By now, you may have heard of tonight's episode of Chicago Fire, a "ripped from the headlines" story based on the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland that killed 36 people.
If you think adapting the horrific events of Dec. 2 just two months after the tragedy for an episode titled "Deathtrap" is exploitative and in bad taste, you're not alone. If NBC were honest, it wouldn't advertise tonight's programming as "ripped from the headlines." It's ripped from the Bay Area's heart. I implore you not to watch.
Here's the casting call for extras, first acquired by the Mercury News:
“GHOST SHIP” — Seeking Men & Women 20s-30s to play rave party goers. Types can range from edgy/artsy to bohemian *DISCLAIMER* This is A VERY ACTIVE SCENE that entails running and screaming as party goers try to escape a warehouse fire. THIS WILL BE USED AS SURVEILLANCE VIDEO FOOTAGE in the episode. Please do not submit if you are not comfortable with the level of physicality or any other aspect of the scenario. This is a double duty shoot, where you will work in the memoriam scene first and then move on the the party/fire scene. There MAY be use of a light smoke/fog effect in the fire scene, so let us know if you are not comfortable with that.
If anyone at NBC happened to raise the concern of "too soon," here's their answer: people are still holding memorials. I first heard of the network's plans while mourners were sound-checking for a Ghost Ship tribute concert at Grace Cathedral. That's too soon.
I then heard that the Ghost Ship narrative would be spread out among not one but three shows, including Chicago PD and Chicago Justice, in a "crossover television event!", the same day I visited a memorial mural honoring the 36 people who died painted just days prior. That's too soon.