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Chicago Fire's Yuriy Sardarov Says Otis' Tragic Death Was Difficult But 'Necessary'

Danger, and the threat of injury and death, could be considered hallmarks of certain professions. Jobs like gold mining, law enforcement, and pizza delivery can be dangerous. That isn't even considering a career like fire fighting, whose description includes running into burning buildings to rescue people. The National Fire Protection Association notes the deaths of every firefighter since 1977, with the last recorded year of 2019 reporting 48 fatalities. Though that's substantially fewer deaths than in previous years, it's essential to realize that firefighters die every year, which is an unfortunate and heartbreaking outcome for this life-saving and vital career.

"Chicago Fire" offers a dramatized glimpse into the world of firefighting, and many characters come and go for many reasons. Some are traumatized, some retire, some transfer out, and some pay the ultimate price — like Brian Zvonecek (Yuriy Sardarov). Nicknamed Otis for his penchant for elevator-related rescues, Otis appeared on every single "One Chicago" television show and even managed to pop up in 161 episodes of the One Chicago show "Chicago Fire" between 2012 and 2019. As mentioned earlier, Otis pays the ultimate price for a heroic action and one that was not only required but also difficult — at least according to Sardarov himself.

Sardarov wanted to move on in his career and shake-up Chicago Fire

In the Season 8 premiere episode, "Sacred Ground," Otis and his fellow teammates from Firehouse 51 are called to a factory producing mattresses. The blaze proves deadly and rampaging, and Otis makes a call to save his friends, co-workers, and many of the factory workers. Otis is then rushed to a hospital, where he dies from his wounds, but not before uttering a beautiful sentence in Russian that says he will always be with them. As heart-wrenching as this moment is in "Chicago Fire," it seems this tragic death was necessary for the story.

Speaking with Tell Tale TV, Yuriy Sardarov explained that he had spent many years on "Chicago Fire" and had an honest conversation with the creators about where the character was headed. Sardarov added that sometimes a show needs to shake things up, and he felt Otis' death would be a shock because audiences wouldn't see it coming. Sardarov said, "It was difficult, but it was also necessary. It was a combination of me wanting to move on and them needing something akin to what will happen. And I think those two things met at the perfect time." He continued, "It was incredibly difficult emotionally, not to mention physically, and the prosthetics and keeping it all a secret. It was tough — it was really tough. In that last scene, Joe Minoso does such an incredible job, and the tears in his eyes were real, and the tears in my eyes were real." In other words, Otis' death served the plot, allowing Sardarov to pursue other things besides "Chicago Fire."