MOUNT PLEASANT — This week, scour Wednesday’s episode of “Chicago Fire” and you might just spot a familiar face.
Look over the shoulder of character Benny Severide (played by guest star Treat Williams) and you’ll likely see retired Fire Chief Bill Bouma of Mount Pleasant.
“It depends what tape they’re going to use... but it sounds like I’ll be on TV quite a bit,” said Bouma, clearly pleased.
The “Chicago Fire” casting agent who brought Bouma on was also apparently pleased. In
addition to his background appearance on Wednesday’s show, Bouma was called back, becoming one of only four extras to wear a white command shirt during another episode filmed last Tuesday.
Both trips down to Chicago yielded long days, but a lot of satisfaction for Bouma, who said the extras and actors “just had a blast.”
“I have been thrilled to part of this show and it
has added excitement to my retirement,” said Bouma, who stepped down as the South Shore Fire Department’s chief last year.
Bouma described learning to “speak” without making a sound, silently moving his lips as he sat at various tables in the background of a large ballroom scene for Wednesday’s episode. According to Bouma, between 13 and
14 hours of shooting and 35 to 50 takes resulted in about 10 minutes of film. Then, he said, producers had about 10 days to turn the footage around and put out an episode.
That episode, “Better to Lie,” airs Wednesday night. According to NBC’s episode description, Severide — father to main character Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney — “returns to dig up a dark secret.”
Come March 6, Bouma will be back in another
episode, this time costumed as a command staffer and accompanied by Rochester Fire Company Assistant Chief Cathy Wagner, former Kansasville Fire Chief Chad Franks and South Shore firefighter and paramedic Joe Schauer, Bouma said.
Although he’s not sure how much screen time they’ll receive, Bouma said he and the other Racine County locals enjoyed their day as extras, even bringing along a couple kringles to share (they were a hit, he said).
And long days or not, Bouma said he and his fellow Racine County extras would all return to the show in heartbeat if asked.
“This was a happy set of people and a great cast and crew,” Bouma said, describing meeting several of the actors. “You could tell the show is really doing well right now and they are really excited about it.
“It’s one of the things on my bucket list that I can now scratch off.”
ON THE AIR
Program: “Chicago Fire”
Episode title: “Better to Lie”
Network: NBC (Channels 4 and 5)
Time: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Bill Bouma’s scene: Ballroom