By Emma Sarran Webster | October 28, 2016 | People
What do the casts of NBC’s hit locally shot and set shows Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice think of the Chicago Cubs, the city, the franchise's sense of community, and ideas for a fifth addition to the empire?
Rachel DiPillo as Dr. Sarah Reese and Oliver Platt as Dr. Daniel Charles on Chicago Med.
Living in Chicago, it’s almost impossible not to take notice—and become a loyal fan—of Dick Wolf’s TV franchise on NBC. What started with Chicago Fire back in 2012, has gradually grown to become an empire, adding Chicago P.D. in 2014, then Chicago Med in 2015—and in early 2017, a fourth show, Chicago Justice, will join the mix. The franchise, which continues to draw viewers in with dramatic storylines, Chicago realities, and seriously talented actors, is not only taking over NBC’s dramatic line-up, but also contributing to (and influencing) Chicago’s booming TV industry.
So, what’s it like being a part of this game-changing TV movement? We visited the sets of all four shows at Pilsen’s Cinespace Film Studios for NBC’s “One Chicago” day, and got the dish from cast members on the growing NBC Chicago community, their ideas for a fifth show, and, of course, another booming Chi-Town franchise: the Chicago Cubs.
Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess on Chicago P.D.
“It’s so fun! I went to school at Northwestern, so I have some Chicago pride left in me. I don't tell my New York friends but I'm definitely rooting for the Cubs. [At one of the games,] there was a guy who actually stole my fly ball, like came into my face. And I’d never started a Twitter war with someone, but I was so mad at this guy that I definitely outed him on Twitter. I didn't find him, but I was like, 'Whoever you are, man, that was so rude.' And he tweeted me back. I didn't go back and forth but I was not pleased. Don't take my fly ball, man!” –Marina Squerciati, who plays Kim Burgess on Chicago P.D.
“I was actually at the game [against the Los Angeles Dodgers] Saturday night, [October 22]. It was an extraordinary experience. I'm from New York, but I went to college with somebody who was a hardcore Cubs fan and he actually taught me what being a fan was actually all about. I'd never met somebody who had [that] kind of passion for their team and their city. So I've sort of had the Cubs on my radar for a while, and when you come live and work in Chicago, how can you not?” –Oliver Platt, who plays Dr. Daniel Charles on Chicago Med
“It’s funny, [my family and I are] L.A. people, but since June, [my kids] have been die-hard Cubs fans. Me, I’m just a little league fan, but I love the Cubs now.” –Jason Beghe, who plays Detective Hank Voight on Chicago P.D.
“I'm about to be extremely transparent right now and let you know, I'm a White Sox fan. I've always loved the Sox. But I am excited about Chicago and the energy that we're getting for the Cubs, and how great they're doing.” –LaRoyce Hawkins, a Chicagoland native, who plays Detective Kevin Atwater on Chicago P.D.
“I don't even follow sports, and I watched the entire [October 22] game. I watched all the commercials. I've never watched a full baseball game in my life. Being in Chicago is extremely romantic right now. I am so thankful I get to be here during the Cubbies [playoffs]. It's pretty cool. Everybody's in a great mood, everybody's smiling, and it's festive.” –Monica Raymund, who plays Gabriela Dawson on Chicago Fire
“I'm not a true baseball fan, and [if I was in Los Angeles] I would [have been] rooting for the Dodgers. But yesterday, we were watching the game and I wanted the Cubs to win. I really did. I love seeing people so excited about their team. And also it helps bring people together in the city, and it creates energy in the city, and excitement in the city.” –Carl Weathers, who plays Mark Jefferies on Chicago Justice
“I'm a Chicago native, so I'm a big Cubs fan. I think we might have a second Chicago fire if we win the World Series. If we win, there's going to be cars being overturned and things being lit on fire. We might have to do an episode about that.” –Yuri Sardarov, who plays Otis on Chicago Fire
“This city deserves it right now. It's awesome. I think they have a really good chance. They're young, but they seem unfazed by the pressure and I'm rooting for them. So, it'll be pretty cool. Seven decades! Come on, that's crazy.” –Jesse Lee Soffer, who plays Detective Jay Halstead on Chicago P.D.
“It's amazing. Saturday night [October 22, against the L.A. Dodgers] was one of those moments you'll tell your grandkids about.” –Philip Winchester, who plays Peter Stone on Chicago Justice
Torrey DeVitto as Natalie Manning on Chicago Med.
“I feel like I'm more active here than I am anywhere else. There are so many great shows all the time, plays, and I love the parks. It's starting to get a little too cold for it, but before this, [I loved] walking down by the lakefront and walking into Lincoln Park. And Chicago has some of the best bookstores. I love bookstores, like ones that are old with little cafes in [them].” –Torrey DeVitto, who plays Dr. Natalie Manning on Chicago Med
“It feels really great. It's also a very actor-friendly city—it's livable, and it's a great, great, great theater town.” –Amy Morton, a Chicago native, who plays Trudy Platt on Chicago P.D.
“I'm really feeling Chicago. In fact, I've made a commitment: I bought a place here.” –S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Sharon Goodwin on Chicago Med.
“It’s a different relationship with the city this year. When I first got here last year, the mission was “new place, adventure time.” I wanted to go to all these different places and see as much as I [could]. And now, I feel like I've gotten to know it pretty well. So it feels a little more like home. And it's nice to get to frequent places versus feeling more like a visitor. I really like going out to the beach. I know one of my favorite places is going be the Museum of Science and Industry. I haven't been there, but I know it's going be one of my favorites; I'm really looking forward to that.” –Rachel DiPillo, who plays Dr. Sarah Reese on Chicago Med
“I'm liking it a lot. It's a beautiful city [with an] awful lot to do [and a] beautiful skyline—maybe one of the most beautiful in the world. [It’s a] tremendously dynamic city. What's not to like? [And the] weather's been really good so far, so I love that! I brought good weather. I'm going to keep bringing it through the winter.” –Carl Weathers
“I was born in New York and raised in Montreal, and Chicago's like the perfect medium. You have the water and the great food, and the big skylines. [But] the Midwest is just a different culture. [It’s] the New York go-getter meets Thanksgiving, at all times. Or the New Yorker [who] relaxes.” –Marlyne Barrett, who plays Maggie Lockwood on Chicago Med
Colin Donnell as Dr. Connor Rhodes on Chicago Med.
“Dick Wolf has an incredible ability to attract not only great talent, but great individuals. We have a blast. We all like to hang out and see each other; we all work really well together. It's awesome.” –Colin Donnell, who plays Dr. Connor Rhodes on Chicago Med
“It feels great. It’s like being back in school—that’s what you miss about school—you don’t have complete access to all your friends, and now we do.” –Marina Squerciati
“It's really a good group. The scripts can be great, but if the people suck you won't have fun. A part of why we get along so well is because we all come from someplace else. When we got here we only had each other. And the fact that it goes through all of the shows is really a testament to Dick Wolf. He brought a group of people together that can function outside of the space of work.” – S. Epatha Merkerson
“I feel fantastic. [There are] a lot of good shows, a lot of good actors, a lot of wonderful directors, and a lot of talent. And to be one of the Dick Wolf people? Pretty cool.” –Carl Weathers
“It's unbelievable. It's unprecedented in television history. And I always had a feeling coming into this, [because] it's a Dick Wolf show, I was confident that we'd get picked up. But to have it turn into something like this, to have it turn into an empire, it's never happened before.” –Yuri Sardarov
“It's such an amazing community of people. They've been such a welcoming family. I think it's a franchise full of actors who are never divas or a--holes, and I think that's really rare, and I think it's amazing, and I think that that's part of why it's been such a successful group.” –Monica Barbaro, who plays an Assistant State’s Attorney on Chicago Justice
“Never have I been a part of one particular show where the cast members love each other like we do on Med. But to have four shows, it's really, really amazing and very, very rare. So I feel very grateful and genuinely appreciative of this situation and what Dick Wolf has created everything you see on screen, the camaraderie and chemistry, those qualities are there because off screen we genuinely enjoy each other and we genuinely hang out.” –Brian Tee, who plays Dr. Ethan Choi on Chicago Med
LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater, Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead on Chicago P.D.
“I have two ideas: One would be Chicago Times, a journalist show. That's an easy transition to make from all these shows to telling the story in the news. And then the other idea would be Chicago SWAT, where it's just Halstead and a little spin-off show just for me. I think that'll work nicely. I got some bosses I might tell that one to.” –Jesse Lee Soffer
“I would suggest Chicago Public Schools. And I would pitch myself to be the lead in that. I can see Atwater starting off as a substitute teacher: He's not really sure if he wants to make this his career, but then he falls in love with aspiring young minds. And around season six or seven of Chicago Public Schools, maybe I'm the principal or something.” –LaRoyce Hawkins
“Chicago Teacher's Union. That'd be a good show, actually. [It’s a] big struggle in this country with that stuff. Public education is arguably the most important thing, and it's very easy to be distracted by things we think are more important. But, what's more important?” –Oliver Platt
“Chicago Hockey. It has to be something athletic, right? Like Chicago [Sports] Manager [or] something like that. Chicago Water Boy.” –Monica Raymund
“We have this pipe dream that after the show ends, we'll do a half-hour comedy: same concept, same actors, all the same situations, but we make fun of them instead of making them so dramatic. I don't think Dick [Wolf] will really go for that, but maybe.” –Yuri Sardarov
“Chicago Dog Catchers.” –Amy Morton
“Chicago Kim Burgess. Amazing!” –Marina Squerciati
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT DINERSTEIN/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES (SQUERCIATI); ELIZABETH SISSON/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES (DEVITTO; DONNELL; HAWKINS, SOFFER; DIPILLO, PLATT)