Chicago Fire’s Derek Haas talks firehouse romance and all those cliffhangers

NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- "One Chicago Day" -- Pictured: Derek Haas, Executive Producer, "Chicago Fire" at "One Chicago Day" at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Chicago, IL on September 10, 2018 -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)
NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- "One Chicago Day" -- Pictured: Derek Haas, Executive Producer, "Chicago Fire" at "One Chicago Day" at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Chicago, IL on September 10, 2018 -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Sisson/NBC) /

Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas told One Chicago Center about the romance that got broken up off-screen and why the show had so many cliffhangers.

Derek Haas is on the seventh season of Chicago Fire, and he’s figured out one thing that fans love about the show: all the love stories that happen in and around Firehouse 51.

“I love doing the romance part of it,” the showrunner told us during the One Chicago Day press event. “I forget sometimes how important it is, because in the summertime you’re thinking about what are the big stunts, big accidents we can do.

“[But] these two British ladies came one time to Universal, and I was asking them what do you like most about Chicago Fire? Is it the comedy? Is it the drama? Is it the action? They both said it’s the romance, and I was like oh, I’ve got to remember that. So we do love doing it.”

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Derek revealed that the fan favorite Brettonio relationship ended again last season not because the writers wanted it to, but because there were challenges off-screen with scheduling.

“Three seasons we’ve tried to get that going,” he explained. “Jon [Seda]‘s a star on his show and Kara [Killmer]‘s a star on our show and when you start trying to make line producers talk about what their schedules are it just becomes really difficult.”

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Does that mean we’ve seen the last of Brettonio on Chicago Fire?

Not necessarily, at least not if Derek has anything to say about it.

“I don’t feel like we’ve ever really had the great breakup [between Brett and Antonio],” he continued. “I feel it’s always been kind of up in the air.

“We’ve just attributed [the breakups] to their characters—that this one burns hot and then burns out…That’s not to say it won’t happen again this year. We’ll see.”

“The cross-show romances are hard,” he added, pointing to the brief relationship between Fire‘s Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Chicago PD‘s Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) as an example. “Not to say not worth doing, but hard.”

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Something that won’t be happening in Chicago Fire season 7 is an overuse of cliffhanger endings. Some fans noticed that there were quite a few endings left open last season, but Derek explained that wasn’t a creative decision either.

Rather, it was a strategic decision that came from NBC moving the show into a Thursday time slot where it was pulled off the air first by NFL football and then by the Winter Olympics.

“When we’re looking at the ending of episodes, we try to think what’ll get somebody coming back next week,” he told us. “The reason [the multiple cliffhangers] happened was a weird scheduling thing.

“We were on Thursday nights for the first time. We had this winter finale which we generally have, [and] we only had six episodes before that because of football. Then we had the Olympics. So there’s a six-episode block, a five-episode block and then our big [rest of the season]. We thought let’s just do three cliffhangers.

“Sometimes they’re more emotional cliffhangers than they are, say, somebody’s jumping off a building and we don’t see what happens. Sometimes we end on really sad things; sometimes it’s an uplifting beat for the firehouse. It’s hard to write those. You try to make it work for that episode, so that if you only watch that episode, it feels satisfying.”

Next. Read our Chicago Fire season 7 predictions. dark

So while there will be some romance in the new season of Chicago Fire, there will also be a few less cliffhangers.

But fans can still look forward to another action-packed season—just leave it to Derek Haas to navigate all the challenges off-screen while Firehouse 51 handles them on-screen.

Chicago Fire returns to NBC on Sept. 26.