What does Jesse Spencer contribute to green living? "I ride my bike," replies the Australian actor, who'll be seen racing around the Windy City in a fire truck in his new series "Chicago Fire," debuting Oct. 10. Having played Dr. Robert Chase for eight seasons on "House," he "was looking for the right thing to come along. I saw the opportunity and took it. This happened really, really quickly," he adds. In fact, he shot the pilot on weekends "because I was shooting 'House' at the same time."


His character, Lt. Casey, "is a very headstrong, quite moralistic leader, a natural born leader. He has to look after his guys. Things aren't all good at home either, which I hear is very true with firefighters and their relationships. They often get neglected. So, we're going to see the struggles and the flaws in all of these guys but we're going to see the leadership qualities that make them who they are as well," describes Spencer.


Spencer uses an American accent for the role, and the differences with "House" don't end there. "House was a procedural, and I don't think we touched each other once. This is a much more physical, shoot from the hip sort of show in which we're really going to explore the characters and see them go into their professional lives as much as their personal lives. Obviously, the physicality of the show is very, very important. That's partly something I was attracted to." He started boxing gym workouts and firefighter training during the pilot. "Certainly for action scenes I think it makes it far easier if you're running around with 60 pounds of gear. You can't help but feel it. I think it brings realism to it, which I think is necessary," says Spencer, who also did ride-alongs with firemen.


The ensemble cast also includes Taylor Kinney, Lauren German, Eamonn Walker, and David Eigenberg of "Sex and the City," who plays screenwriter Ernest Lehman in the Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick," starring Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor. It premieres Nov. 25.




Tune in: PBS "Nature" treks to Russia's frozen forest in "Siberian Tiger Quest" in search of the rare cats, which have rarely been filmed in the wild. The documentary premieres October 10.


Photo courtesy Joe Loncraine/©Mike Birkhead Associates


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