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What Happened to Evan Hawkins on Chicago Fire?
Fans are still reeling from the sudden loss of this beloved character.
It's something Hanako Greensmith—who plays Evan's girlfriend, Violet—actually hinted to NBC Insider in an interview before Season 11 started last fall. "Violet is gonna have a massive, massive challenge thrown her way that I don't think anyone was anticipating," she said at the time, remaining purposefully cryptic. "I know Violet wasn't anticipating it. You're gonna have to see her navigate some totally new emotional terrain and professional terrain."
What happened to Evan Hawkins on Chicago Fire?
The full story came out in Season 11, Episode 4. In the episode, Firehouse 51 is called to a scene at a burning building. Evan is on site, too, and he tries to save someone fleeing the fire. But before he and the victim have time to reach a safe distance from the crumbling building, they're buried under rubble. Later in the episode, we learn the man Evan saved came out alive. However, Evan succumbed to his injuries from the accident and passed away.
Since this episode, we've watched Violet attempt to pick up the pieces following this devastating loss. Interestingly, going back to work has proved instrumental in her healing process—but she obviously has a long way to go. Below, Jimmy Nicholas opens up to NBC Insider about his last days on Chicago Fire, saying goodbye to Hawkins, and what lies ahead for Violet. Read on.
NBC Insider: How are you feeling now that what happened to Hawkins is out there?
Jimmy Nicholas: That’s an onion. Very layered. It’s a mix of a lot of things. A ton of gratitude. I’ve been super thankful for the support throughout my time [on Chicago Fire]. I’ve just felt only support, and that’s a very rare thing in the business, to feel pure love from fans. That’s not normal at all, so I need to soak this in and be grateful. But then, obviously, it’s incredibly sad...I am grateful to the showrunners and the writers because I had a little bit of time to say my goodbyes and really soak in my final days. With a lot of things in life, you don’t get goodbyes like that.
Take us back to that last day of filming.
The way they scheduled the last episode to be shot was so unbelievably loving towards me. They gave us extra time at that location, which was not cheap, and it’s tough to do. And they gave us extra time not only so that we could really nail the final scene but also so we could say our goodbyes and we could, as a cast and crew, come together for this final night.
You probably were feeling so many emotions.
Oh my gosh, I cried a lot. They had me say a word at the end, once I was wrapped, and I tried to hold it together after that. I wasn’t expecting them to bring me a cake and have me say a word, but I held it together for that, and then in the car ride after I was crying.
It’s revealed that the man Hawkins saved came out of his coma, so Hawkins’ death was for something. Did you know that before shooting your scenes?
I think originally, when they said I was ‘gonna be dying in a fire and that wall was ‘gonna be falling on me, my hope was that I was saving Violet. My hope was that I was doing something to save somebody. It didn’t end up that I was saving Violet. We didn’t end up getting a goodbye like that on the show. But the fact that there was at least some purpose to it. Once someone passes, things like somebody being saved, those become things for the living. The fact that Violet gets to have a moment of, ‘Hey, this had a purpose’ is a beautiful thing.
How do you think she’s going to handle this sudden loss and navigate through her life?
I think she's ‘gonna do what anybody would ,which is the best they can. That’s grief. I’m sure there’ll be episodes where she’s OK, or at least the world thinks she’s OK, and there’ll be episodes where the world can see she’s not OK. It’s not a linear line through grief, and I think Violet will be the same...We all deal with grief every single day, and I think Violet will do her best to get through it. I know there’ll be certain moments where she is strong and pushes through and does amazing things, and maybe even uses his memory to do great things. And there will be other moments where she’s vulnerable and not OK, and I hope that her journey on the show shows both sides of that coin.
How has playing Hawkins impacted you as a person?
I hope to be as good as Hawkins. I hope to be as good of a guy as someone who follows in his dad’s footsteps, who wants to save lives, who cares. I don’t think there’s enough people in this world sometimes who truly care. We need more of that, and that definitely makes me wanna care every day. I’ll remember him for demanding of myself that I care as much as he cares.