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Exclusive: Chicago Fire's Hanako Greensmith opens up on Violet and Hawkins, Stellaride's wedding - and the #hawkami name

What comes next for Violet Makami?

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Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca LewisReporterLos Angeles
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Chicago Fire season 10 returned on Wednesday and fans saw paramedic Violet Mikami, played by Hanako Greensmith, and Chief Evan Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas) take their relationship to the next level, after weeks of will-they-won't-they. Hawkins, however, is Violet's boss and fans will now see the pair deal with the ramifications of their actions.

MORE: Why Chicago Fire's Jesse Spencer may be returning to the show 

Hanako, 25, is still relatively new to the One Chicago family, joining in season eight for a small role before becoming a recurring character in season nine and then being upped in the break before season ten to a series regular. 

WATCH: Violet questions Hawkins over her award on Chicago Fire

But she's quickly become a beloved member of the cast, close with Kara Killmer and Miranda Rae Mayo, the other two female series' regulars, and Alberto Rosende and Daniel Kyri, with whom her character has a business.

Currently still filming the final episodes of the show's tenth season, Hanako hopped on a call with HELLO! and shared details of the fallout of Violet and Hawkin's decision, broke down Violet's ongoing friendship with former boyfriend firefighter Blake Gallo - and teased some potential Stellaride wedding planning scenes.

MORE: Chicago Fire announces new cast member ahead of season ten return

MORE: All we know about remainder of Chicago PD series nine following setbacks

Fans saw in Wednesday's episode that Violet and Hawkins have decided to go for it - do you see this crashing and burning?

It is a relationship that is borne out of unfortunate circumstances, in that it is technically frowned upon in the world in which we work - but that adds to the excitement and adds heat under the relationship and that is a very fun dynamic to play with. And I think we will see us toy with the difficulties of that dynamic for sure.

hanaoko greensmith cover

Hanako is HELLO's February cover star

Violet finally told Gallo he lost her. Can you share your thoughts on this relationship up to this point, and how her words may affect or change the threesome of her Gallo and Ritter?

Well, that is interesting because I have seen this relationship morph since 2018 - which is crazy to think about - but I think Gallo and Violet relate in such a sweet immature puppy-love way, and there is a lot of attraction behind the competitive nature of them. But with time, Violet has grown from that and did want to acknowledge something more with him, and he didn't allow himself to get to that place with her. I think she is growing out of what it is, and he is staying within it, and unfortunately that is tying her to another person who can see that energy.

Gallo is going to have to face the harsh truth - he has to mature and grow and ask himself important questions to see if he can cultivate a future with Violet. If it isn't too late.

And then poor Ritter, he is just such a sweet wonderful character and he is genuinely wanting what's best for everyone around him and unfortunately this is causing stress for him as it's two people he cares about who can't be in the same room together. We may be seeing poor Ritter navigate the conflict.


Hawkins and Violet will have to deal with the fallout of their romance

How did you and Jimmy Nicholas, who plays Hawkins, work together in building chemistry? 

It was so simple, he is from a musical theater background as I am so he comes with a vibrant gregarious energy that fills and deafens a room and it was really easy for us to connect as friends.

I think when we first met in episode four or five, it was so easy to bounce off each other to create chemistry and a really good off-screen relationship which then made work wonderful. There also has to be so much trust [outside of filming] when it comes to trust in on-screen relationships, and I had some vulnerable moments - in the appendicitis episode, I had to scream and be incredibly loud, and he was the first to be like, "Girl, I want you to go for it as loud as you possibly can," and that permission gave me freedom before him.

So I feel really lucky - Jimmy and Alberto [Rosende] have been such great screen partners.

I’m also obsessed with the TikTok Jimmy did for your ship name - did you know he was deciding "hawkami" was the one, and did you get any say in the decision?

No I did not! He did not refer to the other 50% of this ship! He is lucky I loved it, Hawkami is great.

Jimmy's video sent fans wilds

There isn't a universally chosen name for Gallo and Violet so is this Jimmy staking his claim that you guys are end game?

Yes Jimmy has been very smart at using his platform to play into the fan's excitement! More than me, I am not savvy at all. But Gallo and Violet don't have a ship name - in the first script we ever did in season eight, "Gallet" was written by one of the writers - Gallet, ship name? And I read it and thought it sounded like a body part, or part of a fish!

You began as a recurring character, did you know there was potential to become a series regular? How did you find out you'd been upped?

Well, when I came on in season nine I knew I would be coming back until the end of the season so at that point I did think, "what is going on?" And as it went on, I had a feeling that if I don't really mess this up and we cultivate something exciting here, then maybe they will ask me to stay.

By the end of season nine my castmates were all incredibly generous and sweet and said "we'll see you next season, this is a done deal!" But I didn't get a call until a few weeks after we wrapped, and it was just a feeling of elation and gratitude and anxiety, but primarily excitement.


Violet joined the show as a regular in season 10

Gallo was the entryway for Violet but I love how she's really become part of 51 on her own merits, can you talk about working with Kara Killmer and Miranda Rae Mayo?

Thank you for saying that, it is so fun seeing her out on her own, and I love the scenes with the women. I am really tight with Kara and Miranda in real life, and love love love spending time with them.

And we will see more scenes between the three of them moving on to the later part of the season, which I am really really excited for. It's fun to see how different we are around each other when the boys of the firehouse aren't there.

So, what you're saying is, wedding planning for Stella and Severide, right?

I can't say anything! But this episode did show us excited about the engagement...

Is there a character you’d like to see Violet get more screen time with?

I would love to see Violet with Trudy Platt [of Chicago PD] more. We did venture into a relationship with her last season and I don't know how viable it is with the logistics, but there is so much they have in common but enough differences to also cause a comedic conflict.

But at 51, I had a scene recently with Herrmann and I came at him yelling, and David Eigenberg was like, "I don't know what to do, no one has talked to Herrmamn like that, you were a little version of me to me!" I would love to see more Herrmann and Violet scenes.


'I am really tight with Kara and Miranda in real life'

How much input have you had in your character development?

Really very little, the writers are just so inspired. But I will say, Derek [Haas, showrunner] did ask me if I wanted to shift my character name from Lin to a Japanese last name to be more in line with my own heritage and I said, "of course, I would love to play a character that is my exact heritage".

And there also was a moment Derek came up to the window of the ambulance in episode five [of season 10] and said "we're thinking of putting you and Hawkins together, what do you think?" I was like, "that sounds illegal, let's do it!" And everyone really thought Hawkins was there for Brett to start! When he arrived on set there was a feeling of "do we want to like this guy? Jesse literally just left...."

What was it about Chicago Fire that you liked and made you want to audition?

Out of the three Chicago shows, it plays with a balance of drama and comedy and that was really enticing to me.

It is important to show the realistic drama that our frontline workers go through, the sacrifices, but I also wanted to acknowledge the hilarious, familial aspects of it, the wins and the failures.

Hanako joined the show in 2019

What have been your favorite moments to film?

Screaming in the ambulance with appendicitis; that was nerve wracking because I had to really unleash in a way I have never been, especially not on camera, and it was really exciting to do that tied with comedy.

And the scene where Violet was in Hawkins' office and asking about the awards, the tension in that scene really came through in a way we were both really happy with.

You’re also a theater actor and a cellist - did you always know TV was a route you wanted to go down?

Absolutely not, I had no idea I would do TV after college. My senior year I had one on-camera class and my teacher did say I should get serious about it, that there is a chance to get work, and it was just not my speed.And so I had to learn really quickly as it really was where the work was for people like me.

And it's such a different medium to stage, but it's fascinating learning the ins and outs.


Season 10 returned on Wednesday 

Can you expand on your comments "people like me"?

I just felt that as far as musical theater goes, it's at such an interesting time in history, it's so commercial there now. We see a lot of renditions of movies on Broadway, and I was a pretentious 16-year-old: "I want to do hard hitting, life altering theater!"

Then I realized the beautiful thing is I want to create that but it just may not be the avenue for me right now. And it is more fulfilling to work in this ensemble and create and learn in such an intimate way, all the time. It's really a show that never ends, it's really a family dynamic.

Are there any negatives to that?

Ask me again in another year! Kara did once say with familiarity comes resentment, so sometimes there are definitely moments of negativity.

We did a night shoot in season eight and I didn't know everyone then and even then I saw personalities shift on a dime at 4am in negative 5 degrees outside - and that's to be expected.

'My castmates were all incredibly generous and sweet'

Will we see you playing the cello on screen?

Oh God I hope not! I am so rusty I haven't taken advantage of the one I have here in Chicago, but maybe Violet is a cellist, who knows!

What’s next for Violet? How does she fit into your future?

It's so hard to say, it's always up to the writers, but for me personally I love being a part of the show. Season 11 if they will have me, I will definitely be there.

I hope we see Violet continuing in taking on more demanding projects for herself. Brett has paramedicine, Stella has Girls on Fire, and I don't know if that is something as important to Violet, to bring on leadership in her life. But I do think she is driven and ambitious and smart, so I would love to see her utilize the power in some other facets of her life.

Chicago Fire airs on NBC on Wednesday at 9/8c

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