One Chicago 2022: series timeline explained

ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC)
ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC) /

One Chicago is one of countless shared universes that have dominated pop culture over the past decade. The interconnected network of Windy City organizations has thrilled us repeatedly, much like the MCU or the Arrowverse, but something worth pondering is the franchise’s timeline.

The MCU and the Arrowverse have incorporated time travel and alternate timelines into their stories, making it difficult to determine how their timelines stack up against our real-life timeline. The MCU jumped years into the future during Avengers: Endgame, so has One Chicago pulled any similar stunts?

Well, here’s what you need to know.

Chicago Fire timeline explained

Chicago Fire kicked things off in 2012, and followed the common TV tactic of having a week pass between the events of each episode. This allowed for dramatic wiggle room for the writers, and it kept things aligned with how often fans would see the characters. If every episode were a day, we would be moving at a wildly faster rate than the people on the small screen.

The practice of having each episode take place roughly a week apart is upheld by all three shows in the franchise: Chicago Fire, Med, and PD. It was also the case for the short-lived Chicago Justice. It sometimes doesn’t apply, like when there’s a two-part episode that picks up right after the events of the previous story, but it’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to determining how much time passes.

Where things get slightly trickier is when one factors in the months that pass in between seasons. The off-season of a TV show can be lengthy, especially if the show in question was forced into an abbreviated season (which COVID all but guaranteed in 2020).

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Generally, One Chicago shows will resume the moment they left off when they come back for the season premiere. This is because they usually end things on a cliffhanger that demands an instant resolution. Chicago Fire and Med both left fans on cliffhanger reveals last season, so you should be expecting them to pick up where they left off.

Of course, this means that the show’s timelines are slightly off from our own. The compression of several months into a single episode, or the skipping of time to catch up, doesn’t often come up, so the assumption is that the One Chicago shows are close to our own timeline, if not exact.

Thank goodness the franchise doesn’t have to worry about time travel.

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