After a three-week hiatus, “Chicago Fire” is back Tuesday night with a new episode and to borrow a line from Elvis Presley, “It’s All Shook Up.”
The fire at Game Day, which we saw in the final scene of the last episode, is definitely declared to be arson and the owners of Molly’s — Dawson (Monica Raymund), Otis (Yuri Sardarov) and Hermann (David Eigenberg) — fall under suspicion, especially since they have the skills to make things burn.
Benny (guest star Treat Williams) is in line to take over as chief of Fire Station 51 now that Boden (Eamonn Walker) has been forced to consider early retirement by McLeod (Michelle Forbes), and Shay (Lauren German), deeply affected by the suicide of one her regulars, has gone over to the dark side.
On Tuesday night’s episode, while out on a jog, Severide (Taylor Kinney) comes across a secluded construction site, where he finds a young boy who has been trapped in a backhoe loader and is in dire need of assistance. Boden breaks news about his future to Casey (Jesse Spencer), and it’s election day for the union presidency and Mouch (Christian Stolte) and Greg Sullivan (guest star Eric Slater) have a debate on Otis’ (Yuri Sardarov) podcast.
At an intimate press screening and Q&A for “Chicago Fire,” executive producer/showrunner Matt Olmstead and Taylor Kinney reveal more of what lies ahead for Season 3, including a new chance at romance for Casey and Dawson, how shady Benny’s intentions are, will Mills (Charlie Barnett) head over to Chicago P.D., will Severide and Shay get pregnant, and more.
A PHYSICAL WORKOUT TURNS MENTAL FOR S…
Has it been Benny’s end game the whole time to oust Boden and take over his job? He always seemed a little shady, but now…
Taylor: He’s a lot shady.
And he’s your dad, so…
Taylor: I don’t think it was his end game.
Matt: It’s the don’t-throw-me-in-the-briar-patch version of it, where he knows: “If I go there, and overtly solicit the job, I will come across like I have my hat in my hand, as opposed to being smart about it. So I am just here to help and drop the idea in her head.” Either scenario would have been good with him, but he played it pretty smartly. Did he anticipate this could be a scenario and did he go for it? For sure.
Will Boden put up a fight?
Matt: You saw Boden trying to do the gentlemanly thing and Severide saying, “Don’t roll over for these guys. Let’s take the fight to them.” That’s a turning point for Boden, knowing the team is behind him.
What kind of problems will it cause for Severide and Benny?
Taylor: In terms of problems for the two of us, there’s a lot that culminates prior that leads up to this relationship. There have been open-ended gestures on my character’s side and the same for him, but you take it with a grain of salt because, just like you were saying, he’s a little shifty. From his not being there [when my character was] growing up, you kind of extend the olive branch and expect the same in return. That’s where it gets a little tricky and convoluted, because Benny is saying he wants to get even more involved, and I am not sure how to handle that right now.
The Game Day fire looks as if it was purposely set. Is that going to be a big storyline going forward?
Matt: It definitely is arson. What we like is it is one rug that we pull on all of them. Hermann is a hard-luck character, but this story gives us a chance to cross characters in the ensemble. So, Otis, Hermann and Dawson are partners in the bar, but we never let them get the brass ring. It’s an ongoing thing we like to do with those characters in terms of never actually giving them what they want, but letting them have a minute of success.
Game Day is a bigger version of that, where just when you think they’ve got it together, we pull the rug. There are implications in that. They are suspected of [setting the fire] because they will benefit from Game Day closing. Also, does it involve Jay, the cop character that Dawson was seeing?
Can you talk about Dawson’s relationship with Jay (Jesse Lee Soffer)?
Matt: What we like about that is it gave us the opportunity to essentially flip his identity three times. He came in as a barfly, and they hang out. Then, “Oh s–t, he works for Arthur [Mike Starr],” the guy shaking them down. Then Antonio [Jon Seda] reveals that he’s a cop. So it was nice to get some mileage out of flip-flopping who this guy is, but not until the story comes to its climax does Dawson ever really know for sure if this guy is a cop, or lying and playing the role of a cop. It is an accelerated storyline arc with him, but constantly keeps Dawson destabilized in her interpretation of who this guy is. We answer the question in the next episode.
Can we talk a little about Casey. Last season, he lost his fiancée when she died in a fire at the clinic. He is acting as a substitute parent. Is something big going to happen for him?
Matt: A big thing is going to happen to him in the course of a fire call. The thing about having to raise Heather Darden’s [Chaon Cross] kids for a period of time, he has stepped up and done, but it’s also the circumstance that has kept him away from Dawson, so they are constantly two ships that pass in the night. They are going to have their opportunity, but it remains to be seen. So he has a big event coming up, but the window is also going to open up with Dawson: Are they finally going to have luck on their side?
Mills filled out an application for the Chicago PD. Antonio mentioned it to him this season. Is there going to be an event that leads him to making a decision?
Matt: Out of the frustration of the end of last season, he put in that application. He is somewhat shepherded by Antonio. He sees it as a valid ripcord that he can pull if he needs to go to PD. We want to play with that. Then an event happens that really makes him have to make a choice of: Who am I? What do I want to do? That is forthcoming.
Can you talk about where Shay’s dark turn is going? At some point, will Severide have to step in?
Taylor: I think what served as a catalyst for what is going on right now was the suicide she experienced. That is something that happens on the job. We have had advisors and paramedics talk about it. Shay internalizes it and then it flies out. She is expressing herself and acting out because of that right now. Yes, people get involved. Dawson is trying to figure out a way to get in touch with her. Right now, they are really butting heads. On the job, Dawson is a superior. She is in charge. She has kid gloves with Shay. Right now, we are trying to best deal with her.
Matt: It was great in the first season seeing the acrimony between the Casey and the Severide characters. As much as we like bringing characters together unexpectedly, we were, “What can we do to separate Dawson and Shay just for a little while?” That event [the suicide] definitely does separate them. We got some really great storytelling out of it as well, ultimately where she goes rock bottom, and Severide has to pull her up.
First we have Renée (Sarah Shahi) pretending she’s carrying Severide’s baby, now Zoya (Larisa Polonsky) wants to marry him for a green card. Shay seems to be your best relationship with a woman. Why not give her your sperm?
Taylor: She is. I just don’t think he is in a position to settle down. If the outcome had been different with Renée, there was an opportunity but it ended kind of disastrously. To resume the storyline with Shay is too soon. We ended last season and Severide was in with Shay and was in it wholeheartedly. But Renée came back into the fold and it was just a big enough curve ball that I don’t think it was the right time and place.
Did the relationship with Renée end the way it did because Sarah got the “Person of Interest” job, or was it always going to be revealed that it wasn’t Severide’s baby?
Matt: We weren’t going to tie the Severide character down, but it was accelerated by the fact that she had another gig.
51 has its own dog, but Smokey, a firehouse dog from Jackson, Ill., recently won your contest for Top Dog. Will we see him on the show?
Matt: We are definitely going to see Smokey on the show.
“Chicago Fire” airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on NBC.