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Spoilers ahead for the winter premiere of Chicago Fire Season 8, called "Hold Our Ground."
Chicago Fire blazed back to the small screen with a winter premiere that resolved the Severide cliffhanger and answered some of the questions left by the fall finale, but it also delivered something that few fans could have seen coming: a fast and furious car chase involving three fire trucks, one ambulance, and a bright red pickup truck while the heroes of Firehouse 51 tried to get back a stolen piece of equipment. Showrunner Derek Haas shared the fun reason why Fire went so fast and furious.
Derek Haas, who cowrote 2 Fast 2 Furious as the second film in the Fast & Furious franchise long before Chicago Fire launched on NBC in 2012, spoke with CinemaBlend about "Hold Our Ground." When I asked how one pulls off a car chase of this scale in Chicago, he said this:
[laughs] I'm so glad you asked that. Michael Brandt and I, way back in the summer of 2002 got to make a little movie called 2 Fast 2 Furious, and we've always talked about doing some sort of Fast and Furious homage in a Chicago Fire episode. It took us eight and a half seasons to get it done, but we thought it would be a fun idea to just be in that culture a little bit, have our characters come up against the fast and furious culture, and do a car chase! [laughs] We don't get to do many car chases. It was a blast.
Who needs a Fast & Furious movie when there's Chicago Fire on NBC? The car chase involving all four of Firehouse 51's emergency vehicles was bigger and more intense than much of anything that can be found on broadcast television, and it showed the good guys proving they can coordinate more than disaster scenes. Don't steal the jaws of life from one of 51's crews if you don't want to be chased through the streets of Chicago!
Even though it took eight and a half seasons for the 2 Fast 2 Furious -- which remains quite possibly my favorite title ever for a sequel -- homage to happen on Chicago Fire, it was definitely something new and unexpected for viewers. After weeks of waiting for resolution to the Severide cliffhanger, something fun, flashy, and heroic was just what the audience probably needed.
When I noted that the Chicago Fire car chase involving three fire trucks, an ambulance, and a pickup was even bigger than a lot of Chicago P.D. chases, Derek Haas (who is also an executive producer on P.D.) said this:
No, not in a long time. I remember we did one in Season 2, I think it was. They're always fun to shoot, so having our four vehicles involved in a little bit of cat-and-mouse video game play trying to track this truck. You are trying to do something different.
Fortunately for Firehouse 51, they successfully caught the pickup thanks to a bold move by Brett driving the ambulance and then the timely arrivals of the three fire trucks, which meant Truck 81 got their stolen jaws of life back and didn't get in any trouble for a fast and furious chase through Chicago. Things might have gotten uglier if it happened on the darker P.D., or in a crossover between Fire and P.D. like the one coming up that will bring back an old P.D. character.
While the good guys triumphed over the thief, who had been using the jaws of life to crack ATMs, "Hold Our Ground" could have been the beginning of a crew of bad guys with a bone to pick with Firehouse 51. Derek Haas cleared up whether or not there's more fast furiousness in the future of Fire connected to this case:
This was a one episode thing. We had read somewhere, I don't even know where, we had read something about a jaws of life being used to crack open an ATM somewhere in America. I'm not even sure where we came across the news article, but as soon as I saw that, I was like, 'Oh, that would make an interesting episode where somebody steals our jaws of life and then is using them to crack ATM machines.'
Hopefully this means the Truck 81 crew won't lose their jaws of life again any time soon! For now, Fire could go in any number of directions. With Severide alive and seemingly not tempted to stray from Stella in Seager's direction, more of one character on the way, and Fire setting up some "new living arrangements," fans can only wait and see what happens.
New episodes of Chicago Fire air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between new episodes of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.