It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Carl Grissom on Chicago Fire. The fire commissioner has played a big role in seasons prior, but his emphasis on making career strides has made less of a consistent presence in the firehouse.
That said, the character’s shadow still looms over the show. Grissom was mentioned by name in the season 10 episode, “Halfway to the Moon”, as someone who tried to stifle the career of one Severide (Taylor Kinney).
Here’s what you need to know about the character and the actor who plays him.
What happened to Grissom on Chicago Fire?
Grissom is played by Gary Cole. The actor is a familiar name in big screen comedy, having been in classics like Office Space (1999), Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). He’s also flexed his dramatic muscles in shows like The West Wing and American Gothic.
Cole’s dramatic chops are the ones called upon during his Chicago Fire stint. Grissom is an ambitious man who’s willing to do what he has to do to advance to the top, and the selfish approach puts him at odds with more honorable men like Boden (Eamonn Walker).
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Nowhere is this more evident than in the anecdote Severide tells Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) in the aforementioned episode “Halfway to the Moon”. The couple are torn on whether they should let Gallo (Alberto Rosende) try out for Squad, and Severide counters Kidd’s concerns by recalling the time he tried out for Squad.
He claims that he was accepted the first time he tried out, but that he went several weeks without knowing because Grissom kept the news hidden from him. It wasn’t until Boden asked him that he realized he on the team. Severide chalks Grissom’s decision up to selfishness, in that he wanted to keep a firefighter of Severide’s talent under his command.
The anecdote impacts Kidd’s stance, and her approach to Gallo. It also affirms Grissom’s penchant for spotting talent, and knowing who to keep around him, but refusing to do what’s best for them versus what’s best for him.
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