Chicago Fire, FBI, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU Tell Their Stories With Help From These Real-Life Heroes

Fighting fires, investigating crimes, apprehending suspects, and saving lives all require serious smarts and plenty of experience — and portraying…

Chicago Fire, FBI, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU Tell Their Stories With Help From These Real-Life Heroes

Fighting fires, investigating crimes, apprehending suspects, and saving lives all require serious smarts and plenty of experience — and portraying it all on television does too. Where better to get that information than straight from the source? 

As we celebrate the premiere of LA Fire & Rescue, we’re recognizing the real-life heroes behind our shows who help us make sure our fictional first responders are portrayed as accurately as possible. Enter: Our team of advisors and consultants, who are an essential part of the writing and production process behind our shows. Read on to meet some of the experienced experts that help keep storylines of Chicago Fire, FBI, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU rooted in reality.

Steve Chikerotis – Consultant, Chicago Fire

Steve Chikerotis also has an impressive resume — he earned his credentials during a 36 year career with the Chicago Fire Department, where he reached the rank of Deputy District Chief of the 1st district and was in charge of 7 battalions of firefighters and 30 firehouses. Though now retired from firefighting, Steve’s fire and entertainment careers overlapped, as he has worked in the film industry for over 30 years and has been with Chicago Fire for 12 years, bringing his unique and informed POV to production. “As a firefighter you ride an emotional rollercoaster — there is no greater feeling than saving a life and nothing worse than giving it your all only to come up short and lose a life,” Steve shares. “Our show honors the fire service by allowing our viewers to see through the smoke and into the hearts and minds of firefighters.”

Dan Fethiere – Technical Advisor, FBI

Dan is a nine year U.S. Army veteran who retired from the FBI after 22 years as a Special Agent. Serving his entire FBI career in the New York Office, he was assigned to positions investigating drug trafficking and organized crime. He was also a fifteen year member of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), five of which he spent as the Senior Team Leader. Dan conducted numerous overseas deployments as an agent to Yemen, Afghanistan, and Djibouti supporting investigations related to the Global War on Terrorism. Now a longtime contributor to FBI, he recently completed his fifth season and 100th episode as our Technical Advisor.

Karen Friendman Agnifilo – Legal Advisor, Law & Order

Karen Friedman Agnifilo brings a wealth of knowledge to the Law & Order production — with 3 decades of experience in criminal law and criminal justice, she has valuable insight that helps us keep the show as on point as possible. Karen previously served 14 years as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and spent four years as Deputy Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. She applies the lessons learned from her professional experience addressing everything from human trafficking to sexual assault to domestic violence to DNA in her role as a consultant, and with her on our team, we’re able to honestly tackle these tough issues with understanding and accuracy.

Tim Hardiman — Consultant, Law & Order: SVU

Throughout his decades-long career as part of the New York Police Department, Tim Hardiman rose through the ranks and served in many positions across multiple precincts, like walking foot patrol in Midtown South and riding in plainclothes in East Harlem. In 1997, he was transferred to the Brooklyn Special Victims Squad. During his time with the squad, he worked alongside a therapist who, after leaving the DA’s office, began consulting on Law & Order: SVU. Through their connection, it didn’t take long for us to bring Tim onboard too. Since 2005, Tim has been lending his experiences and knowledge of procedure to help our writers, directors, and actors accurately portray NYPD officers and to stay current on changes in laws and procedures. He’s even made a couple appearances on the show himself — look for him in “Betrayal’s Climax” when he swears in Olivia Benson as SVU’s Sergeant.  “I always keep in mind that we’re making entertainment, not a documentary,” Tim says. “However, even if they don’t take my suggestions on a script, I always want to make sure that they have the correct information. I don’t ever want them to find out the day after an episode aired that they represented something wrong.”  Today, Tim continues to lend his knowledge to SVU and runs his own private investigation business.

Honorable Mention: Tony Ferraris – Actor, Chicago Fire

You may recognize him from his role on Chicago Fire, but Tony Ferraris, who plays himself on the show, is so much more than what you see onscreen. In real life, Tony is an active Chicago firefighter who brings decades of valuable frontline experience to the One Chicago franchise, where he’s been working with the Firehouse 51 squad since the very first season. Through his acting and his consulting work, Tony helps to accurately portray all the little details of working as a firefighter that make the show feel all the more real, based on his own life. “Fighting fires is stranger than fiction,” he says. “I think that translates onto the screen, and [the show] is pretty realistic of life at work.”

Meet The Real-Life Heroes of LA Fire & Rescue

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