Chicago Fire star discusses ‘purpose’ of Evan Hawkins death

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Every Scar Tells a Story" Episode 1102 -- Pictured: Jimmy Nicholas as Chief Hawkins -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Every Scar Tells a Story" Episode 1102 -- Pictured: Jimmy Nicholas as Chief Hawkins -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

The death of Chief Evan Hawkins was a doozy. It not only came out of nowhere, but it shattered one of the most beloved romances in Chicago Fire history. It’s going to be a while until we’ve all made peace with the death, but one person who can help us hasten the process is the man who plays Hawkins: Jimmy Nicholas.

Nicholas recently sat down for an interview with NBC, and discussed the thought process behind killing his character off, as well as what his death means for the rest of the characters on the show.

Why did Evan Hawkins die on Chicago Fire?

For one, the actor was as sad as we were after he filmed his last scene. He admits to feeling overwhelmed when it came time to say goodbye to the cast and crew.

"“Oh my gosh, I cried a lot”, he revealed. “They had me say a word at the end, once I was wrapped, and I tried to hold it together after that. I wasn’t expecting them to bring me a cake and have me say a word, but I held it together for that, and then in the car ride after I was crying.”"

When it came time to discuss the thematic repercussions of Hawkins’s death, however, the actor felt that his character’s death was a necessity, as it highlighted the bravery that men and women showcase as firefighters.

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"“My hope was that I was doing something to save somebody”, Nicholas admitted. “It didn’t end up that I was saving Violet. We didn’t end up getting a goodbye like that on the show. But the fact that there was at least some purpose to it. The fact that Violet gets to have a moment of, ‘Hey, this had a purpose’ is a beautiful thing.”"

The notion of Hawkins dying to protect Violet may have been too much for audiences to handle, so it seems like the right choice was made, narratively speaking. Violet can process the trauma of the incident without having to carry around survivor’s guilt, which would have greatly complicated her arc for the rest of season 11.

It also ensured that Hawkins was, as we all expected, a hero. It’s bittersweet, but it’s a wonderful little touch to add to a character we all love.

Next. Who’s in, who’s out on Chicago Fire, PD and Med. dark

For the latest Chicago Fire season 11 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.