Warning: Following are the main spoilers for the Chicago Fire of Wednesday. Go at your own risk!
Chicago Fire lost one of his own at the premiere of the eighth season on Wednesday mattress factory fire. Lying on his deathbed, with a crying Cruz at his side, Otis spoke his last words in Russian. Only three months later, Cruz learned what his friend had said to him, "Brother, I'll always be with you."
Below, Showrunner Derek Haas talks about the decision to say goodbye to Otis and the lasting effects of his death the fire station.
TVLINE | In the past, you've made a few cliffhangers that miraculously survived all members of the firehouse. Did you have the feeling that someone had to go down this time to really strengthen the job?
They hit the nail on the head. I did not know what we would do when I wrote the end of the season. Then, when I paused [on]I talked to Andrea Newman and Michael Gilvary, my two main authors ̵
TVLINE | However, there were a number of characters who were in danger in the fire of the mattress factory. Why did you decide that it would be Otis who would lose his life?
First, we did not want it to be just Otis, which has a branch, so we broke Brett's arm. When you think of threats in the series that say they will marry and move away, our audience is used to saying, "Oh no, we solved that quickly," and we wanted to show, "No, we do what we said. She marries and moves away. "
But then, when we decided on Otis, we talked a little bit about it:" Are we doing it as a knight? "But that was almost not so serious. It would almost not be the same situation or effect because it was such a new character that the audience thought, "Oh, we did it intentionally from the start," because it would not have had the stakes it would have had if it were a core actor. And then we just decided that it's Otis because he lives with Cruz and Brett, sits on Casey's truck, is in Bodens house, is Mouch's best friend, and owns a bar with Herrmann … There are a million emotions everyone has of a guy who was almost in the first scene in the series, and actually of a guy I knew before Chicago Fire . We shot a movie together in which I wrote and directed. From a personal point of view, a showrunner is really hard to tell an actor, "Hey, that's what we think," when you're known not only as a really great actor, but also as a good person and friend. But I called Yuri and told him what we would do, and I've never had a call that was so professional and so gracious, and I believe in mind that I know why, meaning that he is a writer himself, and he understands that as a writer, you have to surprise the audience and give them something they did not expect. He is also at the beginning of his career and this is by no means his swan song.
TVLINE | Where did the idea of having Otis' last words in Russian come from?
I am glad that you asked that because it gives me the opportunity to thank an unsung hero in the series, Arthur Forney, who is our chief of post and who has been with Wolf for 30 years. Think about it and this is such an important part of why our show succeeds or has been successful in the past. I wanted to do the monument. I had thought of that during the break. There is a fire brigade monument that I hand over to my home every day on my way home from work, and this picture was in my head. I wanted to Cruz & # 39; s talking about "I'm worried about how I'll be remembered, and who will remember Otis and who will tell his story when he's gone?" And I thought that floor would say that anyway. I wrote this design, and then Arthur Forney read the script. He went down to my office and said, "What if Otis said something cryptic in Russian on his deathbed and you find out in the end what's important to him? "And it was like being struck by lightning. I said, "That's a great idea. I can not wait to write the next round. "And then I did it.
TVLINE | You said that this loss would have consequences after the premiere, and we subsequently see how that affects the characters after three months have already passed. How does it affect the fire station in the coming episodes?
It was very important to us to show that this was not just a writing instrument that we used for the surprise factor, and then forget it and pretend that we are going to have a season in which there is this beloved character that is forgotten. No, we do not do that. We will emotionally spend time and story time on just about any character and how she handles a loss like this differently. Different people come to the other side at different times, and people react to these things in different ways. A character might find it very difficult and have problems and difficulties, and one character might be impulsive to do something else, and another character might invest a lot of time and energy in a fourth character. The theme of the first half of the season is certainly how characters handle this big loss.
TVLINE | There are two characters in the premiere that are hit pretty hard, in particular: cruz and casey. How will this affect their travels this season, both at the professional level and on a personal level?
Cruz will surely go through waves of being, I do not want to say depressed, but gladly downcast waves of euphoria … His levels will be off for a while, and I think that's normal. Casey will be more involved in this from the point of view of leadership. It's a job that requires you to have somebody's life in your hands, and not just that, but [for Casey, the dilemma is]: "We have to keep going, the bells will not stop ringing, people will not. Stop getting into trouble to be … I have to be responsible for people coming in. So what's the composition of this team and who do I think? and what does the house need at that time? "This will be Casey's concern.
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