Chicago is the new headquarters for great dramatic productions from producer Dick Wolf. His successful Law & Order shows were based in New York City and were a hallmark of NBC programming for decades. Wolf’s original Law & Order series was a juggernaut for the peacock network from 1990 to 2010, and spawned the L&O franchise that included Law & Order SVU, still around for its 17th season starring Mariska Hargitay. It is the longest-running primetime drama currently on television, and continues to be a powerhouse in the storytelling department.
In recent years, Wolf has built another successful franchise which has given connoisseurs of great drama a taste of Chicago, with a foursome of productions based in the Windy City. Chicago Fire started in 2012 and the series was hot from the beginning, following the firefighters, paramedics and rescue squad of Chicago Firehouse 51. The hunky stars that have kept the show sizzling since the beginning include fan favorites Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney. Chicago Fire just returned to the NBC schedule on Tuesday nights with a big crossover storyline that was played out in the spinoffs.
Chicago P.D. returned March 22nd and airs Wednesday nights at 10pm. It debuted in 2014 and follows District 21 of the Chicago Police Department, which is made up of two distinctly different groups: the uniformed cops and the Intelligence Unit. Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Patrick John Flueger, LaRoyc and Hawkins, are part of the ensemble that make this a cut above the standard cop shows.
Chicago Med returns March 30th. Launched in 2015, it’s been an emotional thrill ride through as the stories put the spotlight on the day-to-day chaos of the city’s most explosive hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together. The stellar cast includes Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Nick Gehtfuss, Yaya DaCosta, Colin Donnell and Brian Tee as the heroes in scrubs. They tackle unique cases inspired by topical events, and offer fiery relationships that heat up in the pandemonium of the emergency room.
Now the fourth in Wolf’s stable of Chicago shows is Chicago Justice, airing Sundays at 9pm, and it is equal to the task of carrying on the successful brand. Chicago Justice stars Philip Winchester, Carl Weathers, Monica Barbaro, Joelle Carter and Jon Seda in the legal drama that follows the prosecutors and investigators who make up the State’s Attorney’s team.
The story centers on Peter Stone (Winchester), the determined Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Stone is played as a tenacious man who often goes head-to-head with Mark Jefferies (Carl), the politically savvy Cook County State’s Attorney. Also on the legal-eagle team are Assistant State’s Attorney, Anna Valdez (Barbaro) and Investigator Laura Nagel (Carter). Plus, Chief Investigator Antonio Dawson (Seda) should be familiar to Chicago P.D. viewers, where he was a cool-headed by-the-book detective with the intelligence unit.
Winchester is also an alumnus of Chicago P.D. where his attorney Peter Stone role was introduced. That made the transition to the new series a comfortable process. The appeal of the show for him is being part of the stories that navigate politics and controversy head-on. Winchester’s character fearlessly pursues justice while he copes with power struggles and cases that cause media-frenzies.
Dick Wolf was at the Television Critics Association’s 2017 winter press tour to talk about his Chicago-based franchise and contrasted Chicago Justice with his Law & Order series, which ran for 20 seasons. Wolf explained they are very different shows, and he didn’t use the title “Chicago Law,” “because I didn’t want them compared directly, because there is not the bifurcated structure of Law & Order, but any comparisons are welcome. I think that the two shows are two of the smartest shows that have been on television over the past 30 years. I’ve described the four Chicago shows kind of like the human body, that ‘Fire’ is the crotch, ‘P.D.’ is the muscle, ‘Med’ is the heart, and this show ‘Justice’ is the brain.”