The cast of NBC's "Chicago Fire."

The cast of NBC's "Chicago Fire." Credit: NBC

Beverly Hills - Chicago. Fire. Put those two words together and you arrive at something both historic and remotely tragic, insofar as this city was once famously consumed by one. But you also arrive, or will this fall, at one of NBC's most important new series, produced under the auspices of Dick Wolf ("Law & Order”) with a sprawling ensemble cast featuring British actors Eamon Walker ("Oz”) and Jesse Spencer ("House").

It's about a fire company that also houses a rescue and paramedics squad and - per Wolf- flows out of that long tradition of NBC dramas going back to “Hill Street Blues.” As such, comparisons with other “first responder” NBC dramas like “Third Watch” and “ER” are inevitable - and of course NBC badly wants viewers to make the association, too.

“There are very few areas that give you an opportunity to really explore character,” said Wolf. “What we're trying to do here is a very very classic adult NBC platinum drama.” He chose Chicago for the setting because “I've been on the streets for the past 25 years in New York and I wanted the opportunity to show another great city.”

Said Wolf in response to this reasonable question: No plans for “New York Fire” or “LA Fire” if this one succeeds.

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