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The Men of Chicago Fire

The Men of Chicago Fire

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The Windy City, Obama’s hometown, Michael Jordan’s original 23 jersey, Kanye West’s Chi-City–Chicago already has a pretty big name for itself.

With the addition of a hit television show sharing its namesake, that reputation is beginning to grow even bigger. “Chicago Fire”, which is filmed in the Second City, is now providing a more heroic viewpoint to the murder capital of the U.S.

The NBC show, now in its sophomore year, portrays the lives of fictional Chicago firefighters and provides some much-needed respect to the actual heroes.

“[Working in public service] is one of the noblest things I can think of,” said Joe Minoso who plays Joe Cruz on the show.”The better we get at showing off what they do–that’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and the show.”

Dick Wolf, (“Law & Order”, “Miami Vice”) is no stranger to harrowing–and extremely successful–scripts. In “Chicago Fire”, he places his characters in high-drama situations, which include murder, deceit, adultery and of course, lots and lots of fires.

“The beautiful thing about Fire, and PD, is that it deals with people placed into extraordinary situations, not the other way around,” said Yuriy Sardarov in an email, who plays Otis on the show. “It’s a chemistry project. How will these individuals react to said changes in their environment?”

The actors might only be portraying the lives of these real-life heroes, but filming outside in this Chicago winter is most certainly an act of heroism. This past January, Chicago saw temperatures as low as -50 degrees with the wind chill, but for these guys, the cameras kept rolling.

“To put it lightly, we have filmed in incredibly inclement weather,” said Saradov. “One day this year, it was snowing so badly we could hardly see 10 feet ahead of us. But we plowed away and finished the scene. You just grin and bare it, and hope your toes and fingers freeze sooner rather than later.”

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In true hero form, both Sardarov and Minoso brushed off the cold weather, instead turning to each other for stability and laughs throughout whatever Chicago had in store.

“It’s definitely taxing on the body when we’re in our fire gear for 12-14 hours a day,” admitted Minoso. “Sometimes we have a tank on for a long period of time. That’s a little bit wearing on the body. But other than that, even with the cold, every day we go to work I can guarantee I will laugh out loud at least four times because of the people I work with. Everything else beyond that goes to the wayside.”

Minoso likened set to summer camp, whereas Saradov compared it to an enormous clown car, but either way, the chemistry on the set is clear even from a viewer standpoint. This past December, the show hit 9.3 million viewers, a new record, which was a 57% increase from the first season, according to TV by the Numbers.

“We have the greatest, most seasoned production team behind us, not to mention being on such a forward-thinking and historic network like NBC,” said Saradov. “At first, no one knew what was going to happen, but once we settled in, and the chemistry started to flow, I think the mood on set was, as long as these scripts stay as good as they are, as long as we wake up and do our jobs and work together, we can stick around for a long, long time. And Chicago has embraced us, which makes the job that much easier.”

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