicago Fire, prom­ises that while the genre’s fa­mil­iar, the sto­ries will be dif­fer­ent.

In other words, this won’t be a fire-ofthe-week pro­gram but will get its heat from emo­tional blazes.

‘‘It’s a char­ac­ter study about peo­ple who do things that you can’t pay peo­ple to do,’’ says Wolf.

‘‘You can’t pay peo­ple to run into burn­ing build­ings. So it is a can­vas for good writ­ing and writ­ing that you haven’t seen for a while on net­work tele­vi­sion. What we’re try­ing to do here is a very, very clas­sic, adult, NBC plat­inum drama.’’

Wolf uses the term ‘‘plat­inum’’ to de­scribe shows that blend good writ­ing and in­ter­est­ing characters to be­come long-run­ning suc­cesses. Go­ing for plat­inum with Chicago Fire means most of the ac­tion will fo­cus on the daily lives and loves of the fire­fight­ers, res­cue squad and paramedics who share Chicago Fire­house 51.

If there’s a cen­tral spark, it comes from Lieu­tenant Matthew Casey, played by Aus­tralian Jesse Spencer ( House, Neigh­bours), who’s in charge of the truck. The rest of the cast in­cludes Tay­lor Kin­ney, Teri Reeves, Ea­monn Walker, Mon­ica Ray­mund, Lau­ren Ger­man, Char­lie Bar­nett and David Ei­gen­berg.

Part of the phi­los­o­phy of the show is that while the fire­fight­ers are gen­er­ally her­alded as heroes, they see what they do as just a job.

‘‘They have a very no­ble pro­fes­sion, but I think that’s a very out­sider per­spec­tive and that’s where our show is good, be­cause we’re con­cen­trat­ing on the characters,’’ says Spencer. ‘‘They don’t see them­selves as heroes. They’re guys, they’re gals, and they’re do­ing their job and it’s a dan­ger­ous job and they run into th­ese sit­u­a­tions and they have is­sues with each other and they might not nec­es­sar­ily like each other that much.

‘‘But once they get to­gether as a unit, they work to­gether as a unit and that’s what they do best.’’

Wolf’s success in the crime drama genre with Law & Or­der re­sulted in sev­eral spinoff shows. Right now, Wolf says he’s not look­ing at a pos­si­ble New York Fire or LA Fire if the Chicago ver­sion be­comes a hit.

He says the first year of any new TV show is more about sur­vival than ex­pan­sion.

7.30pm, Fox8.

Thurs­days,

The cast of in­clud­ing Jesse Spencer, pic­tured sec­ond right.

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