CHICAGO FIRE – Review by Susan Granger

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If you’re searching for a series to stream, let me recommend NBC’s Chicago Fire, which has been on TV since 2012. Superbly written with an obvious emphasis on female empowerment, this procedural drama follows the personal and professional lives of various firefighters, paramedics and rescue personnel at the fictional Firehouse 51 in Chicago, Illinois.

They’re led by stoic Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), who is very protective of his men and women, even putting his career on the line several time to help them.

Next in the chain of command are Lieutenant-eventually to be-Captain Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer), a serious, civic-minded carpenter who runs a side construction business, and Lieutenant Kelly Severeid (Taylor Kinney), the son of a former fire chief (Treat Williams), A brooding loner, Kelly is presented as a classic womanizer, perhaps because (off-screen) Taylor dated Lady Gaga.

Their fellow firefighters include Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg), the station’s father figure who runs Molly’s Bar, their favorite hangout; Randall ‘Mouch’ McHolland (Christian Stolte), the couch-loving union representative; Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), a native of the local gang-infested neighborhood; Brian ‘Otis’ Zvonecek (Yuri Sandarov), who got his nickname working elevators; and perennial provocateur Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), who seems determined to wrangle with Severeid.

As the series began, given the most screentime among the paramedics was Gabriella “Gabby” Dawson (Monica Raymund), a former ‘smoke-eater’ whose perfect make-up/heavy mascara/thick eyeliner never, ever, ever smears – not even when she’s facing imminent destruction and/or death. As a result, her self-centered character exudes phoniness/insincerity.

Appearing far more realistic are her hard-working colleagues: outspoken (yet doomed) lesbian Lesley Shay (Lauren German), naïve Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) and alcoholic ‘Chili’ Chilton (Dora Madison).

And let’s not forget one the most honestly appealing female characters – Donna Robbins (Melissa Ponzio), a dedicated teacher married to Chief Wallace Boden; they have a strong, respectful, loving relationship. That’s true too of outspoken Christopher Herrmann & his ever-supportive wife Cindy (Robyn Coffin) and ‘Mouch’ McHolland & no-nonsense police officer wife, Trudy Platt (Amy Morton).

Over the seasons, there are pivotal cast changes but the plot remains compelling.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Chicago Fire is a compelling, addictive 8 – with all 11 seasons streaming on Peacock.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.