Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15 Review: Deathtrap

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There's no bigger episode of Chicago Fire than Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15.

In terms of scale, story and just general approach, "Deathtrap" was as big as it gets.

No wonder why it started off the entire three-hour Chicago Crossover.

Helping Warehouse Victims - Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15

From the beginning of this episode, you could tell that it was a different episode for Chicago Fire.

The decision by Andrea Newman to open the episode with no dialogue amongst the firefighters until they were heading toward the fire was incredibly effective and set the tone for all that followed.

The choice to include all four Chicago shows on an opening title card was a nice touch, too - reminding us that this was one united event instead of just three TV shows that happened to be using the same story.

Unless they're calling from the inside.


The subject matter of "Deathtrap" was bound to be controversial, and honestly, we're surprised that NBC didn't include a card before the start of the episode advising viewer discretion if only because the Oakland warehouse fire on which this episode is based is still a very fresh tragedy.

Some may take issue with the choice to turn it into an episode and it's completely understandable why they would do so. At the same time, it's not hard to figure out why the Chicago Fire team chose it as their story. They needed a huge disaster in order to sustain a three-show crossover - not just in size but in terms of emotional resonance.

And boy, did this episode deliver.

Maggie, help the ones who really need it.


Whatever your thoughts on going there, "Deathtrap" handled the subject matter as respectfully as it possibly could have. There were so many moments in it that drove home just how painful the situation was and how many lives were lost. There were images here that will stay with people for a long time.

We saw almost all significant hands on deck (hi, Chout!) and everyone took things seriously. There was no comic relief subplot and almost nothing pulling the audience in another direction. This was headlong into the breach and it worked.

Olinsky Worries For His Daughter - Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15

Of course the biggest storyline involved Alvin Olinsky's daughter Lexi, who was last seen at the conclusion of Chicago PD Season 4 Episode 15. The reveal that she was inside the warehouse would have been a real shock if it had not been spoiled in all the preview articles leading up to the event.

Having said that Elias Koteas was remarkable in this episode. Coming off a great performance in that episode of PD he was even better here. It was absolutely heartbreaking listening to Olinsky beg Boden to save his daughter even though Boden had ordered his people out.

I'm begging you, man. Please. Please, I'm begging you.


While the episode brought the emotion in that subplot, "Deathtrap" also moved at a steady clip. It dug into the investigation about the fire before the fourth act.

It showed us the community's grieving and angry reaction when the building's owner arrived on the scene. And smartly it didn't make him into a mustache-twirling villain. There were no outright bad guys in this episode. There was no making the storyline too simple.

In fact, you had to feel a certain amount of sympathy for the landlord as Casey and the OFI investigator made a point of telling him he'd contributed to the disaster, then he went into the Firehouse 51 bathroom and shot himself.

He screwed up big-time, but that didn't mean it needed to end like that. Still, it just drove home that there's nothing easy about a tragedy this massive.

Stella Looks On - Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15

We should also take a moment to recognize the crew of Chicago Fire for putting together a technically superior episode to allow for a major story like this to be told. The crew was perfect with the fire and effects, creating several gasp-worthy moments in the first act.

And let's point out that Fire brought back Joe Chappelle to direct. Even though he just directed last week's episode, there was nobody who could have handled this installment better than Joe Chappelle. He's Fire's most experienced director and a true professional.

Much like the hundredth episode, you could tell everyone came to play.

Maggie, help the ones who really need it.

There's only two things to complain about with "Deathtrap" and that's if you're a Chicago Med fan. Med, by virtue of not having an episode in the Chicago Crossover, had to fit its characters into this installment.

The hectic triage scene didn't give us much of the doctors we love. Will Halstead and Natalie Manning got the most screen time since they treated Olinsky's daughter, and it was nice for there to be a nod toward Ethan Choi's fire-related story from Chicago Med Season 2 Episode 14.

But we missed most of the Med team, and with that show having such a talented cast, plus how that would have made it an even truer crossover, it would have been appreciated to have them more strongly represented.

Helping Warehouse Victims - Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15

Also, Anna (Charlotte Sullivan) was completely out of place in this episode. Okay, it made sense that Severide would want someone to lean on after a day like this.

But her arriving wound up being all about her and their relationship. We didn't need to hear how she's decided to take a job at Chicago Med, which will continue to prolong a subplot that's gone on too long already.

If she had been there solely to support Kelly and explore the stress of how this tragedy had affected him that would be one thing. But pushing their romance into the end of an otherwise stellar episode was a wrong call.

Still, these two things were minor quibbles for an episode that will go down in Chicago Fire history.

Factory Fire - Chicago Fire

Make sure you follow the rest of the Chicago Crossover on Chicago PD Season 4 Episode 16 and Chicago Justice Season 1 Episode 1.

Chicago Fire now takes two weeks off for reruns (and maybe so we can catch our breath). Chicago PD Season 5 Episode 16 airs on Tuesday, March 21 at 10/9c on NBC. But how will it follow after an episode this big?

To watch "Deathtrap" again or to catch up on any of the current season so far you can watch Chicago Fire online. But tell us what you thought of this episode below. Were you as moved as we were? What did you think of the choice of topic? And what could possibly come next?

Deathtrap Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

Brittany Frederick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Chicago Fire Season 5 Episode 15 Quotes

Casey: Take him in.
Mouch: Casey, there's a lot more...
Casey: Mouch.

  • Permalink: Mouch.
  • Added:

Unless they're calling from the inside.