‘Chicago Fire’ showrunner revealed the death of unthinkable fan favorite character

The fan favourite firefighter Brian “Otis” Zvonecek was portrayed by Yuri Sardarov for the first seven seasons of the NBC Chicago Fire. However, Otis perishes from wounds incurred while putting out a fire at a mattress manufacturing in the Season 8 premiere “Sacred Ground.”

The Season 7 conclusion, “I’m Not Leaving You,” has firefighters battling a fire in a mattress manufacturer. A boiler explodes, causing havoc and casting everyone’s future in doubt. The aftermath is where the Season 8 premiere picks up right away. Otis is trapped in the fire while trying to flee. But he manages to send a distress call to his coworkers. Sadly, he sustains severe wounds and is unable to travel to safety with the other firefighters.


His team rescues him and rushes him to the hospital, where he dies by the side of his best friend and roommate, Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso). After telling him in Russian, “Brother, I will be with you, always.” It wouldn’t be until three months later that Cruz learned the translation of Otis’ last words.

In an interview, showrunner Derek Haas revealed the writers wanted to shake things up after several cliffhangers in which the main cast miraculously survived each time. “We gotta put some teeth back into the show, and we gotta show that the dangers are real,” he said.

The creators were aware that a character would need to pass away for the series to once again feature a higher sense of peril. Darren Ritter was initially going to be killed off. But Haas argued that the character was too new to the show. And that a longtime cast member would be more emotionally taxing to lose.


“For it to be a real surprise, you need it to be a core cast member. We thought that Yuri affects everyone in the house as well as fans,” Haas told “I had seen a memorial at an LA firehouse. And I thought that’s something we’ve never done before. I was thinking how could he be remembered. So I had the memorial as the ending in my mind and worked backward from that.”

For series viewers, Otis’ passing was difficult, especially in light of everything he had been through in prior seasons. Chicago Fire would be forever changed by his death.

Anoosha Khan
Anoosha Khan

Anoosha Khan is a film critic and entertainment editor based in the UK. She has been reporting about celebs and movies for WatchinUK for the past year.

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