How Chicago Fire's Original Cast Members Feel About Their Character Journeys After 200 Episodes

Chicago Fire has been going strong for ten seasons so far, and the show is still guaranteed at least one more season. Fire has also managed to hold on to a number of original series stars from the very beginning, so there is a cast full of characters with rich backstories and complicated journeys. Now, with the show hitting 200 episodes, three series regulars who have been around from the beginning have reflected on their character journeys, which have seen some highs and lows. 

David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso, and Christian Stolte spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets in honor of the 200th episode milestone for Chicago Fire. All three of their characters have gone on some significant journeys throughout the ten seasons so far, and all signs indicate that their characters could keep on fighting fires at Firehouse 51 for the foreseeable future. When I asked what their journeys have meant to them over 200 episodes, they opened up. Eigenberg, who plays Herrmann on Chicago Fire, shared:

You welcome change, if you go to another place with your character. Sometimes it's more fun to do other ones, but when you're doing a show over and over and over again, and you get something, you go, 'Oh!' Kind of doesn't matter exactly what it is, but the change is always great.

Hermann has certainly gone through his fair share of change over the years, ranging from the Herrmann family expanding to everything that has happened at Molly’s to becoming the Engine lieutenant at Firehouse 51. He could be in a bit of hot water at CFD at the moment after lying to cover for Brett when Brett broke protocol for him to come make a save, and there has already been big change at 51 with the departure of Boden thanks to his well-deserved promotion. Throw in Casey’s possible departure, and Truck may be in for some changes as well. 

Joe Minoso’s Joe Cruz started out Chicago Fire as a firefighter working under Casey on Truck, but has since gone on to earn a spot under Severide on Squad. Ahead of the 200th episode, he’s a married man with a baby on the way, and hopefully Chloe’s pregnancy will come to an easier end than a lot of One Chicago pregnancies. And his journey has been a wild ride from the beginning to now that he’s expecting a baby, with Minoso sharing his thoughts on everything that has happened for Cruz:

I feel like I'm in a unique position. I actually think that my character has experienced the most growth out of most of the characters on this show. I think he very much so started off as kind of a manchild alongside Otis, and he has grown into a person who is now a member of Squad and has his own business and has actually managed to get married and is having a child. So I do think that it's been great for me because network television, you know, episodic television, no one has any clue where their character is going. Like, no one knows from episode to episode or season to season what the arc is going to be, unless you're doing Breaking Bad or something like that. And so it's like everything is a surprise, and it has just been such a phenomenal surprise to see where Cruz has gone over the years.

David Eigenberg chimed in that Cruz also stopped killing people, referring to when Cruz left a man to die in a fire way back in Season 1, and making a pretty great point. Joe Minoso agreed, saying:

That's what I'm saying! He's grown from murderer to a legitimate business man. I'm sorry, I apologize. It was murderer to Zumba instructor to Squad member to valued member of the business world and now father. So yeah, a lot of growth.

Mouch’s journey on Chicago Fire has been less extreme than Cruz’s, but that certainly doesn’t mean Christian Stolte’s time on the show has been uneventful. All the times that Mouch has seemed on the verge of being killed off alone would be hard to count! Still, Stolte shared what he particularly enjoys about his time as Mouch, and it’s not fighting fires. Stolte explained: 

I actually could not be happier with where they've taken me, especially recently. You know, we're not on a comedy show. But I am a big fan of comedy as is pretty much the whole group. And I've been lucky enough to be part of the funnier B and C storylines, and to get to sort of play in that world. And then I get, you know, the occasional bit of real firefighter hero business. And a lot of my fellow castmates are launching careers, you know, they're young people, they're looking at that next thing and I'm sort of like, waiting for the Grim Reaper. I'm just kind of comfortably sitting back wrapping up my career. So I don't mind sort of fading a little bit, being the guy on the couch. Occasionally he says something wise, occasionally it's just baffling. Occasionally he has a sort of childlike understanding of the world. I feel like they've made me into a bit of a catch-all, where if they have an idea, and they can't fit it here or here, it might very well land on my couch. And I'm happy.

Honestly, Chicago Fire truly needs good old-fashioned humor sometimes when the A storylines get particularly heavy, and Mouch delivers on that front. In fact, Fire revisited one of the highlights of Mouch’s time over the past ten years earlier this season with the reappearance of the Sheets on Fire novel. Joe Minoso piped up in support of Christian Stolte, saying that “you can count on Christian to deliver no matter what it is he's given.” Stolte had a fun response that included a compliment for Jesse Spencer:

Oh, there's a lot of stuff I can't do. Sometimes I'll just watch Jesse [Spencer] during a take, you know, and I'll think, 'Man, I don't know how I would handle this moment if I were him.' And then he does it. You know, he's the consummate pro. And he just does it and makes it look effortless, and I go, 'They would have never gotten that out of me. They would have never gotten that out of me.'

Depending on what happens in the 200th episode on October 20, the Chicago Fire cast might not be working with Jesse Spencer on a regular basis anymore. The show has certainly set Casey up to relocate to Oregon to take care of the Darden boys, and the previous episode went pretty far in ruling out the possibility of Casey simply bringing Griffin and Ben to Chicago. Of course, Chicago Fire has pulled bait-and-switches before when it comes to cliffhangers, so fans can always hope for a resolution that doesn’t see the departure of Casey.

Fortunately, the question of Casey’s future on Chicago Fire and whether Jesse Spencer is leaving his fellow longtime castmates will be answered sooner rather than later. Be sure to tune in to NBC on Wednesday, October 20 at 9 p.m. ET to catch the 200th episode of Chicago Fire, right in between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET, and just a day before the 500th episode of Law & Order: SVU elsewhere in the Dick Wolf TV universe.

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).