TV Review - Chicago Fire: Season 3

Monica Raymund and Jesse Spencer
play firefighters in love in "Chicago Fire"
The series picks up where Season 2 ended. Its cliffhanger of the building explosion, which trapped all of our main characters, except one, is resolved. The repercussions of which reverberate throughout the season for a while. The biggest repercussions is that a character died. Another character was insidiously injured.

What is worrisome is that the character who died was Leslie Shay, played by Lauren German, and she was the only gay character or the only LGBT character on the show. With her gone, the show lost that inclusive element. It's a little less diverse, even though the cast is very wide-ranging. There's still a lack of Asian characters, but this season by its fourth episode has seen a lot of shuffling of jobs and new characters introduced, so maybe there will be a return of a gay character.

Shay was a paramedic. She wasn't technically a firefighter, which this show is mainly about. With her gone, hopefully the head writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas will open that door and have a full-on gay firefighter, and broach that issue in a way that it's rather skirted until now.

I almost thought in Episode 3 the writers were going to do it. Kenny Johnson started to reoccur on the series last season as Tommy Welch, a firefighter at a rival firehouse. He has the opportunity to take on a female firefighter into his company, but he denies it. His behavior would lead you into thinking that he's simply a misogynist. Yet, it's so over-the-top with him that you suspect that something else is happening underneath. I started to form an opinion about it in Episode 3.

In Episode 3, titled "Just Drive the Truck," Welch and his team get into a horrible accident. The main firefighters of this show, including Matthew Casey, played by Jesse Spencer, and, Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, have to save Welch and his men. One of which is the driver of the truck, a guy named Jason Molina, played by Glenn Stanton.

Now, obviously, because Molina is hurt pretty bad, Welch is going to be upset, but his being upset gets to a point where it seemed a little too intense. It was so intense that you'd almost assume that Welch was in love with Molina, not just in the typical, firefighter-brother way but in a deep-rooted, homosexual way. By the end, it's clear that Molina has a wife and family. Welch backs off, but having him be gay would have been a good angle to go.

So far, the characters are dealing with a lot of the same issues with which they've dealt before. A firefighter deals with a physical injury that makes him not able to be a firefighter. Another firefighter deals with the death of someone close, which sends him on a downward spiral. The other firefighters deal with starting a business outside the firehouse and the difficulties with that. All these things are veritable rehashes, but the actors are so good that they all make it work, even when some are playing the same beats. However, having a gay firefighter, especially one like Welch, would have definitely shaken things up.

What helps is that the series has integrated some storylines that are diferent or innovative that keeps things refreshing. One of which is Peter Mills, played by Charlie Barnett, confronting his father's racist family. Another storyline is Casey's newest candidate being his fiancee and former paramedic Gabriella Dawson, played by Monica Raymund.

The series, which is actually shot in Chicago, continues to stage great action scenes and great disaster-rescue scenes. In a way that's more organic than the way NCIS does it, the series weaves in cameos from its spin-off show better as well. The brief appearances from Sophia Bush and Brian Geraghty from Chicago P.D. have been great in that they felt totally natural and not underscored. Even Shay's replacement Sylvie, played by Kara Killmer, is integrated so seamlessly.

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


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