TV Review - Chicago Fire: Season 2

Firefighters go after potential arsonist
in "Chicago Fire" Season 2
The drama created by Dick Wolf about firefighters in the Windy City was one of my favorite new series last year. It had in my mind the sexiest cast, great stunts and action, as well as tense moments of dialogue between characters. Unlike other shows set in Illinois, this series is actually shot on the streets of Chicago and has a lot more authenticity than a lot of other shows. The look of the series is a lot more cinematic at times than other dramas. It's a lot more open and epic in its ambitions. The second season maintains that aesthetic, as well as maintaining the frenetic pace established last season.

The only other show to compare it is Rescue Me, which was essentially a character study. Chicago Fire is more or less a prime-time soap opera. Both have big action set pieces of amazing yet terrifying house, apartment and small business fires, but while last season the series pivoted around one man, this season really moves about an ensemble where each character shares equal weight.

There are ten main characters, filled by ten regular actors. One can argue that six of those ten are more prominent with three of those six being even more prominent. However, all ten get the star treatment at moments and all ten really get to step into the spotlight and get their own story to shine.

All ten characters belong to Firehouse 51 and a major plot affecting everyone is an arsonist who is out for personal revenge. Taylor Kinney who plays Kelly Severide suspects that the arsonist is a former firefighter named Hadley, played by William Smillie. All ten characters have a new antagonist in the form of Gail McLeod, played by Michelle Forbes (The Killing and True Blood). Gail works for the State of Illinois and is there to make budget cuts, which includes the possible closure of Firehouse 51.

Each ten have their own individual stories outside of Hadley and Gail as the two new major hurdles. Last season, Severide and Peter Mills, played by Charlie Barnett, had their daddy issues. The presence of Severide's father, Benny, played by Treat Williams, exacerbated those issues. Williams returns this season to touch nerves again, especially with Barnett's character Mills. While Severide thought he was going to be a daddy himself, Matt Casey, played by Jesse Spencer, became a daddy by proxy.

Aside from father-son issues, the show introduced the idea of spying in the first three episodes of Season 2. Another of my favorite network series is The Good Wife. That show is in its fifth season and this year The Good Wife is taking on the NSA and the whole controversy surrounding how that government organization is spying on people's phone calls. Chicago Fire isn't going as far. What the show does instead is drop a couple of sexy guys to spy James-Bond-style by basically sneaking around and seducing women. Former soap stud Jesse Lee Soffer and sexy athlete-turned-actor Jeff Hephner as Jeff Clarke fills those roles.

Meanwhile, the stunning Mena Suvari guest stars as Isabella who is possibly a love interest for the very cute Peter Mills, played by the even cuter Charlie Barnett. The gorgeous Monica Raymund who plays Gabriela Dawson, Mills' ex-girlfriend, is still doing her perpetual dance around whether or not she'll live happily ever after with Casey. The lovely Lauren German who plays Leslie Shay is still the lonely lesbian with flirtations here and there.

Christian Stolte who plays Mouch is running for president of the firefighters' union. David Eigenberg who plays Christopher Herrmann is assisting as his campaign manager, while also running their new bar Molly's, which now has competition right across the street. Joe Minoso who plays Joe Cruz is the wild card whose character is rather up in the air. Yuri Sardarov who plays Otis is just comic relief as he does what he can to help the bar and maintain his podcast. Eamonn Walker who plays Chief Wallace Boden is having his leadership challenged as he tries to keep his firehouse alive.

The potential threads that could come from all the characters' storylines are interesting. The way the writers juggle things is compelling and never boring.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 10PM on NBC.


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