It's time to head back to Chicago.
Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD are all poised to make their triumphant returns, and let's just say the emergency business in the Windy City is booming. There are fires to put out, criminals to take down, and deaths to recover from across all three shows, and more than a few questions to answer about where everyone goes from here.
In order to answer those questions, Metacritic caught up with some stars and executive producers from across the One Chicago universe who were able to preview some of what's to come.
They were also able to break the news that fans will continue to have to wait for a major One Chicago crossover event. COVID protocols are still making it difficult to get all three casts together, so for now, we'll all just have to settle for as many mini-crossovers as they could possibly give us, including several in the season premieres as Med and PD characters show up on Fire, and PD and Fire characters show up on Med.
See below for more scoop from each show. All three return Sept. 21 beginning at 8 p.m. on NBC.
The Season 7 finale ended in a blaze as Will's (Nick Gehlfuss) apartment building caught fire with him, Scott (Guy Lockard), Jo (Riley Voelkel), and Hannah (Jessy Schram) inside. Executive producers Andy Schneider and Diane Frolov promise that the premiere is "literally contiguous" with the end of the finale.
"So it's like, who's going to get out of that building? And what's going to happen to them? And what are the repercussions going to be of that fire?" Frolov explains.
But of course, the fire is not the only thing the hospital is dealing with. Ethan (Brian Tee) is reeling from the death of his father, while Crockett (Dominic Rains) is being blamed by Blake (Sarah Rafferty) for making the decision that left her without function in her hands. All of these stories will take off quickly and provide "dramatic fare" throughout Season 8.
The Fire: The premiere starts up right where the finale left off, with what Gehlfuss calls a "classic crossover moment" with Chicago Fire characters hastily working to put out the blaze. Will, as the owner of the apartment building, will immediately start blaming himself.
"Some people make it, some people may not," Schram says. "The effects of the fire are, for some people, long term. But it is active. There's so much going on. There's a lot of action happening with this first episode and with this fire."
Will and Hannah: After a fairly twisted relationship, the two decided to just be friends and neighbors in Will's apartment building, which then immediately caught fire.
"They develop a deeper friendship out of everything," Frolov says. "He's finding out more about her, she's gonna find out more about him, just in terms of understanding one another."
Hannah sustains an injury in the fire that helps Will develop a "deeper sense of empathy for her," Schneider adds, "for what she's overcoming to practice medicine at the level that she is."
As for whether there's a romantic future still in the cards for them, that's TBD. They have to start over as friends first, and romance could blossom out of that deeper friendship, but for now, Gehlfuss says it's interesting to "see Hannah become her own character outside of Will," though there's history there that will always be "bubbling under the surface." And Schram says there is a "genuine connection and bonds that can't be broken" for the pair, and the opportunity to see who they are away from each other while still being good friends is going "professionally well."
Other hospital drama: In the post-pandemic world One Chicago is currently living in, they are still dealing with the real-life effects of the pandemic. New doctors were trained over Zoom and have never touched a patient before, while supplies are running low. That includes the supply of blood and other absolutely vital lifesavers.
"Hospitals become in the kind of position to triage who's going to get this stuff, which puts our doctors in conflict, which Goodwin must resolve," Schneider says. "But it also brings our doctors together as a team, because they're all facing the same problems."
Some new residents will also be arriving who have had no real clinical experience, which they handle in different ways. One becomes a "know-it-all" and gets himself in trouble, while the other just gets very nervous about touching patients and performing basic procedures. This naturally frustrates many of the doctors.
Season 11 of Chicago Fire begins with a bang, in more ways than one. #Stellaride finally got hitched in the Season 10 finale, and their honeymoon is ruined by the arrival of a mysterious truck. It turns out that truck is stocked with bad guys intent on taking down Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and ruining a very sexy night with his new wife Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo).
"You know how there's one kind of roller coaster that starts slow, and then there's the surge kind of roller coaster that just comes out like a shock from the start? That's the premiere because we're picking up pretty much right where we left off at the cliffhanger," says executive producer Andrea Newman. "And yeah, bad news, both Severide and Kidd are going to have to get physical and it will be really exciting."
Even after the premiere, the show is going to continue to be a roller coaster in every episode. "We're gonna throw some haymakers this year and keep you on your toes," executive producer Derek Haas says. "For us as writers, we love surprise. The audience tries to see it coming and it's never outside of logic or consistency of character, but when we really get you surprised and on the edge of your seat and zigging when you thought we were gonna zag, that's when we feel like we've hit it out of the park."
"It's a buckle your seatbelt kind of season," adds Newman.
#Stellaride: This attack provides a "real awakening" for new husband Severide as he now has to learn that all his decisions don't just affect him.
"Your family is now included with all the repercussions that you have to face, so he is going to struggle with that going forward," Newman says.
However, there's good news for this newly married pair: they're only going to get hotter.
"There's plenty of times on television where a marriage falls into a rut, but that is not these two characters," Haas says. "It's almost as if the temperature even gets dialed up, hotter than it was before, as you will see in the first 10 seconds of the premiere."
"I feel like there's something in the characters that felt like there were some kind of barriers removed or restrictions gone all of a sudden, and it just gets hotter and hotter," Newman adds. "They're really falling into this relationship in a way that feels like it's growing more intense as opposed to the opposite."
The New Guy: A new firefighter named Carver (Jake Lockett) is joining the team, but he's already got an enemy in the form of Stella Kidd. He's an old rival of hers, and she is not thrilled to be welcoming him to her team against her own wishes.
"She's gonna have to find a way to still be a leader to someone she, quite frankly, has trouble being in the same room with, at least initially," Haas says.
And Stella would simply be mortified to hear what Newman had to add: "What's funny is we actually talked about the fact that [Carver and Severide] have some traits in common. Some of the things that drive her crazy about Carver are the things she loves about Severide," she says. "Carver is a mysterious character and there are a lot of layers to peel back on him. I think Kidd is going to do her best to get to know him and peel those layers back, but he's a mystery in some ways too, so their dynamic is going to be a lot of fun to play with going forward."
"All I can say about the Hawkins of it all is that it surprised us with how much chemistry and hotness that the two actors had, so give us that bone, and we'll keep chasing that around for a while," Haas says. "We really love the two of them together."
Newman adds that Gallo (Alberto Rosende) is still very much in love with Violet, "but he also cares about her enough that he wants her to be happy, and he's able to be her friend at the same time, as much as that hurts."
Greensmith says the triangle between her, Gallo and Hawkins is "going to shift" after the turbulence they experienced last season, but Hawkins and Violet are "two people very in love," and she's got high hopes for them. Meanwhile, Violet's other loving relationship — with Ritter (Daniel Kyri) and Gallo — will be back in full force.
"They are my homies, and I think Violet feels exactly the same way about them," Greensmith says. "I think moving into the season, you'll get to see them come back together, because I feel like we lost a little of their trio because there was so much drama in the way…but at the end of the day, they are such solid friends. We're gonna see them show up for each other in a really special way."
Brett and Casey: After reuniting for the wedding in the finale, Brett (Kara Kilmer) and Casey (Jesse Spencer) had some decision-making to do. He lives full time in Portland, and her life is in Chicago, and it kind of feels like the end is near.
"I think long distance relationships are just really hard," Newman says. "These are two people who are deeply in love, but they're also people who have their own lives in the places where they are, so there are some difficult choices that need to be made."
Brett deals with this situation in a way that Haas describes as "the strongest version of Brett that we've seen." She'll see a lot of growth this season and continue to be the impressive medic she's become.
Last season of Chicago PD ended on a particularly devastating note for Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who had to watch the death of the undercover informant he had been watching over after a lengthy showdown. She lost faith in him when he didn't tell her the full truth, and it got her killed. Now, Voight reeling from that loss — for which he blames himself — and it's causing issues with the rest of the team. That includes Jay (Jesse Lee Soffer), who is going to be written out of the show at some point during the season. While we don't yet know how he will leave the series, we know it's going to be heartbreaking for both the fans and the rest of the PD squad, and we also know they'll have to find a way to go on without him.
Losing Jay: Soffer's exit is not just a show losing a character, or Voight losing Jay. "I'm worried about Jason without having Jesse," Beghe says. "I've always said that we're one organism, so it's kind of like an amputation for all of us. It will be a difficult adjustment, and I think all of us, probably Upton the most, have to cope with this void. It's not easy, and it will be a difficult thing for all the characters and for all the actors."
Marina Squerciati, who plays Kim Burgess, says the loss will affect her as an actor more than her character. "It's not terrible for my character, because it's kind of an internet joke that we don't really talk. But like, huge as an actor," she says. "And as a friend. I have shed so many tears. Jesse is so wonderful in so many ways…and the unit will suffer for sure. But also, we have new voices and new dynamics that will ultimately change the unit. And like any job, any relationship, things end, and it'll be interesting and different."
Voight's Emotional Journey: After what happened to Anna (Carmela Zumbado), Voight is more determined than ever to take down anyone and everyone related to Los Temidos, but he's also got to acknowledge that the death really affected him, and is affecting his work.
"What's interesting is that Voight has been somewhat unemotional, unless you include fury. I think what's happening as the character matures and develops is he's becoming more vulnerable," Beghe says. "I think it's somewhat surprising to him to be so deeply affected, but it's still not a place he's comfortable. He's broken and lost, and he feels like he's lost control. And that's not his comfort zone, so he's finding ways to affect a sense of control, and these kinds of coping mechanisms only work to some degree…It's creating a problem. He's not doing his job as well or as responsibly."
Burgess and Ruzek: PD's most enduring will they/won't they couple continues to won't, and Squerciati says the ball is in Burgess' court.
"Ruzek has sort of had this outstretched hand for so long, and how long can you have it there, being continually smacked away, before you withdraw?" she says. "I think this season is going to be exploring why Burgess is doing that and if she'll be able to step up. I think in the second episode, you'll get some resolution on will Burgess step up, or will she take the final step back?"