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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Chicago Fire - Chicago Med - Chicago PD - Triple Crossover

Chicago Fire and Chicago Med began a triple crossover of related stories on NBC last night, which will conclude tonight on Chicago PD.   Crossovers are nothing new on television, especially for Dick Wolf, who has already done crossovers with Chicago PD and his remaining NYC cop show, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.   But Wolf has made a fine art of this, thoroughly integrating the ensemble cast of all three series, making the result more like a three-hour movie than a series of connected episodes.

In contrast, CSI had an excellent triple-crossover some years ago with its Las Vegas, Miami, and New York shows, but the narrative featured the head of the Las Vegas group going to Miami, then New York, then back to Las Vegas on a vexing case.   Last night on NBC we saw major characters from Med and PD on the Fire hour, and then major PD and Fire characters on the Med hour.  The result was seamless and satisfying.

Even when there aren't cross-over events, the three Chicago shows are well blended, with characters from each of the series naturally appearing on the others.  Gabby on Fire has a brother on PD.   She also had a flirtation with a guy who turned out to be PD undercover, who in turn has a brother in Med.  One of the firefighters just became engaged to a sergeant on PD, and another is striking up a relationship with a nurse on Med.   And even when there aren't romantic or familial connections, characters from the other two shows regularly show up on Fire, PD, and Med.  The EMT Unit on Fire brings the injured to Med, and if crime is the cause of the injury, or arson is at work on Fire, that effectively pulls PD into the story.   The result is that the three series are always on the cutting edge of crossover.

Of the three series, I like Fire the best.  Series about firefighters are more rare on television than shows about cops - of which there seem to have been hundreds over the years - or medical shows, which have been on television continuously since the days of Dr. Kildare.   The only fire show I can recall is Rescue Me, which like Chicago Fire, was outstanding (and drop-dead funny, to boot).

In age in which television is rapidly evolving into new kinds of narratives on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, it's good to see the networks reinventing their storytelling via Dick Wolf's crossovers.

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