Chicago PD – Chicago Fire crossover interview: Rick Eid, Derek Haas tease Brettonio reunion, topical story, seamless narrative
The Chicago PD – Chicago Fire crossover event is coming up on NBC Wednesday and Thursday night and there’s a great deal to be excited about! With that in mind, we’ve turned to two men in Rick Eid and Derek Haas who, as executive producers, know these series better than anyone. They put together what may very well be the most organic and integrated two-hour crossover, one that is topical, action-packed, and also contains a celebratory component as it is the 100th episode of Chicago PD.
In this new interview below, take a look at what the two men had to say on the subject of coming up with the story, what’s ahead for Brett and Antonio, and also whether or not this is the end of the crossovers this season.
CarterMatt – This was the first time that the two of you have worked together on a crossover. What was the collaboration like?
Derek Haas – It started off last year when he was working on SVU and was in the same building. We hit it off. I love what he’s done with Chicago PD so it was easy to say ‘let’s get together and come up with one big two-hour story,’ and it also happened to be their 100th episode which was the perfect time to get something big going.
Rick Eid – I feel the exact same way.
Derek – I made him say that (laughs).
It’s a little unusual that we’re starting off with PD before going into Fire. Was that an NBC choice, and did you ever go to them asking if you could switch them around?
Rick – With this particular story we needed to be first and the schedule was sort of set in stone. We didn’t really consider doing the inverse of what we did.
Derek – It was fun because it was a challenge and we’d never done it. Usually an incident happens on Fire — we did the one where we stumbled on the pictures of child pornography at the scene of a fire, and that led to a PD investigation episode. That’s been the way we’ve done it, but this year they said ‘PD is going to be on Wednesday nights and Fire is going to be on Thursday nights. You gotta go from PD to Fire. I was just like ‘oh … I don’t know what we’re going to do there.
What it naturally led to was that rather than writing a PD and a Fire episode per se, we just wrote a two-hour One Chicago episode.
Rick, what were the challenges of balancing out this big episode of PD with also setting up this crossover with Fire? I know there are some people out there who want to see some sort of celebration specifically with it.
Rick – It presented a challenge, because it needs to feel like there is an event going on and it needs to be a big enough story that can drive into the second hour. As a result of that it may not be as personal and it may have been were it not a crossover, but this is more of an adrenaline, action-packed [episode] that we embraced fully. We still found the room to have some great character moments and throughout it all you feel is this great family element to Chicago PD and everybody embracing one another and having each others’ backs and working together.
I think it’s an interesting topic and it’s a worthy 100th episode and crossover.
The first part of the crossover begins with what appears to be a string of bombings that are targeting the media. Are you working to make a point about the difficulties that come with being a part of the media in 2018?
Rick – Yeah. I think we tried to find something that was topical and in the zeitgeist. Certainly, the idea of fake news is something that a lot of people talk about. We tried to find a story in that realm and create a sort of cautionary tale about it, if you will.
As someone who was doing a crossover for the first time, were there any character pairings you were excited to play around with?
Rick – There are a lot of great pairings. The one that was probably the most fun was watching Mouch and Platt cross in our episode in a really organic and emotional way.
Derek – Not to give anything away, but Brett and Antonio have had some ups and downs over the course of the past few years. We know there are a lot of viewers out there who love that pairing, and some of those viewers are going to want to watch all the way to the end of these two hours.
When Brett and Antonio were last together, it was Brett who made the decision to walk away. When they see each other again, is that going to be fresh on their minds?
Derek – When they see each other and especially in a super-heated and charged environment like these two hours are going to be, [a lot can happen]. Fire is going to help the police in the first hour, and in the second hour the police are going to ask the Fire Department for their help, leading to Antonio directly asking Brett to put herself in harm’s way. When you put those kind of things into a microwave, they really heat up fast.
I don’t want to say that we go full Titanic in the car at the end, but it’ll be Titanic-esque.
How does the episode of PD transition over into Fire? Is there going to be a big cliffhanger?
Rick -Hopefully .. We don’t resolve the case. The bad guy is still at large and the PD needs Fire’s help.
There are a couple of interesting things in the synopsis, and one of them is that Cruz is still struggling with feelings for Brett. It makes me so conflicted! Cruz and Otis are probably the guys I’d hang out with if I was in the Firehouse and I want to see them happy … but I also root for Brett and Antonio. What made this the right time to explore Cruz and Brett again?
Derek – I always liked them together. I like that they are roommates and Joe Minoso is such a great, nuanced actor and can play pathos really well. When Brett and Antonio heated up last time, you could tell it was bothering him. You have to remember that there’s a history with Cruz vis-à-vis his brother with what Chicago PD asked Leon to do that basically kept Leon on the run for three years. All of these memories get brought up in Cruz’s mind as the PD comes to the firehouse and asks Brett and Dawson to put themselves in harm’s way.
Cruz has personal feelings, both because it’s Brett and Antonio and because of what the PD did with Leon. From a writing standpoint it’s fun to write those kind of dynamics.
Brett and Dawson are asked to help Intelligence in the second part of the crossover. How much fear will be in their mind? They’re used to rescue missions, but not something like this.
Derek – The problem is not with Dawson and Brett. They’re ready to jump in and do whatever is asked of them. It’s the people around them, including Boden, Casey, and Cruz, who don’t want them to walk into the lion’s den when it’s not a paramedic call. They’re having to be a bit of undercover actors.
What was the part of doing the crossover this year that had the two of you the most excited?
Rick – Seeing a two-hour show that’s not a traditional crossover where it’s separate story with a hand-off. It’s really a two-hour episode that is organically weaved together. It’s rewarding to hopefully pull that off.
Derek – For me I got to write these characters for years when I was writing on PD, so to be able to use the voices again of Voight, of Antonio, of Burgess — Upton’s a new one for me, but it was fun to write for her. I got to put Halstead on a motorcycle for the first time and I’ve been trying to do that for five years! That’s a big reward for longtime viewers.
The best part of watching the two hours was that it never felt like we forced the storyline. Sometimes when we would do the crossovers the last five minutes of the Fire episode would hand off to PD — Voight would walk into the room and that would be it. This is a full integration of all of the characters. NBC was fully supportive of saying ‘you can use whatever cast member, whenever you want them.’
Is this it for the crossovers this year, or is there something else being attempted down the line, possibly with Chicago Med involved?
Rick – I think this is probably the last official crossover.
Derek – Yeah, there may be scenes in Med or actor crossovers here or there, but not a fully integrated story.
Rick – It gets tricky because Med only has 20 episodes and they’re wrapping before we’re wrapping and some of those actors scatter. We come towards the end of the season we just can’t plan the way that we could for this one.
Related – Read more on the crossover now
A very special thank you to Rick Eid and Derek Haas for talking to us about this two hour crossover event that we are especially excited for.
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