Eamonn Walker, Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer in CHICAGO FIRE - Season 1 - "Viral" | ©2013 NBC/Matt Dinerstein

Eamonn Walker, Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer in CHICAGO FIRE - Season 1 - "Viral" | ©2013 NBC/Matt Dinerstein

NBC’s CHICAGO FIRE has been such a hit for the network that last spawned a spin-off, CHICAGO P.D., which has also been a success. Spin-offs are nothing new for the two series’ executive producer Dick Wolf, who has also been the power behind NBC’s massive LAW & ORDER franchise. LAW & ORDER: SVU is now in its sixteenth season, Wednesdays at 9 PM. The original LAW & ORDER ran twenty seasons and also launched LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY, LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES and the ongoing BBC LAW & ORDER: UK.

Wolf is on a Q&A panel that NBC holds for CHICAGO FIRE (Tuesdays at 10 PM) and CHICAGO P.D. (Wednesdays at 10 PM) for the Television Critics Association. Asked about the three-episode crossover between the two CHICAGO series and SVU, Wolf tells the TV journalists that he and Tom Fontana did crossovers between the original LAW & ORDER and another show they produced, HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET.

“The two years that we did [crossovers], I believe that they were the highest-rated episodes for each show that season,” Wolf says. “So it’s always been in the back of my mind that whenever you can do this on a rational basis, it’s synergistic. Actually, strangely enough, there are people who love LAW & ORDER or they love SVU, and there are people who love FIRE and others that love P.D. And when you bring them together, you get both sides exposed to new characters. So I just think it’s a win-win. You can’t do it too often, but two, three times a season, that’s catnip.”

CHICAGO FIRE and CHICAGO P.D. are currently having a crossover arc. Firefighter Severide (Taylor Kinney) and paramedic Dawson (Monica Raymund) have found evidence that suggests the fire that killed their friend Shay (erstwhile regular Lauren German) was the result of arson, which means reaching out to the police.

Wolf talks about writing Shay out of CHICAGO FIRE and the resulting crossover. “It’s sort of a double-gated thing. Obviously, if [an actor] is leaving, you want to maximize the effect, and it’s a very dangerous business. That’s why that methodology was chosen. Leave-takings are always bittersweet, but you’re always looking for ways to do them that are unexpected, or, in this case, was a major cliffhanger.”

Away from the Q&A session, Wolf has time for a little more discussion.

ASSIGNMENT X: Do you have a favorite aspect of working on a police show versus a fire show?

DICK WOLF: No. I like them both. I like cop shows.

Elias Koteas in CHICAGO P.D. - Season 1 - "At Least It's Justice" | ©2014 NBC/Matt Dinerstein

Elias Koteas in CHICAGO P.D. - Season 1 - "At Least It's Justice" | ©2014 NBC/Matt Dinerstein

AX: How long do you enjoy seeing an investigation run within the show? I mean, what’s your ideal amount of episodes for a case to run?

WOLF: Can’t be answered. I mean, it depends on – most of them are standalone A stories that get done in one episode.

AX: CHICAGO FIRE has gigantic action sequences. Had you dealt before on a regular basis with the kinds of production challenges it looks like you’ve got on that show?

WOLF: On and off for thirty years. We’ve done other shows that have great physical production, too. The UPM on BACKDRAFT is our line producer on [CHICAGO FIRE] and John Roman has worked with me for the past fifteen years. So it’s not unknown territory. [But] it’s not fire of the week.

AX: What do you most want people to get out of CHICAGO FIRE?

WOLF: That the people who do this for a living are regular people who do extraordinary things, and what makes them do that?

 

Related:  Interview with CHICAGO P.D. star Elias Koteas

Related:Exclusive Interview with CHICAGO FIRE star Taylor Kinney on Season 2

Related: Exclusive Interview with CHICAGO FIRE star Jesse Spencer on Season 2

Related: Interview with CHICAGO FIRE star Jesse Spencer

Related: Interview with CHICAGO FIRE star Taylor Kinney on the NBC series and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

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Article:  Interview with CHICAGO P.D. and CHICAGO FIRE co-creator Dick Wolf

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