Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Chicago Fire's Lauren German Said Returning For Season 2 Felt Like The First Day Of School

The large ensemble cast featured in "Chicago Fire" is one of the enduring reasons it is so successful. Following the lives of the fictional Chicago Firehouse 51 personnel, "Chicago Fire" was the first show in Dick Wolf's "One Chicago" universe. Currently in its 11th season with solid ratings (via The Hollywood Reporter), the NBC drama shows the heroism of firefighters and paramedics who risk their lives every day, while also shining a light on their personal lives, inner struggles, and relationships.

With several seasons under the show's belt, the cast often rotates, but one gets the sense that the actors have bonded. Regularly producing over 20 episodes a season for network TV, some cast members have been working together for well over a decade.

Yet, even for actors who weren't on the show for as long, there was still a sense of camaraderie and excitement to see everyone after a well-deserved filming hiatus. Such is the case with Lauren German, who starred on the show as Leslie Shay. Shay was the show's first gay character, a respected paramedic, and a friend to Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney). Shay sadly died in a tragic accident later in Season 3. But before the character's untimely end, German talked about what it was like returning to set in a Season 2 interview.

Lauren German likened the cast's season 2 return to everyone reuniting after a school break

In an on-set interview for Season 2 with Screen Slam, Lauren German talked about what it was like returning to "Chicago Fire" after their break between seasons. "We're so fresh, we're all rested, we had great breaks, you know, the boys came back with their mountain man beards," German laughed. "It's sort of like the first day of school you know? You get excited to see everybody again."

German said that one reason the show became so successful was because of how well the cast gets along. She credited the writing and Dick Wolf as reasons why the show works so well, but added that the actors were also a major asset on top of that.

While many characters die on long-running shows because the actor wants to leave and pursue new opportunities, German's Leslie Shay departed because the writers wanted to kill off a character that would deliver an emotional shock to audiences. Executive producer Matt Olmstead explained the decision to TV Line, saying, "We knew if we were going to do it, it had to be someone who was going to give us a big impact, as opposed to going for a lesser-known character, which would equate to a pulled punch." 

Shay's death made fans gasp and the "One Chicago" faithful still mourn the loss of the show's first major LGBTQ character today.