When great television dramas come to mind, the setting tends to be one of two major coastal cities: New York or Los Angeles. Smaller cities or towns are sometimes portrayed, but it seems that shows are rarely set in the capital of the Midwest: Chicago.
For a number of years there has been opportunity for huge network success based on “The Windy City,” and Dick Wolf has answered the bell. Launched in 2012, “Chicago Fire” has been a hit since its NBC premiere. Chronicling the trials and tribulations of Firehouse 51 both on and off duty, the drama keeps the audience on its feet with countless plots and storylines to move to.
Whether it is in-house romance, corruption at higher level management or the everyday life of a bustling city, no one can ever tell where the show is going next. Jesse Spencer, formerly on “House” M.D., leads the cast as dicey Lieutenant Matthew Casey. Additionally, Taylor Kinney is a key player in the drama as his character Kelly Severide is always in the midst of conflict whether it be related to love, rank or preference.
But that’s not all. Following the great success of “Chicago Fire” in 2012 and 2013, NBC launched “Chicago P.D.,” a logical spin-off. Based on a similar premise, the police drama is largely what one expects in a crime production: pursuing criminals, cracking cases, connecting with victims and interrogating suspects. The differentiation, though, comes in the Chicago linking.
Spin-offs can fall flat, but this one certainly does not. Wolf, especially at first, is sure to have constant crossover with “Chicago Fire” characters interacting in the police drama to build credibility and connect with the audience. Hank Voight, portrayed by Jason Beghe, heads the small, but highly active Intelligence Unit as the team battles through cases, interpersonal relationships and job promotion.
Through a gradual easing of integration with “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” became a highly successful independent entity. The success was so great that NBC ordered another “Chicago Fire” spin-off: “Chicago Med.”
Based on the operations and events of an emergency room, “Chicago Med” highly relies on the first two shows of the trilogy for content. Although storylines do not always coincide, “Chicago Med” by its nature requires patient stories to function effectively. In order to gain traction in its first season within the trilogy, “Chicago Med” finds many of its patients through “Chicago Fire” or “Chicago P.D.” connections.
Dr. Will Halstead, brother of Detective Jay Halstead from “Chicago P.D.” and played by Nick Gehlfuss, leads the show as a no-nonsense ER senior resident, who does anything for his patients, sometimes at the expense of other hospital patients. Pregnant Dr. Natalie Manning, played by Torrey DeVitto, specializes in emergency pediatrics care and often contemplates her life as a newly-single mom after her husband was killed fighting in the military overseas.
The current triple crown of television, the “Chicago Trilogy,” is a must-watch on NBC. “Chicago Med” airs Tuesdays at 9, “Chicago Fire” Tuesdays at 10 and “Chicago P.D.” Wednesdays at 10.