It might be premature to compare the “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” franchise with the long-running “Law & Order” franchise, but the similarities are there. Both NBC franchises were created by legendary producer Dick Wolf. Both involve public service. Both have aired crossover episodes. And if Wolf goes ahead with the rumored Chicago medical spinoff to “Fire” and “PD,” both will have spawned multiple shows.
The cast members of “Fire” and “PD,” however, are reluctant to make the comparison. They’re still the news kids on the block and understandably don’t want to jump the gun.
“I don’t know — I’m not going to compare ourselves to another show,” said “Fire” star Taylor Kinney Wednesday while walking the red carpet at “An Evening with Dick Wolf,” which brought together both the “Fire” and “PD” casts at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. “’Law & Order’ is a cornerstone show. It’s a different, more procedural show. But having Dick Wolf at the forefront of our show as our leader, I hope to come close to the success that the ‘Law & Order’ franchise had.”
The original “Law & Order” premiered in 1990 and lasted 20 seasons before coming to an end in 2010. During that time, it produced four spinoffs, one of which is still on the air: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” “SVU,” now in its 15th season, and “PD” teamed up for a crossover storyline this season involving a serial killer and rapist who began his spree in New York before heading to Chicago.
“PD” ratings have remained steady, with a second season appearing all but certain. The cop drama matched or bested its previous week’s ratings in the key 18-49 demographic four episodes in a row before going on break for the Olympics.
“I certainly would never try to stake that kind of claim,” “PD” actress Sophia Bush said Wednesday on the red carpet about the “Law & Order” comparison. “If other people feel that way, that’s a great compliment for us.”
“Chicago PD” was introduced as a backdoor pilot toward the end of “Chicago Fire’s” first season. Wolf said during Wednesday’s panel discussion there will be another crossover near the end of this season involving a storyline reminiscent of the Boston Marathon and Oklahoma City bombings. According to an ad on Marinella Chicago Casting’s Facebook page, which announces opportunities for extras on “PD,” the episode is set to film in early March and feature “Big numbers, stunts, explosives.”
“I think it’s such a rare occurrence in TV to do something like this — especially because our shows are so intertwined,” Bush said of being involved in a franchise. “But I think when you’re examining public service, it makes a lot of sense.”
Wolf said he gets asked often about the rumor of a medical drama spinoff. While he never seems to deny it, Wolf claims its not his priority at the moment.
“All we want to do is get these two shows renewed before worrying about the future,” Wolf said on the red carpet. “Everybody forgets ‘SVU’ came on in year 11 of ‘Law & Order.’ (‘Fire’ and ‘PD’) was a hyper-accelerated process. … I’d love to keep doing shows here for a long time. It worked in New York and (here) I think it’s working in terms of integration of the casts better than it worked in the ‘Law & Order’ cast.”
Does Wolf think his Chicago franchise has the potential to become the next “Law & Order”?
“I certainly hope so,” Wolf said. “That would be nice.”
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