Dick Wolf's Chicago-based shows have become known not only for the smaller connections that help build the shared universe of first responders, but the large mega-crossovers that feature one sprawling, impressive storyline which takes over each series for one night. Next week will see the first of these events in the fall 2019 television season, and it will focus on a mysterious, flesh-eating disease that's also highly infectious, which appears to have been weaponized by someone quite nefarious. Now, we know why Dick Wolf and Chicago Fire, P.D. and Med executive producer Derek Haas liked the idea so much.
When I had a chance to speak with Derek Haas at One Chicago Day recently, I asked why this act of medical terrorism (which will likely be filled with some gruesome deaths and some romantic relationship building) was so appealing to him and Dick Wolf as they were preparing this year's crossover, and the answer was a lot simpler than many might have thought it would be:
Well, we hadn’t done it before. You’re always looking for something to top whatever you’ve done in the past, and we felt like this story could make all hours feel like all three shows in a way that we hadn’t done before. It seemed like a leaping off point for three exciting hours.
Oooh. Sounds good, doesn't it? And, honestly, Derek Haas' answer is also refreshingly straight-forward. While these mega Chicago crossovers haven't exactly been happening since the dawn of time, they've become such big events during each TV season that it can certainly feel like we were never without them. Fans wouldn't tune in in droves each time if Dick Wolf, Derek Haas and their teams could only manage to serve up similar disasters each time.
Super producer Dick Wolf came up with the basics for the Infection storyline and worked with Derek Haas to come up with the main plot points that will make up Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. when the three hour crossover airs on Wednesday, October 16. While there are certainly been some tricky medical situations over the years on these shows, there has never been anything quite this nasty purposely used to hurt innocent people, so right out of the gate they've created a brand new disaster to sink their teeth into.
Haas had previously mentioned that this crossover was crafted to feature stories that intertwine in a way we hadn't seen before, and even compared the coming three hours to classic action / disaster films Independence Day and Poseidon Adventure. It turns out that another of the reasons that Infection felt like a good fit for this year's crossover was the ability of the storyline to help blend the characters and shows together in a way that hadn't really been done before. This, of course, means that we'll basically be treated to a TV event that feels more like an actual movie than ever before.
We can see how Infection turns out when the event kicks off next Wednesday, October 16 with Chicago Fire at 8 p.m. EST, followed by Chicago Med at 9 p.m. and then wraps up with Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.