Chicago Fire’s Derek Haas previews season 8’s return: What’s next?

Before Chicago Fire season 8 returns, Derek Haas speaks about Severide’s cliffhanger, Casey’s future and that rumor that Dawson might be pregnant.

When Chicago Fire season 8 resumes Wednesday, there are a lot of questions: Is Severide going to survive? What will Casey do after reuniting with his ex-wife Dawson? And does that mean that Brett’s chances with Casey just went out the window?

Showrunner and co-creator Derek Haas joined One Chicago Center ahead of tomorrow’s spring premiere to answer these and other popular questions, including addressing the fan rumor that Dawson is pregnant after her hookup with Casey in the midseason finale.

Learn what he had to say in our interview with Derek Haas below, then make sure you don’t miss the next new Chicago Fire episode Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 9:00 p.m. on NBC!

One Chicago Center: The Chicago Fire midseason premiere will tell us whether or not Severide survives. It’s not the first cliffhanger where a Firehouse 51 member might die. Do you think you will ever run out of ways to tell that kind of story?

Derek Haas: We’ll never run out of ways to threaten someone’s life. (laughs) It’s what we do, and the thing is we have to do them like four times an episode sometimes also, so it’s not just in these finales.

We do try to mix it up, because we’ve done the finales where everyone’s in a burning building and the building explodes, [and] we’ve done the finales where everybody’s trapped in the basement, but you can’t do that every season.

So I think we will try to do a different, more kind of personal, emotional season finale this year.

OCC: Once that’s resolved, the midseason premiere has Firehouse 51 in conflict with another house. It also isn’t the first time that’s happened, so what can we expect from this storyline? How will it differ from the other times that Chicago Fire has had our heroes butt heads with other firefighters?

DH: Firehouses have their own personalities. That’s something we’ve learned in just going and visiting literally tens of dozens of firehouses in Chicago. One type of personality that came to mind was the sort of glory hog firehouse, where they just want to get their pictures in the paper and be the firehouse that is always on the front page, taking credit for the rescues.

We thought that would be a fun conflict because our house is so humble compared to that. We try to stay out of the papers and we do things behind the scenes. So those two firehouses having orders overlapped seemed a rich source of material for a couple episodes.

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OCC: On the personal front, does Chicago Fire having Casey sleep with Dawson mean that the show isn’t going forward with Casey and Brett? Is there any credence to the rumor that Dawson is pregnant?

DH: It is funny the way the fans minds work. I hadn’t even thought about Dawson being pregnant until someone the day I was doing interviews on the finale was like, so Dawson’s going to come back pregnant now? I was like, what? Well maybe now she is. I hadn’t thought about that.

But I do think this hookup between Casey and Dawson is going to have effects on Casey and Brett going forward. There’s been this sort of undercurrent between the two of them that now I think [the Dawson hookup] disrupts and will certainly make each of them think a little deeper about what kind of relationship they would want to have with each other. Of course, it’s Chicago Fire, so we’re going to put them in proximity of each other in episodes coming up.

OCC: Personal stories aren’t just romantic. Chicago Fire set up this idea of a friendship between Gallo and Ritter. How much more of that will we see in the rest of Chicago Fire season 8?

DH: I love Gallo/Ritter scenes. I think it’s fun to have the, for lack of a better word, millenial perspective in the firehouse. To me it’s almost like contemporary sets going on now—with Boden, Herrmann and Mouch on one level, and then you’ve got Kidd, Brett, Severide on another level. Then you’ve got Ritter and Gallo, and we’re going to meet new paramedic from another house that’s in their peer group, Violet. I love those kind of scenes, and to watch Gallo and Ritter take on more responsibility and move up the chain is something that would be exciting to write.

OCC: Who else will see more of in the remaining Chicago Fire season 8 episodes? Anyone who’s going to get a bigger spotlight?

DH: We always try to mix up who’s getting the focus, in either clusters of episodes or individual episodes. It’s really hard when you have this many characters to give everyone their own big, meaningful storyline, when you’ve also got the stars of your show to service.

But you’re going to see a really nice Mouch story in the 11th episode that I really liked and Christian [Stolte] did just an amazing job shooting. He’s going to have to deal with what I call the Trudy Platt of the post office. That’ll be fun.

There’s stuff coming up for Gallo. Boden’s got a nice storyline coming up. That’s something we’re very conscious of in the writing room, is who gets to get a funny story or a touching story or a romantic story as we break down each episode.

OCC: You’ve now been doing Chicago Fire for eight seasons and more than seven years. What does it mean to you that you’ve sustained this show for most of a decade?

DH: We started writing it in the fall of 2011, so it’s been pretty much all the 2010’s I’ve spent on this show. The way it always comes home to me is, I have this great picture of my two sons Auggie and Bruno on Steve Chikerotis’ and my shoulders watching the pilot filming. They’re just little munchkins up on our shoulders as we’re on the Columbus Drive Bridge, watching Severide go over the side to rappel down into the Chicago River. I look at that picture, and now my boys are 14 and 13 and they’re taller than I am, and I’m like what happened? Where did time go?

I’m very happy with what I get to do week in and week out. I’m not kidding. It’s not lip service to say we have the best cast and crew and staff in the business. They’re so great to work with. They are tireless. People don’t realize what it takes to make this show. When we write there’s going to be a ferris wheel that’s stuck, and it’s going to be sparking and there’s a girl trapped up on the ferris wheel, it just seems to us as writers fun and interesting and dynamic to do.

That puts 300 people into motion to make this happen—to make it safe and then make it exciting. I can’t believe we get to keep doing it week in and week out, and challenge our crew, and they always come through.

Next: Our Chicago Fire season 8 spring predictions

For the latest Chicago Fire season 8 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.

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