‘One Chicago’: How the Dick Wolf Franchise Went From Boys’ Club to Women-Led Powerhouse

by Joe Rutland

Viewers who tune into the One Chicago franchise of shows like Chicago Med are familiar with a lot of strong female characters. Tracy Spiridakos is one of those on Chicago P.D. Of course, when it comes to other franchises in the Wolf world, then we can look at Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU. The One Chicago franchise, though, has transformed from being led by men alone to women deeply involved.

Diane Frolov works with her husband Andrew Schneider in overseeing Chicago Med. Gwen Sigan is the showrunner for Chicago P.D. Andrea Newman is a showrunner along with Derek Haas for Chicago Fire. The journeys each woman took to their positions are both interesting and inspiring.

Diane Frolov, Gwen Sigan Remember How They Got Involved In ‘One Chicago’ Shows

Frolov would recall in an interview with Variety that she and Schneider originally sat down with Wolf for an idea they had. That would be seven years ago. “The next day, we got a call from our agent, which we assumed would be about the pilot,” Frolov said. “Instead, our agent told us Dick would like us to come and run ‘Chicago Med.'”

Sigan recalls working with Matt Olmstead as his assistant when Olmstead was the showrunner for Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire. She said that Olmstead is one of her favorite writers “to this day.” Sigan also called him kind and a great mentor. She adds that Olmstead put her on the P.D. staff and gave her an opportunity. Sigan took over for Rick Eid as showrunner at the start of Season 9.

“It’s never lost on me how insane it is to be working with this many people who are this good,” Sigan said. “Between Matt and Rick alone, I think I’ve gotten to write with the best of the best — but I could also list a dozen other writers from previous staffs and our current staff who are wonderful to write with.”

Andrea Newman Would Become Co-Showrunner On ‘Chicago Fire’

Newman still remembers her first introduction to the Wolf Entertainment world. It turns out that she did what a lot of us do: watch his shows. Newman would become a co-showrunner for Chicago Fire in Season 10 when Haas turned some of his attention to work on FBI: International on CBS.

“When I moved out to L.A., one of my first meetings was with Dick,” Newman said. “I’m still shocked I managed to say a word at that meeting because I’ve always been such a huge fan — ‘Law & Order’ was one of the shows that inspired me to shift from plays to TV, the storytelling was so masterful, and the characters so compelling.”