The Chicago universe on NBC is unlike anything else on TV. The three shows are set close enough together and feature characters with close enough ties that mini crossovers happen on a regular basis. Soon, however, Chicago fans are in for a big crossover as the cops of Chicago P.D. team up with the folks of Chicago Fire to tackle a big case. Tracy Spiridakos, who plays Hailey Upton on P.D., explained some of what brings the characters of the two shows for the next crossover:
There's some robberies that were happening and we discover that. We think that it might be a firefighter that's involved from a different unit. We end up going in to speak to Fire and the Fire team helps us try and solve the crimes as to what's been happening with the robberies.
The unit on Chicago P.D. will come across some robberies that seem to be connected to a firefighter in the CFD. The good news is that the suspect is apparently not part of the Chicago Fire family that fans have come to know and love. The crossover begins with an episode of Fire on Wednesday, February 20 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, then concludes with an episode of P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.
Unlike the gigantic crossover of fall 2018, this upcoming event won't include an episode of Chicago Med, although the promo for the week indicates that Med will have plenty going on with a significant crisis. Maybe after what happened to Upton and Burgess in the latest episode (that also saw Burgess learning about Upton and Ruzek's relationship), the P.D. crew will try to avoid any trips to the hospital.
Voight's comments to the unit in that episode certainly point toward safety being paramount, even if it costs them the case. Is this a lingering effect of the loss of Olinsky? Whatever the case, we'll have to wait and see if this crossover will put characters through as much of a wringer as the one in the fall did.
The Chicago franchise is not the only one on the small screen comprised of multiple shows on one network, but it does stand out from the likes of the Arrow-verse on The CW and Grey's Anatomy/Station 19 over on ABC. While the Arrow-verse is comprised of more shows, the characters aren't all in the same city, universe, or even timeline. Grey's Anatomy only has the one spinoff.
Besides, the high-stakes nature of the characters' jobs on the Chicago shows means crossovers happen. Scenes of fires sometimes need cops. Crime scenes sometimes need firefighters. EMTs and doctors have reasons to interact. Some of the characters are even related. Tracy Spiridakos addressed how it feels to be part of the Chicago universe, saying this:
It's really cool. It feels really great, and I love the big crossovers with everybody. It just makes the one Chicago universe so interesting, and it really brings everything to life when everyone crosses over into each others' shows. As an audience member, I really enjoy watching it. It's an absolute pleasure to be a part of.
Viewers can attest to the fact that the multi-show nature of the universe adds a real sense of scale to everything that goes down, and the close ties between the shows means that it's not impossible to understand what's going on in the crossovers, even if you're not a regular viewer of all three of the shows.
That's not to say that there aren't differences between the three shows, and the 10 p.m. ET Chicago P.D. can get a lot more violent than the 8 p.m. ET Chicago Med. It should be interesting to see this upcoming crossover event without Med in the mix. At the very least, it may mean that the Halstead brothers get a break from the drama, although Will Halstead has had reasons to interact with P.D. lately.
When I asked Tracy Spiridakos about the atmosphere on the very sets during big crossovers, she explained like this:
As just us, as people, it's really fun to have everyone pop over, going onto their set and them coming onto ours. It's fun. It's like getting to play the same character but in a completely different environment, which is always really fun. And everyone from all the other shows are all wonderful people, and getting to work with them and interact with them is an absolute treat.
The characters of Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med don't fundamentally change when they appear on other shows, but their behavior may be different as they interact in different environments. This is clearly fun for the actors, and it sounds like the teams from the three shows all get along well.
Of course, what is fun for the actors and for viewers generally isn't 100% fun for the characters. It usually takes something pretty dire to bring them together for a major crossover event. It should be interesting to see how much time the crossover has for business as usual on both shows.
Will Chicago P.D. take a break from teasing more of Upton/Ruzek? How will the stakes of the investigation be different? As for Fire, will Emily Foster get a break from her stalker situation? It seems unlikely that it's been resolved already, although only time will tell.
We can't be sure of much until the episodes hit the airwaves, but I feel confident that the crossover will draw big ratings. The three shows have been delivering solid numbers for NBC all season, with the fall finales turning in some great ratings. Surely a crossover event will attract plenty of viewers! If so, hopefully it will mean more crossovers on the way.
New episodes of Chicago P.D. air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Chicago Med at 8 p.m. and Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. The shows technically exist in the same universe as Law & Order: SVU, although the connections are much more distant than those between the three Chicago series. For some TV shows set outside of that universe, be sure to check out our 2019 midseason TV premiere schedule.