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The Chicago Fire Episode That Longtime Fans Still Can't Rewatch

When it comes to turning on a firehose of emotions in its dedicated Chi-Hard viewers, "Chicago Fire" is an expert at pushing the buttons of its large and loyal audience. Adhering rigorously to producer Dick Wolf's patented dramatic series formula of attractive actors facing catastrophic dilemmas in their professional and personal lives, "Chicago Fire" continues to ignite smoking-hot ratings even after weekly exposure on NBC since debuting in 2012.

One of the reasons for the show's remarkable success at pushing those buttons is its ability to hook viewers into the unapologetically soapy, often heartbreaking, personal narratives of its ensemble cast. And this, as producer Wolf explained in an interview for Assignment X, has to do with what he hopes viewers take away from watching the heroic exploits: "That the people who do this for a living are regular people who do extraordinary things, and what makes them do that?" But there's drama, and then there's the drama that leaves some fans virtually overwhelmed.

Chicago Fire fans are still broken over the death of a much-loved paramedic

As Season 2 of "Chicago Fire" hurtles toward its fiery conclusion, the Firehouse 51 team is battling a major warehouse blaze. But as the episode ends, the burning building collapses, causing the death of series regular and fan favorite Paramedic Leslie Shay (Lauren German) in the Season 3 opener.

Fan reaction lit up the show's subreddit discussion "Concerning Leslie Shay and me flooding my floor," where original poster u/Careless4uncaring writes, "I have NEVER cried like this over a movie or TV show before... I was full-on SOBBING over the first episode of season 3." They go on to say the death makes them less likely to watch the show, adding simply, "Shay shouldn't have died." Redditor u/rayoncee agrees, saying, "It's been [I don't know] how many years since then, and I'm still not over it. I just can't rewatch that episode EVER AGAIN." 

Even if it isn't one of the worst episodes of "Chicago Fire," how do the show's execs justify such a shocking development? Matt Olmstead explained in an interview with TV Line that the decision to terminate a core character was very deliberate: "That was the intention ... it had to be someone who was going to give us a big impact ... So, instead of approaching it with timidity, we thought we'd go for it."