One Chicago is the place to be in primetime when it comes to a solid block of shared universe action, with Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. on NBC Wednesdays. The 2019-2020 TV season welcomed new directors to the sets of Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, with NBC's Female Forward program bringing in Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz to step behind the camera.
Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz recently spoke with CinemaBlend about their experiences on Fire and Med, including the opportunities for women in television, making crossover history with the "Infection" event in fall 2019, stepping into the One Chicago universe, and more. First, what brought them into One Chicago!
Joining NBC's One Chicago As Female Directors
Although the 2019-2020 TV season for One Chicago has been cut short, both Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz directed episodes that made it to air in the second half of Chicago Fire and Chicago Med's current seasons. They were able to join One Chicago as a result of NBC's Female Forward program, which gives female directors the opportunity to helm episodes of hit shows as part of an initiative to achieve gender parity in the field.
Brenna Malloy directed the March 18 episode of Chicago Fire, called "Protect A Child," while SJ Main Muñoz directed the upcoming March 25 episode of Chicago Med, called "In the Name of Love," as the first following the milestone 100th installment. Both directors shared how they became involved with the Female Forward program that brought them to One Chicago:
Following an application process and a series of conversations that led Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz to being selected by NBC's Female Forward project and then paired with Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, respectively, they were able to make their debuts as TV directors in One Chicago. Considering One Chicago regularly scores some of the most consistently impressive ratings on the small screen, these shows definitely qualify as hits.
Preparation For One Chicago Before Directing Debuts
Of course, joining a shared universe comprised of three long-running shows is no small task, with many connections between Fire, Med, and P.D., not to mention the complex histories and personalities of the many characters. What happens with one show often impacts the others. Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz explained how they prepared for their directing debuts on Chicago Fire and Chicago Med:
By Brenna Malloy watching the full run of Chicago Fire and SJ Main Muñoz watching the full run of Chicago Med, not to mention the major crossovers between the three shows, they were able to jump right into a massive shared universe already familiar with the series. Interestingly, Main Muñoz went on to share that one of the two episodes she was able to shadow as part of Female Forward was the Med hour of the huge three-part "Infection" crossover, and Malloy shadowed the Fire hour.
Experiencing The "Infection" Crossover And One Chicago History
One Chicago fans undoubtedly remember the "Infection" crossover that brought the teams from Fire, Med, and P.D. together to fight flesh-eating bacteria released in the Windy City. It was a cinematic event with a lot of moving parts, almost feeling like three hours of one show rather than three separate episodes of three shows. SJ Main Muñoz, who specifically praised the quarantine tents used to set the tone at the hospital on Chicago Med during the crossover, shared how shadowing "Infection" set them up for success as directors:
Although the "Infection" crossover was certainly not the first time that the various shows of One Chicago crossed over with each other, and they actually share characters on a semi-regular basis, it was arguably the most cohesive event involving Fire, Med, and P.D. to date. When I noted that shadowing the "Infection" crossover was jumping right into the deep end of One Chicago, Brenna Malloy revealed that the crossover actually resulted in Fire and Med making One Chicago history with P.D.
The "Infection" crossover of course opened with the heroes of Fire, Med, and P.D. trying to take a break from the Chicago crises and enjoy some Bears football before the flesh-eating bacteria brought the fun to a halt. To pull this off, One Chicago brought in a record number of extras to play the tailgaters, making One Chicago history and getting the "Infection" three-parter off to a start of grand scale.
Potentially Returning To One Chicago And Directing Chicago P.D.
Now that both Brenna Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz have experience shadowing a crossover event involving all three shows and have directed an episode of Fire and Med solo, I had to ask if they'd be interested in potentially returning to One Chicago once production resumes. Even though the current seasons will end earlier than expected, all three One Chicago series have already been renewed for three more seasons! On possibly directing Chicago shows again:
As Brenna Malloy noted, the three Chicago shows are very different despite sharing a universe and often sharing characters. Malloy and SJ Main Muñoz have proven they can helm episodes of Fire and Med, but would they be game to tackle an episode of One Chicago's darkest series in future seasons? Malloy and Main Muñoz didn't even hesitate when asked if they'd be interested in directing Chicago P.D.:
Only time will tell what's in store next for Brenna Malloy, SJ Main Muñoz, and One Chicago as a whole. With all three shows renewed for three more seasons, there's no danger of One Chicago coming to an end any time soon, and the Med showrunners already have ideas for next season. Malloy's episode of Chicago Fire interestingly showcased a plot for Stella Kidd that should promote women within the universe, while fans can still look forward to Main Muñoz's episode of Med, airing on March 25.
For the latest in One Chicago action, be sure to tune in to NBC Wednesday for Med starting at 8 p.m. ET, Fire at 9 p.m. ET, and P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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