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Chicago Fire's Joe Minoso Talks Cruz Navigating 'Hurdles' And The Importance Of Casey After His Big Decision

Joe Minoso as Joe Cruz in Chicago Fire Season 10
(Image credit: NBC)

Chicago Fire’s tenth season has been full of changes, including a happy addition to the Fire family with the birth of Cruz and Chloe’s son, who was even named in honor of the dearly departed Otis. More recently, they took in young Javi, a little boy with nowhere else to go after Cruz rescued him from a fire. In one fell swoop, they went from parents figuring out how to raise an infant to taking in a 10-year-old who speaks Spanish, which was a complication for Chloe right away. The story continues in the next episode, and actor Joe Minoso weighed in on the hurdles ahead, as well as why Casey is important to the story even though he’s off screen.

The next episode of Chicago Fire is called “Keep You Safe,” and will see Cruz and Chloe trying to adjust to the new family dynamic with Javi in the mix. They didn’t take him in with the understanding that they would keep him forever, but still went the extra mile to make him feel at home. Joe Minoso spoke with CinemaBlend about what’s to come with how the couple is handling having Javi in the house:

You know, I think better than expected, especially when you have a child who is singing your baby to sleep at 3 a.m. with lullabies so you don't have to get out of bed. I feel like it's a pretty win-win situation. He's a real smart kid, doesn't cause much trouble, and he's basically free babysitting services. But ultimately, you know, I think they're doing what they can to navigate it. I think what you're going to end up seeing in this next episode is we find out that there may be a family member that Javi has in the U.S. So you know, clearly the first priority is to keep the kid with his immediate family. And so you're going to have to see Cruz and Chloe sort of navigate what that means. Especially when, as you guys know, it is very easy to fall in love with this kid. He is really just kind of the perfect 10-year-old, and it's going to be pretty hard on them if they have to let him go, I think. So that's what we're going to find out.

I would say that “better than expected” counts as a win, considering how suddenly they decided to take Javi in! The possibility of reuniting him with an actual family member in the United States could mean that they won’t keep him for much longer. Then again, who would want to say goodbye to the little boy who sang baby Otis back to sleep? When I noted that any fans holding out were probably won over by Javi by the time he sang that lullaby, Joe Minoso concurred, saying:

I completely agree. Right? I mean, it's just like, what else do you need? And this is what I'm saying. I mean, the writers – I think they wrote such a phenomenal episode for Cruz. Really, a couple episodes [and] storyline overall. I have to give them a great, great, better credit just because, you know, taking a risk of putting that much Spanish in one particular hour of network television, I think can be a gamble. And I think the fact that they really committed to it. I think it's like over a third of the show is me speaking Spanish. That's tremendous. That takes great faith on their part in the fans and in me and so I'm forever grateful.

Cruz spoke a lot of Spanish to Javi in the previous episode, and was able to make the little boy feel more comfortable surrounded by people speaking a language he didn’t understand. Based on the actor’s comments, “Keep You Safe” will involve even more Spanish, which is a bold move on the part of the show for this storyline. It also shows how bold of a move it was for Cruz to bring Javi home to Chloe, since she’s not fluent in Spanish. Minoso weighed in on the importance of Chloe’s point of view in this situation:

I think that in a lot of ways, a lot of the audience gets to be Chloe in that moment, because I think it's – first of all, to ask this of your wife. To come home and be like, 'Hey, by the way, got a 10-year-old kid. Want one?' Just on the heels of a baby, and then to not only have that hurdle, but then also the hurdle of the language. I think it just helps to show you why Cruz is clearly the one who married up in Chloe. She is just a tremendous human, who's capable of such incredible empathy and heart, and I think that that's what you kind of get out of the Cruz family. You know, it's just all heart, all the time.

“All heart” seems to be the perfect way to describe Cruz and Chloe, whose journey to the altar wasn’t easy, but they’ve been a united front ever since. A different couple might have been divided by one person wanting to take in a child without really consulting the other, but not so with Cruz and Chloe! 

Of course, Cruz did have some advice from a very trusted source before making the jump and bringing up the idea of giving Javi a home to Chloe. He called up none other than Casey, and the off-screen conversation while he’s off caring for the Darden boys seemed to be just what Cruz needed. Joe Minoso shared his thoughts on whether Casey and his decision to go to Oregon for Ben and Griffin inspired his character: 

100%. I think that goes without saying. I feel like that inference was certainly made in the last episode, where the thing that Cruz does right before he decides to approach Chloe about whether or not they should bring in this kid, is talk to Casey. He calls Casey immediately. I love the way that we did that, and that really funny moment between Taylor [Kinney] and I, where I'm trying to figure out if his cell phone number is still the same. Yeah, I think that there's no way that you Casey can't [inspire]. Casey is always going to leave an impression on all of the firefighters of 51. I think that leadership that he ingrained in all of us will forever remain a part of who we are, intrinsically.

Whether or not Jesse Spencer will return as Casey before the end of Season 10 remains to be seen; Chicago Fire is already renewed for Season 11, so fans don’t have to panic if he’s not back by the end of the 22 episodes of the tenth season. He’s also evidently playing a part even off screen, as the inspiration for Cruz as he enters this new chapter with Chloe, Otis, and Javi… for now, at least. 

Find out whether the Cruz family will say goodbye to Javi and hand him over to his relative with the next new episode of Chicago Fire on Wednesday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, in between Chicago Med (which has had a lot of twists for Maggie in the 2021-2022 season) at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. 

April 6 is also One Chicago Day, which will celebrate all three shows with some releases on the One Chicago YouTube page starting at 3 p.m. ET. If you want to revisit some earlier days of Chicago Fire, you can find the full series so far streaming with a Peacock subscription.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.