Dick Wolf, legendary executive producer of the Law & Order franchise and the recent wave of shows in the Chicago franchise — Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med — was at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour today to talk about the Chicago shows in the wake of a successful crossover among his series last week.
“The crossover last week was so incredibly satisfying,” Wolf told reporters, “because I think we got new eyeballs to all three shows. Whether they’ll stay around, I don’t know, but in the two nights, the four shows, including SVU, hit on an L3 basis 49.26 million people. I don’t want to overreach and say 50 million, but I think the L7s will show 50 million. Obviously, it’s working. I’m thrilled.”
Wolf’s excitement will likely translate to viewer excitement as this crossover will beget more crossovers, including another one already next month.
“This is exactly what I hoped would happen,” Wolf continued, “because we are doing a four-show crossover in February. We are doing a multitude of what are not even crossovers, but just integrations where people from one or more of the shows can show up for one or more scenes in the others so that the world continues.”
It appears that the Chicago universe is becoming almost akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so much blended that Wolf also said, “We are going to apply next year that I think SAG [the Screen Actors Guild] should accept the fact that this is one giant ensemble and let them all run as a unit [for awards].” For his part, Wolf wasn’t too optimistic that SAG would accept this.
Some of the actors also had thoughts on how the worlds of Chicago are blending together. Monica Raymund, who plays Gabriela Dawson in Chicago Fire, said, “What’s fun is that I like to still carry the circumstances of what’s happening on my home show, I call it, like home base when you are in school and you go to, like, homeroom. So Chicago Fire is my homeroom, but I like to carry all of the conflicts and obstacles that Dawson has gone through. Why shouldn’t that inform her behavior on P.D. or Med as well? It’s still the same world.”
Raymund also admitted that making the crossovers can be confusing at times.
“I pity the man who keeps scheduling those crossovers and coordinating it,” she said. “It’s hard. It’s a lot of work. I have to say the production staff in Chicago does an incredible job of making sure everybody is in the right place at the right time. Do not get me wrong. I do wake up and I’m on a set and I don’t know who I am or where I’m supposed to be and what’s happening in this episode. So it requires even more attention for me.”
And will there be a fourth Chicago show added to the mix? Wolf addressed rumors of a Chicago Law entry in the franchise.
“Gee, I’d hate to do that,” Wolf said, tongue in cheek. “No. Look, you will see certain things. It would be obviously shortsighted, especially after last week, not to be sort of mutually kicking the tires on what that would be. It would probably be in the legal system. And you may see, in the same way you saw in the last three years, some people doing legal things that would give an insight into where that could go. Would I like to do it? Of course. I mean, you talk about your dreams being fulfilled. This is literally a dream come true. To have these three shows operating this synergistically is beyond my expectations. My instinct is always to double down, but there are many masters to serve and a lot of people have to agree, as always. So in the abstract, sure, that would be great. In the specific, it’s a question of how that would operate and what the form would be, but there have been discussions.”
And why not? These series can’t seem to miss, and, according to Wolf, Chicago is a perfect setting.
“I don’t think there is any way that you can overuse a city that exemplifies the best, and at times, the worst of America,” Wolf offered. “[Chicago is] an incredible canvas.”