Chicago Fire

Bizarre One Chicago Storylines That Left Us Stunned

“Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago P.D.” — together, these popular shows combine to create NBC’s One Chicago shared TV universe. Co-created by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt and produced by Wolf Entertainment, One Chicago shows are a little soapier than their New York-based “Law & Order” cousins. They can be a little sillier, but, at times, they can also pack more of an emotional punch.

The One Chicago franchise follows the adventures of Chicago’s most romantically dramatic first responders. Each show’s cast is expansive, and they sometimes overlap with one another. This means that each show needs to have a lot of storylines to keep all the stars busy and keep fans of the franchise engaged — or, as is usually the case with One Chicago, shocked and surprised. Every One Chicago show has the capacity for heat, heartbreak, horrible choices, and humor in equal measure. Read on for some bizarre One Chicago storylines that left us stunned.

Chicago Med gets bed bugs

Disgusted patient on bed

“Chicago Med” is known for its shocking twists and turns, usually related to the romantic lives of those who work at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center. However, sometimes the drama comes purely from an illness, a disease, or, in this instance, an infestation.

In Season 8, Episode 15 of “Chicago Med” — entitled “Those Times You Have to Cross the Line” — patient Walter Crotty (Brian Huskey) comes in to see Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss). He has a fever and a cut on his leg. When Crotty develops a rash during his hospital stay, Halstead and Dr. Grace Song (T.V. Carpio) jump to a baffling conclusion — Crotty is carrying the bubonic plague. Yes, that bubonic plague.

Of course, Crotty doesn’t have the plague, and he arguably would have been better off not coming to the hospital at all, because his rash is due to Gaffney having bed bugs. The hospital is in the midst of a janitorial strike, and leadership has brought in underpaid workers to do a very minimal cleaning job. The union ultimately wins their deal because the bigwigs would rather pay workers fairly than get hit with endless lawsuits from patients with bed bug bites. Anyone else feel itchy?

Chicago Med’s hair-eating patient

Patient holds daughter's hand

“Chicago Med” has a massive cast, and each episode packs in an almost bewildering number of storylines. Sometimes those storylines are gross, heartbreaking, and bizarre in equal measure. Season 8’s “Those Times You Have to Cross the Line” is double-stuffed with such storyline oddballs — and with hairballs.

When Deanna Brooks (Beth Malone) sees Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber), she has no idea why she is feeling so sick with stomach issues. She admits she’s stressed because her daughter is having her own health issues. When Archer is forced to operate on Deanna, he finds the problem: a bezoar buried in Deanna’s belly. A bezoar is a rather quaint name for a ball of hair forming where it shouldn’t.

Archer recruits psychiatry fellow Dr. Nellie Cuevas (Lilah Richcreek Estrada) to help him with Deanna, who initially rejects help and denies that she eats her own hair. But when Deanna’s bald daughter Olivia (Lucy Grimm) shows up and shares that she’s been getting chemo treatments, the doctors start to put things together. Deanna admits to them that she started eating her daughter’s hair when the chemo made it fall out as a way to cope with her fear and heartbreak. While the episode ends with a bittersweet ray of hope, it is still very gnarly to watch.

Chicago is attacked by flesh-eating bacteria

First responders react to emergency

It takes something very powerful to bring together all the One Chicago shows for a special crossover event — and we’re not talking about trivia night at Molly’s. 2019’s epic “Infection” storyline saw Chicago come under attack from a deadly flesh-eating bacteria.

The action begins in “Infection Part 1,” the fourth episode of “Chicago Fire” Season 8. Some “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” pals are tailgating at Soldier Field, but of course that fun can’t last long. Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) spots a college kid convulsing in the crowd. The whole crew rushes to help and discovers the kid bleeding from a deeply festering leg wound. The gang investigates the source of the virus and its possible treatments over the course of “Infection Part 2,” the fourth episode of “Chicago Med” Season 5, and “Infection Part 3,” the fourth episode of “Chicago P.D.” Season 7.

Many people die and many others fear they’re infected. The crew discovers that microbiologist Dr. David Seldon (Aaron Serotsky) purposely attacked Chicago with the bacteria out of anger over having his lab’s funding suddenly cut. The entire storyline is stuffed with surprises, gore, and shocking revelations. What’s not so surprising is that Seldon meets his end at the hands of Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and that the “Chicago Med” team figures out a treatment before the bacteria can eat all of Chicago like it was just another deep dish pizza.

The death of Hawkins on Chicago Fire

Violet clutches Hawkins in smoke

“Chicago Fire” has plenty of arson, house fires, and industrial blazes to deal with — but it also regularly features storylines of burning love. The steamiest “Chicago Fire” moments are some of the show’s best scenes. It’s also usually an indicator that such love won’t last. A prime example of this is the demise of the “Hawkami” ship on “Chicago Fire,” which ends when Paramedic Field Chief Evan Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas) dies a hero’s death.

In Season 11’s “Completely Shattered,” Firehouse 51 is fighting a terrible movie theater fire together. The air is thick with smoke, visibility is low, but Hawkins does his best to save a patron. Unfortunately, a piece of the theater collapses on them both. When paramedic Violet Mikami (Hanako Greensmith) realizes what’s happened and that Hawkins is unresponsive, her scream is bloodcurdling. “I can save him, please!” she cries, but hope is already lost.

Many, many characters have died in the line of duty on “Chicago Fire,” but what makes Hawkins’ death extra stunning is that the romance between him and Violet was such a slow burn (pun actually not intended). While the patron he wanted to save survives the ordeal, Hawkins does not. After so many episodes of waiting and wondering if “Hawkami” would work out, for Hawkins to be killed in this manner was a real shock.

Chicago Fire’s epic Zumba reveal

Joe Cruz shocked at Zumba

When “Chicago Fire” isn’t leaning into fiery action or depressing heartbreak, the show can be delightfully funny. One of the consistently funniest characters is firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso). Cruz’s best storyline happens to be the most surprising — and hilarious. In Season 3’s “Nobody Touches Anything,” paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) signs up for a Zumba class at a new-to-her studio. Her fellow students love their instructor, and just know that Brett will, too. But when the energetic leader bounces out onto the stage, Brett’s jaw hits the floor — because her new dance instructor is Joe Cruz!

Cruz power dances for his life, but when he catches sight of Brett, it looks like his heart stops. “Chicago Fire” can be great at making you giggle, but rarely is it as laugh-out-loud hilarious as this particular storyline. The stunning story is ripped from real life, as well — Joe Minoso is actually a Zumba instructor, and he pitched the idea to creator Dick Wolf himself. “I started explaining it to him,” Minoso told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I said I’ve been telling these guys for two seasons that I know Zumba and wouldn’t it be funny if Cruz was a closet Zumba instructor? He thought it was hilarious and pushed it forward.”

The most surprising death on Chicago P.D.

Olivia Benson at Molly's

No one is safe in the world of One Chicago, not even series regulars. Nadia Decotis (Stella Mave) first appeared in Season 1 of “Chicago P.D.” as a sex worker who Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) helped get clean and, later, get a job working in administration at the CPD. Nadia gradually helped out more on cases — until the biggest case of the year claimed her life. She had been lending a hand on a serial killer case, and in Season 2’s “The Number of Rats,” her close relationship with Lindsay sealed her fate. Rapist and serial killer Gregory Yates (Dallas Roberts) knows Lindsay is on to him, so he decides that his next victim will be someone she really cares about.

Yates kidnaps Nadia, rapes her, and murders her over the course of a shocking crossover event with “Chicago Fire” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Evidence left behind on Nadia helps confirm Yates is the killer. When he later attacks Lindsay, she kills him. All of the episodes dealing with Nadia’s death are stunningly brutal, and the entire crossover carries the tension of the New York-based Dick Wolf shows. Plus, it’s wild (but welcome) to see Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) sharing her New York experiences with Yates with the “Chicago P.D.” team. It’s even wilder to see her hanging out at Molly’s.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Chicago Fire’s most shocking death

Leslie Shay moments before death

“Chicago Fire” has a tendency to kill off main characters with more gut-wrenching frequency than the other One Chicago shows. Case in point: firefighter Leslie Shay (Lauren German).

Shay was funny and tough, and she was Lieutenant Kelly Severide’s (Taylor Kinney) bestie. She got along with pretty much everyone, and she had already lived a lot of life by the time she met her sad end. In the Season 2 finale, “Real Never Waits,” Shay and the squad run into a burning building. It’s all in a day’s work for these brave first responders. However, when the building explodes, she is hit in the head with a pipe. She dies as a result of the blow, as confirmed in the Season 3 premiere, “Always.”

Everyone is gutted by the loss of Shay, but no one more than Severide. In “Always,” he desperately tries to revive Shay. Much like Violet many seasons later with Hawkins, Severide cannot save Shay. He spirals into a deep depression and disappears from work after losing Shay. “Chicago Fire” really keeps the surprises coming, and this one was a real tearjerker.

Chicago P.D.’s Voight and Halstead frame an innocent man

Voight informs on a bad guy

“Chicago P.D.” is the most mystery-forward of the One Chicago shows, but there is absolutely no mystery about who the most ruthless cop in Dick Wolf’s Chicago is: Hank Voight. Voight has done some terrible things on the show, but one of the most mind-boggling is how he — and Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) — frame an innocent man.

The CPD is on the hunt for a gangster who killed two kids in Season 7’s “False Positive.” Jason Crawford (Paul Adelstein) is excited to use new facial recognition software that pulls from a centralized database to identify the most likely suspect. “The ACLU hates this thing. So do the bad guys. That tells you everything you need to know,” Crawford boasts. Halstead and Voight use the program to zero in on who they think is the perp: Marcus West (Sammi Rotibi).

It turns out the facial recognition software is flawed. Marcus isn’t even in a gang, but he has friends and relatives who are. He isn’t the killer, but Halstead doesn’t know that until after he dies in custody. Even though Halstead and Voight find the real killer after all, they continue to frame the innocent man for being a child murderer in order for the CPD to save face. Voight, for his part, alerts a local vigilante to the truth and the real killer gets taken care of, street justice-style. Viewers might expect this kind of behavior from Voight, but Halstead? It’s a real shocker.

Burning hot romance fiction on Chicago Fire

Otis and Herrmann at laptop

“Chicago Fire” is famous for burning up the screen with its endless relationship drama. In a bizarre storyline, House 51 discovers that their romantic antics have inspired a romance author amongst them to write steamy firehouse-set fiction. While the author’s nom de plume is Cyrus Mayberry, whoever the author is uses thinly veiled references to everyone’s real names and roles in the House and Truck crew.

Sylvie Brett is the first to discover the five-alarm fiction online in the Season 5 opener “The Hose or the Animal.” Everyone delights in her reading the firehouse erotica out loud except for the grouchy Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte). Brett soon deduces that Mouch is the author of the trashy romances. She doesn’t want to expose his secret, however. In fact, she wants in on the action — and for their work to get published.

Later, Otis (Yuri Sardarov) and Herrmann (David Eigenberg) read over their work approvingly, having absolutely no clue their favorite new romance writer is the dynamic duo. Is it creepy that Brett and Mouch are writing steamy romance based on their friends and then letting those friends unwittingly read it out loud? Maybe. But they — and the show — seem to think it’s just fine. This is one odd but interesting storyline that we wish went on for longer.

Chicago Fire’s Matt Casey returns

Casey proposes to Brett

“Chicago Fire” was initially built on a tense, troubled relationship between two great firefighters with wildly different approaches to the job. Matt Casey was a by-the-book firefighter, and Kelly Severide was the hot-shot thorn in his side. Over the years, Casey and Severide became close friends instead of frequent rivals, and then Casey moved to Oregon in Season 10.

After a prolonged absence from House 51, Casey returned to attend the wedding of Severide and Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and to work with his old crew as a task force liaison. He comes back in a big way in the Season 11 finale, “Red Waterfall,” asking Sylvie Brett to marry him.

The episode ends before Brett answers him, because that’s how season finales work. Casey’s big proposal came after Taylor Kinney’s real-life leave of absence from the show and the SAG-AFTRA/WGA strikes. Could Casey return as the main star of “Chicago Fire” after all is said and done? Who knows what stunning storylines could be on the horizon.

Voight’s vengeance in Chicago P.D.

Voight kills son's murderer

Voight is a brutal cop, which you’ll soon find out if you wrong him personally. While Voight often takes justice into his own hands, his vengeance for his son’s death is extremely intense, even by his standards. Voight’s son Justin (Josh Segarra) ran into trouble with the law when he was younger, serving prison time for driving drunk and paralyzing a passenger in another vehicle during a collision. Back then, Matt Casey testified against Justin — and incurred the wrath of his father.

Voight tries to bribe Casey, and then threatens his life. None of it works, and Justin still goes to prison. However, Justin turns his life around when he gets out, and even helps an army buddy’s wife out when she gets mixed up with some mesothelioma-payout criminals in a storyline seemingly inspired by “Better Call Saul.”

Justin ends up getting killed by a cunning and cruel man named Kevin Bingham (Joseph Sikora), who also killed his own girlfriend to hide the theft that Justin uncovered. In Season 3’s “Start Digging,” Voight hunts Bingham and throws his own CPD team off the scent. That way, Voight is free to make Bingham dig his own grave. In a shocking turn of events, Voight puts Bingham in that grave.

Chicago Med’s tapeworm baby surprise

Patient clutching newborn baby

Most of the time, the One Chicago shows strive to balance drama with some sense of realism. The saves on “Chicago Fire” look legitimate. The sting operations in “Chicago P.D.” have a sense of urgency and organization. And, most of the time, the medical jargon on “Chicago Med” rings true. But, every so often, TV’s gotta TV. Sometimes, “Chicago Med” gets really, really dramatic — and a little disgusting.

In Season 8’s “The Winds of Change are Starting to Blow,” a patient named Tim Boyd (Nate Torrence) comes in about his sharp stomach pains and rapid weight loss. Tim and his wife Pam (Madison Hatfield) joke around with the doctors about their various weight loss challenges, but add that whatever is causing Tim’s pain isn’t worth it. When Dr. Archer discovers an ulcer, he operates — only to find that the ulcer is hiding something even more unsettling: a massive tapeworm.

While Tim is under the knife, Pam starts getting her own stomach pains. She must have a tapeworm, too, right? Wrong. It turns out she’s having a baby — a baby she had no idea she was even pregnant with. A woman who is very into fitness, step tracking, and body health apparently didn’t know she was pregnant until carrying a baby to term. The six foot, four inch tapeworm is overshadowed by how bizarre it is that Pam’s secret bundle of joy was a secret even to her.


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