Chicago Fire's Joe Minoso Talks The 'Fun' Of Filming Unexpected Season Finale Twists

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

Chicago Fire has delivered some key changes to the status quo in Season 10, particularly with promotion of Miranda Rae Mayo’s Stella Kidd to lieutenant at Firehouse 51, Casey leaving Chicago to care of the Darden boys, and Cruz expanding his family with Chloe by taking in a little boy, to name just a few. There are still a few episodes left before Fire heads into hiatus, and actor Joe Minoso – who has played Cruz from the very beginning – reflected on the fun of filming finales over the years, including last season’s disastrous ending for Squad 3 and whether Season 10 can top it. 

The founding show of the One Chicago corner of the Dick Wolf TV universe is known for game-changing season finales crafted by longtime showrunner and current co-showrunner Derek Haas, often delivering life-and-death cliffhangers that won’t be resolved for months. Sometimes, those cliffhangers end in tragedy in the fall return, like with the death of Otis, whereas others end with everybody still alive and as well as possible. 

I spoke with Joe Minoso for Cruz's most recent big episode in Season 10, and he opened up about what’s fun about season finales, including the unexpected scuba twist at the end of Season 9:

I know Derek [Haas] likes to top himself year after year after year and does so successfully. But I have no idea how he's going to top himself this year. I look forward to it. It's always fun to do the last episode. Like when I had to almost die in a giant scuba accident. That was something that was very unexpected up until like three weeks before I had to do it. So you know I always look forward to seeing what the next chapter is. That's the great thing about being a television actor, I think, in a role this long, is you as well get to be pleasantly surprised as you learn new things about your character.

Chicago Fire has certainly found new ways to deliver finales year in and year out, which has been a “great thing” for Joe Minoso, currently in his tenth season on the same show. Whether or not co-showrunners Derek Haas and Andrea Newman (who previously spoke about showcasing Eamonn Walker as Boden and the complexities of the Violet/Hawkins relationship) can top the Season 9 finale that left Severide, Cruz, Capp, and Tony trapped beneath a capsized boat in Lake Michigan remains to be seen, but Season 10 is certainly raising the stakes. 

Not only is Violet’s new partner in Brett’s absence causing some problems, but it’s hard to gauge when Kara Killmer’s character will be back at 51 when Brett was so determined to try out a life with Casey in Orgeon. Stella and Severide settling on a venue for the wedding was great news, although there’s still no date, and Cruz and Chloe taking in young Javi could surely put a smile on the face of any Fire fan. 

Luckily for any fans who still get emotional thinking about the Dawson/Casey storyline with Louie in earlier seasons, Joe Minoso has already shared why he thinks Cruz and Chloe’s story with Javi could have a happier ending. On the whole, there are a lot of stories that could go in some intriguing directions before the end of Season 10, so keep on tuning in to NBC on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET for new episodes of Chicago Fire in the 2022 TV schedule.

All three One Chicago shows are currently on a mini break until returning with the next new episodes on Wednesday, May 11, with a couple of weeks to spare before the finales on May 25. The excellent news is that all three One Chicago shows have already been renewed for 2022-2023, so viewers can count on Chicago Fire Season 11, Chicago P.D. Season 10, and Chicago Med Season 8 in the fall on NBC. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.