After playing Dr. Robert Chase on the popular medical series House, Jesse Spencer is about to take his acting game into the heart of emergencies as a firefighter, a dramatic difference from working inside the halls of a hospital drama for the past eight seasons.
Executive produced by the Dick Wolf (Law & Order) and created by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, the writing team behind the Western film 3:10 to Yuma, Chicago Fire follows the lives of firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics inside Chicago Firehouse 51.
When a tragedy claims one of their own, Truck commander Lt. Matthew Casey (Spencer) tries to move on at work but soon butts heads with the brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) of the Rescue Squad – and each blames the other for their fallen team member.
With Chicago Fire about to hit the NBC airwaves, what type of appreciation does Jesse Spencer have for real firefighters?
“You just realize how it’s not just a physical job,” said Spencer on a recent call with reporters.”Mentally you have to really be able to control your fear and your emotions. That’s what these guys do as well; that’s the stuff that you don’t really see. They have to stay calm, have to stay in control. They have to be able to communicate really, really well, be able to get their guys in, do their job and get them out again.”
Although Chicago Fire taps into the drama within the firehouse and the challenges firefighters face on a daily basis, it also gives viewers a look at what it’s like beyond the job.
As the story of Chicago Fire unfolds, Jesse Spencer’s Lt. Casey finds himself in the midst of a separation that his colleagues aren’t aware of on the job. For firefighters and those in similar protective fields, life doesn’t stop when they leave the station.
To prepare for Chicago Fire, Jesse and the cast did several ride-alongs with real firefighters to learn some of the ropes. As well, real Chicago firemen were gratious enough to be on standby to help the actors prepare on set.
“Just having those guys around all the time,” Spencer continued, “just really helps with the overall vibe of our cast because they’re always there and we’re always mingling with them. They’re coming from a shift the day before, or about to go to one the next day, and they swap out and change and so we get a really nice cross section of the real guys doing the real job. And I think that’s really been invaluable to us.”
So how have the people of Chicago received the show while filming in the Windy City?
As Spencer revealed, the city has been amazing with the show.
“I don’t think we could have asked for a better reception,” Spender added, “I’ve never lived here; this is my first time living here, but I love this city. And I think it’s the perfect setting for our show. It feels like the people in the city are really supportive of the show.”
Chicago Fire debuts Wednesday, October 10 at 10/9c on NBC.