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TV Goodness Q&A: Chicago Fire Cast and EPs Talk Season Two, Sperm, Love Triangles, and more [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/NBC
Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/NBC

Wow, has the summer flown by!  It seems like just yesterday the jaw-dropping season finale of Chicago Fire aired with Severide’s former girlfriend showing up pregnant, Mills and Dawson breaking up, and Mills getting fed up and applying at the Chicago PD.  Fortunately, the wait is over and Chicago Fire is back this week.  We got a chance to chat with Charlie Barnett (“Peter Mills”), Monica Raymund (“Gabriela Dawson”) and EPs Michael Brandt and Derek Haas on what is in store for season 2.

When we last saw Peter, he was at the Chicago PD getting an application. Is that kind of a hot-headed response to not getting the job — even though he knows very few people get it their first time and he knows he has all these people in his corner? Or is it also partly because of his breakup with Gabby?

Charlie Barnett: “I think it’s that and among other things as well. It was — for me, at least — a lot of my father’s situation kind of brought to light — I don’t know — it kind of affected the whole situation of leaving the firehouse — having this image of my father being the hero and then kind of figuring out that he had – he wasn’t as – he could’ve not been as heroic as I had always imagined. And the line had almost been altered in this kind of  three-prong of these hero firefighters. So I think that fed into it as well — among the fact that I wanted to kind of escape being around Gabby and was being a little bit childish. I told Michael and Derek that I thought it was honestly, you know — sorry for my language — but a bitch move. But I also think it’s an amazing character trait to bring up in a person. And I think he recognizes that. And you’ll see how it kind of affects him and how he moves forward from it. But there’s a lot that fed into it. It wasn’t just a, you know what, F this, I’m leaving because I didn’t get it.”

Are we going to see Monica and Charlie rekindle this season again?

Monica Raymund: “That’s a really good question.  A little bit of the love come back in terms of how they navigate their new relationship in season two. I don’t – we – I don’t – I think there’s a lot of opportunities to see how that happens. But I think that in the beginning of season two, we’ll see how they start to navigate where they left off in season one — and whether or not they get together is sort of up to them to decide.”

Barnett: “Yeah, they have this love that’s kind of never-ending, you know what I mean? They began as friends — initially in the beginning of the season. So, they have more built up than, you know, kind of cutting everything off at the end of this relationship. If the flame rekindles, I think you’ll just have to watch and see. But it definitely – we brush up against each other couple times. You know, we’re working together.”

Mills and Boden, is Peter going to forgive him or is that relationship going to stay chilly for a while?

Barnett: “Honestly I don’t how much I could say about it. I kind of want to leave it open so that you guys stay interested and excited. But I know that Boden and Mills have a complicated issue because it happened so far in the past and happened kind of outside of Mills’ own experience. You know he was a young boy when supposedly this relationship between my mother and him went on. And this disagreement with him and my father ending up in possibly my father’s death. Or if it was Benny’s  – I like kind of even being in the dark on all of that, not really knowing what the truth is. We entered back into the house and you know bar none, it’s a house. And we’re risking our lives out there. And I think what’s great about that is that the all the emotional shit, the BS that kind of gets in the way starts to diminish. Because you find yourself in situations relying on those people, relying on the person that you didn’t trust maybe a second ago while you were standing around. Or relying on the person or needing the person that possibly wasn’t your best friend you know while you were sitting on the couch in the house. So that has I think a huge effect on Mills and Boden as well. It kind of furthers their relationship. Where it ends up, I don’t know. I’m excited to see as much as you are. You know they still have a complicated situation. And a lot of things haven’t been drawn out. They need to have kind of a face to face, but it will come.”

Could you talk about having Michelle Forbes (The Killing, Homicide: Life on the Street)  on this season?

Derek Haas: “Michelle has been a revelation. She’s such a great actress. And not a revelation that we didn’t know she was great, but Michelle has kind of mastered the art of playing a certain type of character, the tough woman. And when we first met her, you spend ten seconds with her, you’re like, wow, you’re not at all the kind of character you play. And I think we all fall into that trap of thinking actors in real life are going to be like the kinds of characters that they play and it’s just purely because of her, like, high cheekbones and her incredible chin she plays that part so well. But she came on and I remember we first met her and she’s playing, you know, she plays a woman in charge. And she said, ‘What are you thinking about the character?’ And we said, ‘You know, we don’t want you to play the tough bitch that you always play.’ And wondering if we’re gonna get pushback from that, she goes, ‘Oh, thank god. I don’t want to do that either.’ And so, the common ground for us and her was, she’s a woman who believes she’s doing the right thing and, you know, she’s been given a job to do and she thinks she’s helping the City of Chicago by the way she goes about her business. Well, you guys, that first seen in the premiere with her facing down Eamonn — I wouldn’t say she’s a bitch, but she’s awfully tough in that scene right there. Yes, but she does it with a smile on her face, haha.”

Hermann seems to have really bad luck with his money-making schemes, but the bar actually seemed like a good idea and he dragged some of his other buddies into it. What’s happening now? What can you tease about the storyline with the new sports bar opening down the street.

Haas:  “Hermann’s dead, haha.”

Michael Brandt:  “We loved that idea when we first talked about it in the writer’s room was this poor guy finally gets something going in his life. What should we do in that finale to mess with him? And so we thought, what if a newer, hipper, cooler sports bar was opening up down the street? So we’re going to play that out over a while of what poor Molly’s has to do now to compete with, a place that’s got 400 screens going on.  We always love the idea of just blue collar guys who are trying to put food on the table.”

Haas:  “And fighting the corporate-ness of the sports bar down the street. And Monica, Dave and Yuri have such a funny chemistry that I don’t think we ever expected it would be – it would work quite so well, but they are weirdly, these three great actors who are so dramatically gifted. And then we put them in this bar and they become the Three Stooges. But it works and so Molly’s is something that we’re going to keep — they’re just going to have to fight to keep it.”

Now about Severide — who has a pregnant, former girlfriend and his best friend wanting his sperm. So you can talk a little bit more about that storyline?

And also — now that Sarah Shahi’s on Person Of Interest — is she going to be able to finish out her role?

Brandt: “Yes, she is going to be able to finish out her role. And we miss her on Person Of Interest, but we – she definitely finishes her role on Chicago Fire and that’s the storyline that you’re really going to have to watch. We really don’t want to talk about it just because of the delicate nature of the two shows having the same actress. Now, sperm, we’ll talk about that all you want.”

Okay well then let’s talk about him being the sperm donor. I mean he doesn’t really want to disappoint his best friend.

Brandt: “Yes. No we love the story line. It’s funny. It’s like how much  we love the story line and we hate spoilers. Because we really feel like story tellers, there’s a way to unfold the story to keep surprises going. And so I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes – that story line is going to stay fraught for a few more episodes at least.”

Any more hints on what we can expect for season 2?

Haas:  “Yes, we’re going to – we’re starting off with a bang. And the first three episodes, we have, I mean, I feel like we’re throwing everything at the audience. There are four or five storylines going on, a lot of conflicts, there’s an outside threat to the firehouse — more than one, actually. One is physical and one is mental. And it’s going to jump off from the teaser of the first episode.”

The season 2 premiere of Chicago Fire is titled “A Problem House” and airs this Tuesday at 10/9c on NBC.

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