FBI: International joins the FBI franchise this week as CBS launches an entire night dedicated to the Dick Wolf dramas. What fans may not know is just how connected it is to the overall Wolf Entertainment universe. Derek Haas is the showrunner of FBI: International, who with Rick Eid got the original FBI off the ground in its first season.
When Haas isn’t overseeing the adventures of the International Fly Team, he’s also the co-creator and showrunner of Chicago Fire. Before tonight’s FBI: International premiere (10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS) Crime-TV.com spoke to him to discuss being involved in not one but two hit franchises and how he’d describe the latest entry in the FBI world.
Crime-TV.com (Brittany Frederick): You’re the showrunner for FBI: International and also for Chicago Fire. What does it mean to run two shows at the same time, especially when they’re being filmed in different countries? How do you handle that, both creatively and logistically?
Derek Haas: It’s a different muscle, for sure. You have to put on your procedural hat, your crime hat. And what makes it fun and interesting is having a whole new set of characters to work with, and build, and find their personalities. It’s always this very interesting process where you think of a character, then you hire an actor. And in TV series, the actors end up bringing their own personalities to it. So it’s this fun three-dimensional thing that you watch grow as you build a new show.
The complication on this one was it’s called FBI: International. We had to do it in Europe. It’d be like doing Chicago Fire and then not doing it in Chicago. If you’re going to do FBI: International, we have to do it there. I didn’t realize it was going to be this much…Just obstacles thrown at you that you have to overcome when you’re doing a show that is on another continent.
BF: Rick Eid is still concurrently running the original FBI and Chicago PD. Have you and Rick ever had conversations about pulling this kind of double duty? Or do you take anything from the experience of Fire that might help International, or something on this show that inspired an idea on Fire?
DH: Chicago Fire is kind of unique in the Wolf universe. Chicago Med and Fire, they’re the only two that [we] definitely go home with the characters more. It’s less about a case of the week. So that doesn’t lend itself to then put yourself into the case of the week mode. But luckily I did those first couple of years of Chicago PD, the first four years, so I remember what that process is. And certainly when you’ve been in the Wolf crucible as long as I have, you know what the rhythms and flows are of writing a good hour of Wolf television.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.