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Image Credit: Elizabeth Morris/NBC

'Chicago P.D.' and 'Chicago Fire' crossovers create a rich, layered landscape

NBC has created a fully fleshed out look at Chicago emergency services with its franchise that currently consists of Chicago Fire and its sister series, Chicago P.D. The idea of the franchise could have begun as early as the third airing of Chicago Fire in October 2012, when my friend dubbed Det. Voight “Detective Scary Pants.” I don’t know if there was a plan in place to start a franchise at that point, but the way it played out and the breadth of the world created since that moment is admirable.

At the time, Voight was a dirty cop hell-bent on protecting his son at all costs when he was responsible for a drunk-driving accident. Voight entered the world of Chicago Fire when he attempted to coerce Lt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) into changing his official statement about what he witnessed at the scene. As the story progressed, Voight held nothing back, threatening both Casey and his girlfriend on multiple occasions.

Voight’s interference in Casey’s life was indirectly responsible for relationship discord between Casey and his fiancée, which ultimately lead to a breakup. After threatening Casey’s life, Voight was sent to prison, and later released on a deal to run the Intelligence Unit of Chicago P.D. as long as he continually fed them information. Want to see what Casey thought of Voight’s shenanigans? Watch the following video to find out:

The relationship between Voight and Casey was further examined upon Voight’s release and promotion, at the same time that Casey’s ex reentered his life. Also around this time, Voight’s circumstances started pointing toward a potential spin-off, as prison was his wake-up call. He was still tough as nails, but not holding grudges.

When Casey’s girlfriend was murdered while helping the Chicago P.D. on an undercover investigation, Voight shot the killer right in the head by way of payback to Casey for everything he had put them through in the past. There was no way Voight could bring back Casey’s girl or adequately atone for past mistakes, but he could ensure that any trouble Casey would have gotten into by taking the law into his own hands fell onto Voight’s shoulders instead.

Through the entire first season of Chicago Fire, the seeds were being planted for a spin-off series, slowly turning Detective Scary Pants into someone you’d want to have on your side. It worked. In this clip, he and his team work with Casey to bring down the killer. (The bald guy is later on the receiving end of a fatal shot to the head.)

 

Another popular Chicago P.D. character was also introduced on Chicago Fire: Jay Halstead. Known merely as Jay, he was a regular visitor to Molly’s and became close with Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund). He was first revealed as a lackey for a not-so-silent partner in the firefighters’ establishment, until Gabriela’s brother Antonio later outed Jay as an undercover agent working to bring down a ruthless landlord.

Antonio Dawson was another frequent visitor to Chicago Fire, and the familial connection with Gabriela will keep the two series tied for as long as the two characters remain on their respective programs. It only makes sense that when something big goes down in one hour, there will be some residual effects on the other. The theme throughout the Chicago franchise is family — whether by blood or through the job.

Chicago P.D. was launched with deeply woven backstories like these, giving Chicago Fire viewers a sense of familiarity with the characters before the series ever aired. By watching Voight’s transformation, we knew he was someone who would bend the rules. We were also comfortable with Dawson and his ability to stand up to Voight, knowing he’d never let his superior take things a step too far again.

Dawson brought Voight down when he was involved with Casey, and was responsible for maintaining the close ties between the firehouse and the precinct. With the triple threat of Voight, Dawson and Halstead, the Intelligence Unit would be in good hands.

Now that both series are airing simultaneously, there have been even more opportunities for the series to cross over. There doesn’t need to be a big event like the one coming up, because it’s already become so natural for the characters to rely upon each other for both work and play.

When Severide’s sister was kidnapped, Lindsay ran point on the case. The two made multiple appearances on both shows, affording viewers the comfort that someone was always aware of the situation and no stone would go unturned until she was found. That brought Severide and Lindsay close enough to take a stab at dating, something they’re doing right now in the background, thanks to Severide’s perseverance and that kiss.

Kelly Severide and his father, Benny Severide (Treat Williams), have both made several trips on various occasions to District 21 on police matters, bringing Sgt. Trudy Platt across both universes. Recently Severide and Mills (Charlie Barnett) were at the scene of a fire, leading to a big investigation on Chicago P.D. It was at Molly’s bar that Ruzek first did a double take at Burgess in her street clothes, leading him to question the future of his marriage.

The unique nature of the Chicago franchise and the way it’s set up makes Chicago feel like the large city it is, rather than a small world confined by the boundaries of television. Viewers of both series can invest deeply in the characters, as they are given a wide array of friendships and relationships without having to meet new players to get the stories started.

Next week, the series will invest in one of their biggest crossovers to date. Starting on Chicago Fire on April 29, the city is rocked by an explosion, putting characters we love from both series in peril. If you watch one show but not the other, now is the time to strap in and prepare to watch them both. The best and the bravest will come to the aid of their fellow emergency workers, and it’s going to be all hands on deck. Sometimes it seems like you’re teased into watching an episode of a show you don’t normally watch only to find a one-minute cameo, but I can assure you that is not the case here.

Enjoy the crossover event, and come back here after the April 30 episode of Chicago P.D. for a full rundown of what happened to our friends when the city is under siege. Until then, enjoy a taste of what’s to come:

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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