‘Chicago Fire’ Showrunner Reveals His Favorite Crossover Moment

by John Jamison

“Chicago Fire” has things figured out. Fires are never dull, and the situations they create are almost always different. In fact, the entire “Chicago” franchise, including its medical and police dramas, is on the same page in this regard. Each series has proven itself individually, making lasting marks in a space that sees most shows pulled after a single season. But what happens when they all collide? Is it too much “Chicago” for fans to handle?

If you ask co-creator and showrunner Derek Haas, the answer is no. We suspect that the great majority of fans would back him up on that too.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given the success of “Chicago Fire” and its sister shows, that Dick Wolf is an executive producer. Nearly 10 years into its run, the hit series isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. One can make plenty of parallels between the “Chicago” and “Law & Order” models. Not the least of which is their employment of the crossover.

We’ve seen it consistently between Wolf’s “Law & Order: SVU” and “Organized Crime” this season. And “Chicago Fire” showrunner Derek Haas is a big proponent of the device. At least, he is when it’s done well. In honor of the show reaching its 200th episode, Haas reflected on some of his favorite moments.

He talked to TV Line recently about everything from his favorite episodes to the craziest stunts. One of his proudest memories is that of the Season 8 crossover “Chicago Fire” pulled off. It came in the season’s fourth episode and was titled “Infection, Part 1.”

“It was the biggest [crossover] we’d ever done, it was nonstop action in our third of it, but also just the other two [shows] were so well integrated,” said Haas.

Did the ‘Chicago Fire’ Crossover Predict the Future?

So how did they pull it off? Well, the franchise surrounding “Chicago Fire” provides the perfect environment for crossovers. At the end of the day, each series focuses on the same city’s community of first responders. It would take a massive emergency to incorporate the firefighting, medical, and law enforcement side. So that’s exactly what “Chicago Fire” cooked up.

The crossover emergency took the form of a devastating infectious bacteria that tore through the city, forcing a lockdown. The episode aired in 2019, mind you.

“In the third hour, they were supposed to go to this parade, and when they got there, it was just tumbleweeds as far as the eye could see. I remember thinking, ‘Is this realistic? Would, really, everyone not go out on the street because they heard on the news…?’ and then a year later, it all happened. So, weirdly, that subject matter is so odd in retrospect, but it was a great crossover,” continued Haas, likening the “Chicago Fire” situation to the pandemic we’re experiencing in real life.