With a population of over 2.7 million, Chicago is a dynamic and diverse city, which makes it the perfect backdrop for many TV shows, especially cop and medical dramas!
Some shows use the city as just a setting, while others dig right into the core of the city, hoping to capture its essence.
No one series has a "correct" depiction — they are all stories seen through various characters, experiencing different situations in the many, versatile neighborhoods.
But, one thing that they all have in common? An undying love for the city; their Chicago. If you've been to Chicago you've probably heard the phrase, "Chicago is the new Hollywood."
Truthfully, Chicago will never churn out as many TV shows as Hollywood, and it doesn't want to; the rise in shows signifies everyone can find something to relate to in the city of Chicago.
So, if you have even a sliver of love for Chi-town, you have to check out these shows. Let us know if you have any other recommendations!
The remake of the British series uses Chicago as a backdrop for the uber-dysfunctional Gallagher family. Frank Gallagher is a single father of six and a drunk who spends more time at bars than with his children. In their parents' absence, the eldest kids are forced to take on the responsibilities and raise themselves. Particularly, Fiona who tries her best to hold the family together.
Chicago Fire is the firstborn from Mr. NBC himself, Dick Wolf. Wolf captivated audiences with the rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 — specifically dreamy Leuitenant Kelly Severide. Aside from the bravery of the diverse team — who cohesively charge headfirst into danger to save the people of Chicago — the show entices with authentic relationships. The city not only serves as a backdrop, it's a leading character with writers showcasing the best and worst of the city and its inhabitants.
The success of Chicago Fire convinced Wolf that Chicago was the perfect city for a franchise. And so Chicago PD was born. Now, this isn't your average cop show. Nu-uh, not in Chicago. There are a lot of great things about this city but it's undeniably also one of the most politically corrupt. Or as President Donald Trump has said on several occasions, a crime "epidemic" and "total disaster." This makes it the perfect setting for a show spearheaded by suspected dirty cop Hank Voight, who uses questionable methods to get justice yet garners much loyalty and respect from his team. Intelligence handles the toughest cases in the Chi, including those of gang violence, drugs and racial injustice — they've seen it all.
Where there's fire and PD, there's also med. Continuing down the list of Dick Wolf shows, we've got the third installment, a medical drama with a cast as diverse as the neighborhoods in Chicago. Despite the lack of funding, Sharon Goodwin and the team work together to provide quality healthcare to their patients. Staying in the theme of the city, there are plenty of gun-shot wound victims, and a handful of homeless and drug-addicted patients, which often calls for psych consults from the renowned Dr. Charles. With three successful shows dominating NBC, there are plenty of opportunities for some gripping crossovers.
Three time's a charm but four is an overstay. Wolf tried for a fourth show in the "Chicago" franchise, but fans simply didn't bite on Chicago Justice. Although it lasted a mere season, it definitely made an impact. If you're a fan of any of the three shows, or Wolf's other cult-hit Law & Order, it's a must watch. PD's Antonio even joins the no-fuss team led by Assistant State's Attorney Peter Stone, who is described as relentless in his quest for justice. There's also a L&O connection with Stone being the son of New York City District Attorney Ben Stone.
Scandalous, messy, gifted — that's Empire. Former hip-hop artist and CEO of Lyon Enterprises Luscious Lyon finds out that he's plagued by an incurable health ailment and is forced to choose a successor. The drawback? All three of his sons have their equal share of talents and shortcomings. His over-the-top and ferocious ex-wife Cookie Lyon is released from prison and poses a problem when she comes to get what's hers after taking the fall for his drug dealings back in the day. Even though the series films in Chicago, they pretend it's New York. Usually, I'd be ruffled by that, however, Empire's production opened up the doors for Chicago to become a sort of second-hand Hollywood, which aspiring actors in Chicago have been thankful for. If you look closely at various scenes, you'll see our beautiful skyline dubbing in for NY's.