Dick Wolf television creations have an amazing way of multiplying, as anyone who’s witnessed the 1,200-plus episodes in the Law & Order franchise can attest. And the reign continues now that Wolf, 68, has shifted creative focus from the Big Apple to the Second City. Following the success of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., the logical third drama in the sequence, Chicago Med, premiered Nov. 17 on NBC. Wolf says that, indirectly, we have comedian Denis Leary—and his hit cable series about NYC firefighters, Rescue Me—to thank for the branch of Wolf Films now located here.
Rescue Me was very heavily identified with New York firefighters. I thought a network show with the same theme, set there, would [clash with] that.
And, Chicago was first choice as an alternative?
It was deliberate, because Chicago represents the values that made America great. One of my favorite shots in any show I’ve done was the entire Fire company standing in the snow, saluting the funeral procession of a kid who died in a laundry chute. If you put that shot in a show set in New York or L.A., I think a lot of the audience would go, ‘Oh, come on!’
How is shooting in Chicago compared to New York?
Our relationship has matched New York step for step. My team and I have received incredible support from both cities.
But you couldn't have envisioned two spinoff series from Chicago Fire.
[NBC Entertainment chairman] Bob Greenblatt and I have the best relationship I’ve had with any network head in decades. Luckily, we gave him a show he really liked, and he ordered more. We can do crossover episodes on sequential nights, something that was difficult to do with the Law & Orders. Chicago truly has been a gift.