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David Eigenberg Says It's Been A Privilege To Bring Out The Hearts Of First Responders On Chicago Fire

NBC's long-running action-drama "Chicago Fire" grabs dedicated Chi-Hards by the eyeballs every week to drop them into the smoke-and-peril-filled lives of heroic first responders like David Eigenberg's veteran firefighter Christopher Herrmann. Racing into action with his Firehouse 51 squad mates, Herrmann's career on the show finds him confronting a wide variety of various manufactured and natural calamities, resulting in an equally mind-boggling assortment of human injuries, illnesses, and more than a few heartbreaking deaths.

Of course, no series can succeed in presenting only an unbroken chain of people being relentlessly overcome by disaster upon disaster. And this One Chicago franchise hit is no different in this respect, serving up a counterbalancing measure of cliff-hanger rescues successfully executed and the relief of hairsbreadth escapes from danger. The truth is the show prides itself on the realism of its crises, even casting actual firefighters in some roles (per One Chicago Center). In this regard, "Chicago Fire" is, first and foremost, a chronicle of ordinary civil servants performing extraordinary feats of bravery and self-sacrifice in the line of duty. And for Eigenberg, the show's appeal lies in telling, in some small measure, the fantastic stories of the real-life heroes behind his and the rest of the cast's fictional personas.

Eigenburg says real-life first responders inspire his performances on Chicago Fire

As noted above, David Eigenberg's Christopher Herrmann has become deeply familiar with the kinds of emergencies and trauma that genuine firefighters must endure. During an interview with Stage Right Secrets marking the 200th episode of "Chicago Fire," the actor expressed his heartfelt admiration for actual first responders and the emotional toll their high-stress work takes on them.

"I feel like we're one of the first shows that really delved into, you know, portraying firefighters ... [and how] they deal with their emotional lives," Eigenberg said, adding that playing one of these real-life heroes has "truly been a real pleasure and a privilege in my life." The actor continued to say that during the show's run, the cast spent a considerable amount of time in the company of first responders. This one-on-one interaction has been both a learning experience and "a really beautiful time in my life. To come to work and really try to bring the heart out of what first responders do." Eigenberg truly believes in the work these heroes do and explained that the opportunity to get to know first responders has been "a really amazing gift, to be let in on the intimacy of somebody that has lived a life that's had pain and loss and sorrow in it, and also the joy and the laughter they all find in their job."