Add fireworks to your July 4 with a One Chicago binge

Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue with friends or a cozy family gathering, adding the brilliance of fireworks to your evening promises to ignite joy and create lasting memories. And those sparklers come in the form of The One Chicago franchise.

Created by Dick Wolf, the franchise has become a staple for fans of intense drama, compelling characters, and interwoven storylines. With numerous seasons across Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or new to the franchise, here’s a guide to the must-watch seasons for an ultimate binge session.

1. “Chicago Fire” – Season 1

Why Watch: The season that started it all. Season 1 of Chicago Fire introduces viewers to the heroic firefighters and paramedics of Firehouse 51. This season lays the foundation for the intricate relationships and intense rescues that define the series. Key characters like Lt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) are introduced, and their stories set the stage for future seasons.

2. “Chicago P.D.” – Season 3

Why Watch: Season 3 of Chicago P.D. ramps up the drama with high-stakes cases and personal challenges for the Intelligence Unit. This season delves deeper into Sgt. Hank Voight’s (Jason Beghe) complex morality and introduces significant story arcs, including the powerful investigation into a brutal gang and the emotional turmoil of Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati).

3. “Chicago Med” – Season 2

Why Watch: Season 2 of Chicago Med offers a compelling mix of medical drama and character development. Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) and Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto) face intense medical cases while navigating their personal lives. This season also introduces Dr. Isidore Latham (Ato Essandoh), whose unique approach to medicine adds a fresh dynamic to the team.

4. “Chicago Fire” – Season 6

Why Watch: Season 6 is packed with dramatic rescues and heart-wrenching moments. The season finale, “The Grand Gesture,” is a must-watch, featuring a life-threatening fire that puts the entire crew in jeopardy. This season also explores the evolving relationship between Casey and Dawson, making it a fan-favorite.

5. “Chicago P.D.” – Season 5

Why Watch: Season 5 tackles timely social issues and offers gripping storylines. The departure of Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) and the introduction of Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) bring new dynamics to the team. The season’s exploration of police reform and justice adds depth to the series.

6. “Chicago Med” – Season 5

Why Watch: Season 5 delivers intense medical cases and significant character developments. Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) joins the team, bringing a mysterious past and fresh energy. The season also addresses pressing medical ethics and personal dilemmas, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.

7. “Chicago Fire” – Season 8

Why Watch: Season 8 is notable for its high-stakes rescues and emotional story arcs. The season begins with a devastating factory fire that impacts Firehouse 51 deeply. The camaraderie and bravery of the firefighters shine through, making it a standout season for longtime fans.

8. “Chicago P.D.” – Season 7

Why Watch: Season 7 is a rollercoaster of intense cases and personal struggles. The season focuses on Detective Upton and Officer Ruzek’s evolving relationship, adding emotional depth. The powerful mid-season finale, “Absolution,” is particularly gripping and showcases the series’ knack for suspense.

9. “Chicago Med” – Season 6

Why Watch: Season 6 of Chicago Med addresses the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic head-on, offering a realistic portrayal of frontline medical workers. The season also dives into the personal lives of the doctors, with standout moments for Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) and Dr. Natalie Manning.

10. “Chicago Fire” – Season 9

Why Watch: The most recent complete season, Season 9 of Chicago Fire, continues to deliver thrilling rescues and heartfelt moments. The season finale, “No Survivors,” leaves fans on the edge of their seats with a dramatic cliffhanger. The evolving dynamics within Firehouse 51 keep the series fresh and engaging.

For hardcore fans, these seasons offer the best mix of drama, character development, and unforgettable moments. Whether you’re revisiting old favorites or catching up on seasons you missed, this guide ensures you won’t miss the highlights of this beloved franchise. So, fire up your streaming service, grab some snacks, and get ready for an epic binge-watch session this July 4th weekend.

All seasons are streaming on Peacock.

Happy July 4th!