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'Chicago Fire' ignites drama for NBC

New series from producer Dick Wolf is character-driven
BY JACQUELINE CUTLER Modified: October 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012

By the second episode of NBC'S “Chicago Fire” at 9 p.m. Wednesday, the characters are more nuanced — flawed yet heroic, much like real firefighters.

“I think on the surface, and the way it is marketed, you see it as a firefighter show, and I think it could be perceived as anything from a procedural to an in-house drama,” says Taylor Kinney (“The Vampire Diaries”), who plays rescue squad Lt. Kelly Severide. “First and foremost, it is a show about characters. It is not necessarily a fire-of-the-week show. The firehouse serves as a common meeting ground for the people to get together, for the people to tell stories of their lives.

“It is a lot more character-driven than I think people will expect, which I think will make it all the more rich,” Kinney says.

Executive producer Dick Wolf, creator of the “Law & Order” dynasty, is behind the show, and his sensibility comes through. The emergencies and how the first responders react have the ring of authenticity, a hallmark of Wolf's shows.

In this week's episode, a construction worker, played by veteran actor Jeffrey DeMunn, suffers an accident, and Kelly responds and befriends him. The emergency medical technicians are also at the scene.

Monica Raymund (“Lie to Me”) plays Gabriela Dawson, a paramedic with designs on medical school.

“I describe her as she is a tough chick,” Raymund says. “She is a tough girl who has got a big heart. It is as easy as it is for her to kick some butt, but she can get her butt kicked, too. She is pretty vulnerable. I am figuring her out as we are filming. It is really enjoyable playing her.”

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