‘Chicago Fire’: Joe Minoso Teases Cruz Keeping Secrets & ‘Really Bold Choices’ in Season 10
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Chicago Fire Season 10 premiere “Mayday.”]
For now, we can breathe a sigh of relief because all of Squad 3 survived the underwater rescue that left them trapped without oxygen at the end of the Chicago Fire Season 9 finale. However, that experience won’t be leaving firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) anytime soon, which is completely understandable.
After all, he nearly drowned, but Lieutenant Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) saved him. And upon returning to work, Cruz noticeably froze twice while looking at his facepiece, once at the house and once on a call. He’ll have to work through that trauma in coming episodes, and this all comes as he’s about to become a dad, something Minoso is excited to explore. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to see Cruz be a daddy,” he tells TV Insider.
Minoso teases what else is coming up for Cruz, talks about the importance of Molly’s in the world of One Chicago, and more.
We’re already seeing that that near-death experience is affecting Cruz, with him pausing twice while looking at his facepiece. How will that continue?
Joe Minoso: Over the course of the first few episodes, we’re going to be watching Cruz deal with really kind of a psychological trauma after the events of that capsized boat, which is making it difficult for him to perform everyday functions as a firefighter, especially as a member of Squad. It’s going to take the help of the entire team to see if we can pull Cruz out of that mindset and back into a place where he can really attack the job the way he usually does.
Especially since there are so many factors to consider: He’s about to become a dad, he’s a husband, one of his friends risked his life to save him… There’s so much that has to be going through his mind.
I agree. It’s been such a pleasure to play so many various sides of this guy over the last 10 years. There’s such growth as a human being for him through trauma and love and fatherhood that is on the horizon. [There’s] such a richness of potential when it comes to what we can play with and what the writers will be bringing forward. Honestly, I always say I think I have the best job on the show. I have a character that gets to do everything from comedy to drama to action to love scenes. I get it all. I’m a really, really fortunate actor.
Herrmann (David Eigenberg) checks on Cruz, who blames the stress at home. Is that related to how he’s dealing with his near-death experience or is there something else going on? It looked like his head might be bothering him?
A lot of this is all tied up in the psychological trauma based on the events of the first episode, [and it’s] impossible not to be stressed at home as a first-time father. Cruz puts 100% into everything that he does and I can’t imagine he won’t be the same with fatherhood. You’re going to get an opportunity to really see just how much he tries to be involved in being a part of the pregnancy and being a part of helping Chloe [Kristen Gutoskie] through the process of being an expectant mother. It’s going to be a joy to watch because it’s been a joy to film.
So we shouldn’t worry about that being a sign of lingering physical effects from nearly dying that put him back in the hospital?
I’m not gonna say no to that. A lot of what’s wrapped around this psychological trauma could very easily end up with him having to revisit the hospital or maybe a therapist, who knows. But ultimately I think we’re going to hopefully move forward later in the year and Cruz will be back on top.
We got that nice moment of Cruz finding out what Severide did and Severide just brushing it off like it was no big deal. Will that continue to weigh on Cruz?
That trauma will still exist. If anything, it adds pressure to the situation for Cruz because his lieutenant almost sacrificed his own life to save him. Knowing that only [puts] more pressure on Cruz to make sure that he looks like he’s still ready for action at all times. It may force him to be a little bit more hidden with what’s really going on. That’s where you’ll see all of that come to a head later on in the season.
Chloe’s been concerned about Cruz being a firefighter in the past, and then this happens…
Right. That’s something else you’re going to see: Now he’s even withholding information from his wife as well. He doesn’t want to concern her because we’ve already seen how it almost ended them forever, this idea of her having to sit at home, waiting for a firefighter to find out whether or not they lived through their shift. There’s a lot of juggling and concealing that’s happening at the beginning of the season for Cruz because of all of these things that have gone down and wanting to protect the people around him.
So it sounds like it’s a good thing they had that happy moment at the end of the premiere with the baby shower at Molly’s, which was so sweet of everyone to put together.
I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes, it was. And it was such a beautifully sweet moment. That was one of the first scenes where we were all together again, and it was just a joyous moment. Those are some of my favorite on Chicago Fire. It’s definitely the crew’s least favorite because it means we’re all there and we are a bunch of knuckleheads when you pack us all into the same room. We thoroughly enjoy one another, so it becomes very easy to just get caught up in just hanging out. It takes a lot for the ADs to wrangle us sometimes just to actually get the scenes done.
I’m glad Molly’s is still going strong.
It’s that linchpin. It’s part of, at this point, the One Chicago brand, right? What better way to encapsulate every show? Everyone needs to unwind after a shift and everyone needs the opportunity to just be for a while, and Molly’s really represents that for every show. You’ll see P.D. there. You’ll see Med there from time to time. Who can’t relate to “I need a drink after that shift?” It’s a really vital part of the show. I’m so happy that it exists as well. I love that they were able to incorporate this outdoor space for us in terms of building up the patio, which also means the growth of Molly’s itself. We love Molly’s.
Cruz is so caught up in what’s going on in his life right now that those things almost are secondary, as big as they are, in terms of shifts in the house. But I think more importantly for our audience, there’s a real shift happening. You’re going to find that there’s a lot of changes happening on the show over the course of the next four to five episodes that are definitely going to change the landscape of our show. That’s going to be quite a journey for people to go on with us, especially this far in. The writers made some really bold choices, and I’m very curious to see how America takes it.
There have been temporary changes with people moved out of the houses, but they’ve all come back relatively quickly, and Boden’s a big part of that.
Yes, and now we don’t necessarily have that kind of spine of leadership to rely on as you’ll see going forward. It will prove difficult, and in general, it’s been difficult to deal with it because the dynamics are different, the scenes are different because people are coming in and out and moving on to different places. It makes the world of filming different. We’re in for quite a ride in Season 10.
What can you say about the leadership at 51?
One of the things that’s really interesting coming up in terms of some of the leadership shifts is a visiting acting lieutenant who is, let’s just say, surprisingly enthusiastic. That’s going to manifest itself in a really fascinating way, especially with Gallo [Alberto Rosende] and Mouch [Christian Stolte]. It’s a really great, great fun arc that I think you guys would really enjoy.
Can you tease any upcoming crazy calls?
There’s going to be a lot more water in the first four episodes of this season. Clearly because of the things that Cruz is going through, they put us in every wet situation they can think of.
Cruz can’t escape his trauma.
And I think that’s the point, right? It’s one of those things where it looks like he’s gonna have to face it head-on more so than just try and get away from it. I think that’s so important right now, especially with where the world is and the state of mental health right now in our society. This is a really, really great opportunity to explore how we can try to look at those demons in the face and not be afraid to take them on.
Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC