It’s getting hot in here! When it comes to firefighter TV shows, there are plenty for fans to choose from — including Chicago Fire and 9-1-1.
Dick Wolf has his pulse on the crime world — with shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and FBI — but Chicago Fire might be one of his most well-known series. The firefighter-based show premiered in 2012 and gave life to spinoffs Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med.
“The challenge always is that we reflect and we edify the self-sacrifice and the hard work that everyone who put themselves in the frontline are doing,” Kara Killmer, who plays paramedic Sylvia Brett on Chicago Fire, exclusively told Us Weekly in November 2021 of the series. “It takes such a special person and such a heart of service to choose to keep going out there every day and putting your life on your line or taking those risks.”
Despite amassing a large audience season after season, the Firehouse 51 characters are never safe from being killed off or sent packing. Throughout the show’s more than 10-year run, fans have said goodbye to Leslie Shay (Lauren German) in the season 3 premiere and Brian “Otis” Zvonecek (Yuriy Sardarov) in season 8.
Monica Raymund, who played Gabby Dawson, and Jesse Spencer, who played Lieutenant Matt Casey, exited the show as well, but were thankfully not killed off and have since made cameos on the series.
“I think for Chicago Fire and PD, the cast worries [about their characters dying]. Med, it’s a little harder for the doctors to die, but it is definitely something that’s always at the back of your head. Any given episode can be your last,” Joe Minoso, who plays Joe Cruz on Chicago Fire, exclusively told Us in April 2022. “This time of year, especially, everybody’s like, ‘Oh man, what’s gonna happen in the finale? What’s gonna happen in the finale?’ We’re all freaking out every year. No one is ever safe. And you try to say, ‘I feel, like, pretty good.’”
Minoso added: “Typically when you get to the last two, three episodes if your story line is lighter, you’re kind of happier about it because it means they’re not really focusing on the character. So hopefully they’re not gonna kill you off.”
Both 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star, which air on Fox, are also known for messing with fans’ hearts when it comes to cast shakeups.
One of the newer firefighter dramas for CBS titled Fire Country, which premiered in fall 2022, has already toyed with viewers during season 1 — but the personal story lines have not affected the creator’s focus on accurately depicting how hard a wildfire firefighter’s job is day in and day out.
“The biggest thing that I want and hope to achieve with this series is not only to shine the light on firefighters for being the heroes that they are, but also just everything that they go through as humans,” Max Thieriot, who wrote Fire Country and plays its lead character, Bode Donovan, told Collider in January 2023. “It’s important to realize that even though Superman wears a cape, when he takes that cape off, there’s a man underneath it, and it’s important to peel back those layers too. You have to show the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
He continued: “I hope to also try to bring awareness to the difficulties that firefighters go through because these people are human. They don’t just go to work every day and come out looking like the heroes that they are underneath that. They go through a lot of emotional and real tragic experiences and they see a lot of horrific things.”
Scroll down to see the best firefighter-focused TV shows to add to your must-watch list: