Why Chicago Fire’s Huge Season Premiere Death Was So Gruesome, According To The Showrunner

Chicago Fire Otis Season 8 Death

Spoilers ahead for the Season 8 premiere of Chicago Fire**.**

The Season 7 finale of Chicago Fire ended on a cliffhanger and brought a deadly disaster right to the steps of Firehouse 51. The Season 8 premiere, titled “Sacred Ground”, followed up on the aftermath of the big explosion and detailed the extensive number of injuries the firefighters sustained. For Yuri Sardarov’s Otis, those injuries were too much for his body to handle and he unexpectedly died from the severity of his burns.

It was a somber way to start off Season 8, that’s for sure. As one of the main characters, Otis was beloved by many, and his death affectedv (and will continue to affect) his friends and colleagues deeply. Not only was Otis’ death shocking, viewers saw first-hand the gruesome burns he suffered as Chicago Fire didn't shy away from putting them on display while he was cooped up in the ambulance. Out of everyone, his death impacted his best friend and roommate, Joe Minoso’s Joe Cruz, the most.

CinemaBlend's own Laura Hurley recently spoke with Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas about Otis’ death, and why Season 8 opened with showing the firefighter's burns.

Well, I think we wanted to pick back up the show in real time. That was like one second later. That was always what we had in mind, and then as you're writing an episode, I don't even know how these ideas come. You just start thinking out how this scene would play out, and I thought something that we'd never done before was have Cruz in the back of the ambulance, and they pull his shirt apart, and he sees. For the first time, he knows, in that moment, this is not something you come back from. So I just knew that would make for, especially with Joe Minoso playing it, it would make for a real emotional gut punch scene. And it would just set the tone for the rest of the episode.

A moment like that could end up haunting Cruz if he lets it, and he'll likely have to strain to not have that gruesome sight stinging his eyes on a daily basis. Especially in similar situations where other people are in need of treatment.

It seems there’s a fatal pattern with Fall TV this year, as both NBC’s New Amsterdam and Fox’s The Resident also kicked off their season premieres with major character deaths. Much like the aforementioned series will continue feeling the blows of their respective losses, Derek Haas promised that the characters of Chicago Fire will also struggle with mourning Otis for the rest of Season 8.

We are going to keep exploring the idea throughout the season of how different people and different personalities deal with that big of a loss and how the old axiom of with tragedy it takes time to get to the other side of it. But different people's clocks are different, and someone might be able to deal with it sooner rather than others who might take longer. And people's personalities, they deal with these kind of things differently. You're going to feel the effects of this for a long time.

Something tells me the rest of Chicago Fire's new season won't exactly be free from tragedies, either, so here's hoping Otis' death is the heaviest blow dealt to all the characters, so that viewers don't need to fret about other major characters going down. I mean, more than usual, anyway.

Chicago Fire Season 8 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC and be on the lookout for the series to crossover with Chicago P.D. and Med soon.

Mae Abdulbaki