For writers, inspiration can come from anywhere. A tree. A bird. A trip to the grocery store. For Derek Haas, the co-creator of the NBC show “Chicago Fire,” it was a Utah Jazz game. Haas has named a number of characters in “Chicago Fire” after players on the Jazz. While most fans of the show might not notice, fans of the Utah Jazz probably do.
The Salt Lake Tribune talked to Haas about the Jazz easter eggs he left in the show for fellow fans. And it started very, very simply.
The co-creator of the show took a quick break from typing away, took a peek toward his TV, saw Donovan Mitchell make a play and dared himself to do it. A character in the show needed a prom date, so while Haas was watching a Jazz game earlier this season, he baptized the random prom date character with a name now synonymous with the Utah franchise.
And it snowballed from there. There have been nearly 150 episodes of “Chicago Fire,” and Haas told the Tribune that it can be hard to find names for every single character. So for the last few episodes of the season, he leaned hard on the names of Jazz players. It started with Donovan Mitchell. By the time the finale came along, it was so much more.
Jazz easter eggs in the finale. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/kpAyO0aMAD
— Derek Haas (@derekhaas) May 15, 2018
There was Officer Joe Ingles, whose police badge read “Ingles,” but just like here in Utah, he’s known as Joe.
There was Detective Udoh.
Firefighter Alec Burks.
Firefighter Dan Exum.
Defense attorney Rick Rubio.
One character was simply “Rudy.”
The real Joe Ingles clearly approves:
Officer Joe Ingles ♂️
— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) May 17, 2018
Haas isn’t from Chicago, but he’s not from Utah, either. He grew up in Dallas, Texas, and went to Baylor University with Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey, and the two are still friends. That’s how Haas became a Jazz fan. And he’s not a casual fan, either — Haas watched almost every game this season. That’s devotion.
Haas tried to get the names of all the Jazz players into the show’s season finale, but he couldn’t quite manage it. However, he plans to do even more next season. So if you’re a Utah Jazz fan, give ‘Chicago Fire’ a try. It’s a show that’s made by a Jazz fan, for Jazz fans.
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