Why everyone should watch 'Nightwatch'

One hopes that a show like this will build empathy for its firefighters and medics and spread to the larger first-responder community


"Nightwatch" is a first-responder show for first responders. There's grittiness, failure, triumph, sensitivity and everything that falls in between. It even touches on the mundane, routine aspects of the job — a welcome and refreshing surprise.

I know this is an invitation for angry comments and letters, but I don't like "Chicago Fire." The limited number of episodes I watched were long on action and short on authenticity.

By that, I mean the human authenticity. Firefighters and medics watching "Nightwatch" can pick out technical and tactical things they should be doing differently. If it were perfect, it would be a training video. Life is not perfect.

There were times when the New Orleans responders' dialogue and actions seemed heavily influenced by the camera's presence. But there were more times when the real responders came out — flaws and all. And it is that human authenticity I hope drives the show's future episodes.

Yes, authentic characters will make for better entertainment. But more importantly, people develop empathy for authentic characters — they begin to see life through others' eyes.

And in a perfect world, this empathy for a small handful of characters will have a carryover to the larger firefighter and EMS community. Any spike in public opinion will help us on the day-to-day fire and medical calls, in the annual municipal budget battles and when state and national legislation affecting us come up for votes.

That's why I'm far more excited to see a show like "Nightwatch" than one with unbelievably perfect looking characters with unbelievably complicated life stories.  

If you missed the premiere, you can watch it here.

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