CHICAGO FIRE: Daniel Kyri on Possible Fallout from the 'Huge, Huge, Huge' Season 11 Cliffhanger - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO FIRE: Daniel Kyri on Possible Fallout from the ‘Huge, Huge, Huge’ Season 11 Cliffhanger

June 5, 2023 by  

Chicago Fire Season 12 Daniel Kyri interview

CHICAGO FIRE — “Take A Shot at The King” Episode 1119 — Pictured: Daniel Kyri as Darren Ritter — (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)

CHICAGO FIRE has had its share of big season finales, so initially “Red Waterfall” felt pretty routine for series star Daniel Kyri, who plays Ritter on the NBC drama.

“I read it and I thought, ‘Okay, yeah, sure, cliffhanger…that’s what we do: we go out big for the last episode,’” he recalls to Give Me My Remote in the video below.

But then he watched it: “I was like, ‘What?! What?!’ Just the way everyone came together to pull those little tidbits off, leading us into the next season, [was] pretty extraordinary to see from the page to the screen.”

While there were a couple of romantic couplings up in the air, the storyline that might more immediately impact Ritter is Mouch’s (Christian Stolte) apparent turn for the worse. (Mouch was shot while the firehouse was responding to a call; while he initially appeared to be recovering well, he crashed and his wound reopened in the final moments.)

“Just speaking from my character’s point of view on that situation, Mouch is Ritter’s mentor, one of his mentors,” Kyri says, acknowledging that the ongoing WGA strike means everything about the next season is very much up in the air. “Any kind of hardship as we’ve seen, even this season with Herrmann, or just how he is with the folks in his life that he really values, there’s going to [be] that need to step in and that need to take care of and make sure everybody is good.”

“And I think that we’ll see some bonding in the firehouse,” he continues. “And we’ll see the way that this family always comes together to support one of their own is, I think, really going to be on display in this case. I’m with y’all—we just got to wait and see what happens. It is a huge, huge, huge cliffhanger, and I think no matter what, the fans are going to get a really excellent story when we pick back up.”

Chicago Fire Season 12 Daniel Kyri interview

CHICAGO FIRE — “Completely Shattered” Episode 1103 — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)

One notable thing will be different when the show comes back: Derek Haas, who co-created the series, departed with the season 11 finale.

“It was really beautiful—one of our castmates, Kara [Killmer, who plays Brett], came to the rest of us [because] we were all wanting to do something [to] have a bit of a send-off,” Kyri shares. “We just created a package that we could hand off to him of things that we have learned about Derek and that we love about him. We just shared our thoughts and our feelings and our appreciation and gratitude for having a leader like Derek while we did.”

With Haas also stepping back from FBI: INTERNATIONAL, “he’s on to the next phase in his career,” Kyri notes. “So it’s cause for celebration as well. You know, it’s one of those things where with this particular family—that is a show, that is a full production—folks come in and then folks leave; that’s the bittersweet part of our job…And so the way that we honor them is to just carry on the work that they contributed to our show and really carry that torch forward.”

Off-screen, CHICAGO FIRE is being included in an important and timely exhibit: the New York branch of Paley Center is hosting a celebration for the 25th anniversary of WILL & GRACE, including costumes and props from other notable queer characters across television through July 9. For fans of CHICAGO FIRE, Ritter’s bunker gear will be on display.

“It’s absolutely huge,” Kyri says. “I think it’s so iconic. And it’s so incredible that this character that I care so much about—it really feels like there are a lot of folks that care about him, as well, and care about his humanity and what he represents on a show like CHICAGO FIRE. And the gravity of what he represents there.”

“Part of his humanity is going to be on display along with that bunker gear and I am just so excited that I am a part of it and that I get to portray this character,” he continues. “And that is a bunker gear that I have rolled around in and sweated in and shivered in and spent so much time in and out of. It is a part of this collection and folks get to interact and see it, and see it up close and personal. It’s really, really, really special and I am incredibly honored.”

With hate crimes and legislation against the LGBTQIA+ community on the rise, the importance of queer representation remains a deeply important issue. “I think the best way that we can combat such fear and vitriol is through empathy and through humanity,” Kyri says. “One of the most important things to me is Ritter is a lot of things, so it can be easy to try and make him a bit of a figurehead for something, or like a box to check. And so my biggest job, the thing that I love doing, is keying into his humanity, because that is the thing that keeps him relevant and relatable.”

“The more relatable he is, the more empathy that awakens in our audience members that encounter him, wherever you’re from, and whatever you believe,” he continues. “And the more exposure you have to this person, as a person, as a human, the more you begin to understand, I think, that they are just like you…that kind of positive representation of the full range of someone’s humanity, it does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of folks who may lack imagination, and who may not have had much exposure to people who are different from them. Because I think that’s where a lot of the fear comes from: it’s just a lack of understanding.”

This means there’s also an extra responsibility in telling these stories correctly. “I just hope that that effect continues to ripple out, and I hope that it continues to inspire folks who are in our industry, as well, to continue and boost this kind of authentic representation because it is important, as we see…we are under attack,” Kyri says. “We are fully under attack and [in] so many parts of this country—it isn’t safe for a lot of us. And so the fact that I’m here and I’m in the position I’m in and I’m proud and I’m visible—I’m visible and I’m not afraid to be so— is something that hopefully can inspire people for years to come. We just have to keep doing the good work and just hope for the best.”

In addition to encouraging people to vote—“hit the streets, we got to make sure that our needs are being heard”—Kyri is also “passionate” about showcasing Ritter’s romantic life when CHICAGO FIRE returns in season 12.

“It is something that I will be speaking to the writers about once they reconvene, once we’re all able to get back in and do what it is that we love and be adequately compensated for those things,” he says. “I have every intention of having those conversations, because now, more than ever, I do believe that that sort of representation and real, unflinching look at what queer love can actually be like, I think is very important. So it’s something that I have every intention of discussing with our writers, and I very much look forward to having those conversations where we can hold each other accountable to the real vision behind the character and the authenticity of our show.”

Kyri will also be opening up to fans in a unique way, later this summer: A four-song EP, that he’s “currently putting the finishing touches on.”

“It’s my music,” he says. “It’s my sound…it’s my story. So I’m incredibly excited because I get to take my narrative into my own hands and present it to folks and invite them into my world a little bit.”

CHICAGO FIRE, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC


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