“Chicago Fire” recap (1.1): “Are you gay? Because I am.”

So, welcome to Chicago Fire, the show about firefighters from the guy who we know best for this sound and bringing some seriously hot, smart ladies to the small screen. If you loved Abby Carmichael and Olivia Benson you might be willing to give this show, with an actual lesbian character, a shot.

There was a lot of “getting to know you” stuff in this episode. They really crammed every bit of backstory they could. The only thing missing were school pictures of each character complete with that laser backdrop popular in the 1980s.

The episode opens with everyone jumping from Engine 81 in the rig to head out to a fire. We meet Darden as he puts on his mask sideways and clowns around in the truck. I like him immediately.

Lt. Casey (formerly known as Dr. Chase on House but without the hair or the Aussie accent) radios Lt. Severide to ask if he’ll take Darden off his hands. Severide is the head of the Rescue Squad and jokes Darden will only make the squad when Severide dies. Next time let’s skip the chatter about people dying as we head out for the inferno, eh?

The fire is in a house and Severide, who has been a cocky punk since he and Darden were in kindergartners, goes in. Casey reminds him to vent the back. Darden heads up on a ladder to look for the guy they think is inside. Severide hasn’t vented the back but Darden goes in through a window anyway. Casey calls for him to come back but it’s too late.

Good-bye Darden, best of luck for a recurring role with your next show. You never know, maybe Dick Wolf watches PLL and had big plans for a secret website filled with videos you made with Maya St. Germain.

So we skip to a month later. Casey decides it’s time for him to clean out Darden’s locker at the fire house. He finds a picture of himself with Darden and Severide and lingers over it for a moment.

Casey and Severide get called in to talk to the Chief who reminds them that the mayor is coming by to mark Darden’s death and that the two of them need to behave like adults and stop sniping at each other. Severide, who comes across like he should be throwing slushies at members of the Glee club promises the Chief they’ll act like big boys, and I already don’t like his cocky, Mark-Sloan-look-alike, smile.

Next up we meet the new guy, Peter Mills. He’s all baby faced and gazes at the Rescue Squad like he’s been homeschooled by his nerdy parents in Africa and has just laid eyes on Aaron Samuels. That’s right Peter, it’s October third.

Next up we meet the ladies who have been called to a shooting.

They get there and are patching up one of the victims when out pops another bad guy from a closet. Gabriella Dawson talks the guy into dropping his gun. She lets the cops have it and she and her partner, Leslie Shay, wheel the victim out. Dawson’s ability to be cool under pressure is a bit of a theme as in this episode. Although she nicks the heart of a little girl by doing an ill-advised, but life-saving pericardiocentesis in the back of the ambulance, she also keeps a cool head as she works to save Herrmann at the end of the hour.

Her partner, and our lesbian hero, Leslie Shay, is loyal and supports Dawson when she gets in trouble for going rogue. Shay is also giving Severide painkillers to for his secretly injured shoulder. I know Dawson’s got a thing for Lt. Casey but I am shipping these ladies.

Casey is the guy who is concerned about everyone else. He talks to Darden’s widow and makes sure Dawson is all right after she jabs that little girl’s heart with a needle. But he hasn’t told anyone that he and his fiancée broke up because she’s a resident physician and didn’t want to have a kid while she was also an indentured servant to a major medical center. So, Casey’s going to have to process his feelings of mortality alone.

The lightest moment of the episode comes when everyone convinces the new guy that Leslie has a thing for him. They lay it on thick until he finally swaggers up to her as she’s sitting in the back of the rig, looking hot in her T-shirt.

She listens to his pitch and then asks, “Are you gay?” Mills looks stunned and says he’s not. “Well I am,” Leslie tells him and the table full of firefighters erupts with laughter.

A show where the joke about gayness that isn’t making fun of the lesbian? That sounds like a promising start to me.

The episode ends with the crew fighting a huge building fire. Casey and Herrmann fall through a floor and get rescued by Severide. Herrmann’s injuries are serious and we don’t know whether he is going to make it or not when the episode ends. We get an ominous glimpse of the potential danger of Severide’s bad shoulder when he has trouble hauling himself out of the fire.

The episode ends with the strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “Blood Brothers” playing as the crew sits in the hospital waiting to find out Herrmann’s fate and Severide saunters in to join the group. Not exactly subtle but it is effective.

Wow, I left a lot out and that was still a lot of information to digest in one episode. What did you think of the first episode? How hard are you shipping the paramedic team?