David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso and Christian Stolte are family at this point. And honestly, it’d be weirder if they weren’t, considering Chicago Fire will celebrate it’s 200th episode next week, a feat not many shows get to – particularly not in as great a shape as the show is, with fans still very much engaged, and plenty of stories still to be told.
But what does the 200th episode have in store for us? Well, despite the fact that this was an interview about exactly that, the three were very tight-lipped about the actual content of the episode, because, as Stolte put it “if you have been a long-time viewer of the show, you’re probably going to watch it without my prompt,” which, fair. He did, however, have one warning. “If you are a person who’s been devoted to the show for a long time, brace yourself.”
Nah, we’re not worried about that. Why would we be?
David Eigenberg, bless his soul, was quick to save us from going on a foreboding spiral with an answer that says a lot, even if it says nothing. “The conflict will come from outside, but the love will blossom from inside.”
We’re gonna make that into t-shirts.
“These characters, even their flaws,” he added, “is that they care and have compassion, and that comes from first responders – the actual first responders that we work with, and their genuine concern for the human condition and taking care of people.”
How that ties into what’s coming in the 200th episode, well, that’s for us to worry about for a few more days. And in truth, most of what Eigenberg, Minoso and Stolte told us was probably designed to make us worry. There were a lot of jokes going around. Eigenberg ate some Oreos. Stolte joked about Cruz’s upcoming storyline having something to do with an incident a factory that leaves him with a terrible fear of packing peanuts. But there was also real camaraderie, and a real appreciation for what the show is, and the storylines they are bringing to life.
Favorite moments? That wasn’t easy to pin down.
“Everything between action and cut,” Minoso said, not that gives us anything. “Especially in those first couple of years,” he added, probably to avoid the looks of incredulity at this non-answer. “just whatever nonsense was filling our time, while they were setting up a giant fire and we were sitting on a freezing truck, those will forever be the best memories for me.”
Solte agreed, pointing out that the first few seasons were special because “it was all new to us, and we were all sort of marveling at the idea that we could get paid to hang out with this cool group of people,” but also adding that “any moment in the back of that truck where we’re laughing till tears come out of our eyes, that’s my favorite moment.”
But he also had some praise for others, sharing that “a lot of the cool rescues and stuff we did those are hard won moments,” because “they take a lot of hard work from a lot of people to make those things happen, and they are rewarding in their own way.”
And, he teased an upcoming scene we cannot wait to have on our TV screens, sharing that they’d recently “shot a scene that took place entirely in the bullpen, and it was a fast paced, high stake, fast moving scene, and it was probably the most rewarding acting experience I’ve had in ten seasons.”
Minoso brought up last year’s “My Lucky Day,” calling it “unlike anything we’d ever filmed,” and pointing out that “when we have the opportunity to play with each other for an extended period, and everyone’s hyper focused on making the scene work, it is rewarding in a wholly new way.”
Despite that, Stolte was quick to point out that they “don’t tend to take ourselves very seriously, we mock ourselves and each other all the time and once in a while” there comes a moment where “each of us realizes we’re pretty good at this.”
They are. Individually, and as a group, and that extends to the entire cast. “Everybody is on board,” Eigenberg shared. “There’s never been a moment of someone going like I’m not doing it like that type thing.” Instead, there are “many selfless, how can I help make this work.”
In this cast there’s always “a conversation about being better as opposed to being, the self, the individual,” because “WE all want each other to be as good as we can.!
And when new people come in, well, Stolte was clear. “They either get it, or they don’t last very long.”
Storytelling wise this camaraderie works well, because, as Eigenberg told us, the show doesn’t really “have a nemesis inside the core group of actors that we have together, but the show is always branching out,” and bringing outside issues, outside problems. “It’s tentacles of love,” he said, adding that he absolutely loved that metaphor.
Just don’t ask these three – or honestly, any of the actors, what’s the endgame, what’s the plan. They don’t know. “They don’t ask us,” Minoso shared. “If they asked us what we would be interested in, our show would be very different.”
“No one’s suggesting we would continue to get any viewers,” Stolte laughed, which Minoso seemed to agree with. “I think it’s a good idea they’re not asking us for ideas.”
Ten seasons in, Chicago Fire doesn’t really need much help in keeping viewers engaged and interested. And though the show is celebrating 200 episodes next week, it doesn’t feel like Chicago Fire is on its last legs. These guys are certainly not looking to hang it up anytime soon.
Here’s to another 200. And to this same amazing group of actors to celebrate the next decade with.
Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.