Derek Haas on Chicago Fire season finale: ‘Emotional haymakers’

CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire’s season finale has ’emotional haymakers’ ahead according to co-creator Derek Haas, who teased what’s at the end of Chicago Fire season 6.

Tomorrow’s Chicago Fire season finale is so big, it needed an extra hour—and co-creator Derek Haas told us those two episodes are going to hit you square in the heart.

After a season that involved two cliffhangers putting someone in physical jeopardy, Derek told One Chicago Center that for the final act of Chicago Fire season 6, he decided to go for the more emotional conclusion.

“With Chicago Fire, we don’t have just one big finale,” he explained. “We have three, because we had the winter finale and then we had an Olympics finale. So it wasn’t only how do you do what you did last year, but how do you do more this year?

“Last year was this big spectacle of this warehouse on fire and Mouch had a heart attack, and we thought Casey was going to die, and we just felt like we couldn’t do that again,” he continued.

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“This year, we had Casey and Severide on top of a building launching off into space while a fireball would chase them—again a spectacle kind of cliffhanger.

“[For the season finale], we decided we’d go with some emotional haymakers.”

There are several characters who have a lot emotionally invested in Thursday’s back-to-back episodes. One is Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), who is looking toward a bigger future. He’s now locked into a battle with Chief Grissom (returning guest star Gary Cole) for the soon-to-be-vacant role of fire commissioner, and it’s serious.

“Boden’s going to be looking at that,” Derek teased, “and Chief Grissom we haven’t seen the last of. He’s back with a vengeance.”

Grissom’s former friend Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) has his own personal issue to deal with, because his ex-girlfriend Renee Royce (Sarah Shahi) is also present for both hours of the season finale. What was it like for Derek to revisit a character and a relationship that we hadn’t heard of since season 2?

“[Sarah] was a great romantic love interest in season 1 for Severide,” Derek reflected. “And then when we realized we couldn’t keep her in season 2 because she had gotten a lead role on another show, we came up with this ending to her character that I wasn’t all that satisfied with.

“I thought if we could get her back and maybe redeem her a bit in the audience’s eyes,” he continued, “and yet play up to the audience’s expectations, because I can guarantee you when people think of her, they remember the end more than they remember the rest. And we can’t hide from that.

“She’s going to come at an inopportune time for Severide and Kidd, and reinsert herself in Severide’s life, and Kidd’s going to be wary of her motives.”

The Chicago Fire season 6 conclusion will also have a more light-hearted storyline for Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), who needs one after his dalliance with infidelity.

“The other storyline to watch out for is Brett and Cruz and the Slamigan,” Derek revealed. “We haven’t seen the end of the Slamigan. New things are going to be happening in that world. Brett helped manufacture the Slamigan so she’s tied into it, and someone new is going to come look at the tool.”

With things like possible promotions, new-old relationships and even a possible Dawsey baby on the horizon, that presents an interesting conundrum for Derek Haas and the rest of the writers on Chicago Fire. How do they allow their characters to move forward with their lives, while also being able to keep the show going?

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“There’s going to be some more answers and maybe some new questions arising,” Derek teased. “Where we have fun challenging ourselves, is how do we do thing that you think will be hard from a production standpoint or hard from a character development standpoint.

“But when you make those choices rather than pull back from them, sometimes they can be rewarding. It will give you more creativity in the writers room,” he concluded. “You’ve got to keep these characters progressing.”

Next: Chicago Fire season finale predictions

Don’t miss the two-hour Chicago Fire season finale starting an hour earlier tomorrow. What are you most looking forward to in the finale? Let us know in the comments!

Chicago Fire airs Thursday at 9/8c on NBC.