“Under Fire” or “Onder Vuur,” consisting of ten episodes, is a Belgian-Dutch series about a group of dedicated firefighters working at the Oosteroever Fire Station. The series focuses on the collective lives of the station firefighters and their troubles. While the series description did sound interesting, it falls apart due to multiple subplots. The divided focus led to an awkward end to complicated issues. Nonetheless, “Under Fire” did manage to show the camaraderie between the firefighters, a relationship in which their similar interest in saving lives took precedence over their difference in opinion.
‘Under Fire’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
The firefighters at the Oosteroever fire station were disheartened when their Lieutenant, Patrick Sinnaeve, accepted his promotion and was transferred to the headquarters. He was replaced by Lieutenant Dominique Meersman. Orlando Foncke, a station favorite, was not accepting of the change since he shared a past with Dominique. They used to be together when they were training to be firefighters, and their relationship ended on a bitter note. Dominique had a tough job at hand. The station was assessed to be a liability by the headquarters, and she had to make sure that the station kept running smoothly to keep it from shutting down.
The assistant/adjutant, Steve, has been missing from his job for some days now. He was an alcoholic, and his addiction had worsened over time. The station spoke about his replacement, and it bothered Nina, his girlfriend. She loved him, but at the same time, she realized that she could not do anything to stop him from self-destruction. He was eventually terminated from his position, and Orlando and Vincent competed for the position of Adjutant. Tom Lateur, the new intern, joined the team. He was a medical school graduate who wanted to dedicate his life to a greater cause. He wanted to experience the thrill and be present in the field instead of being confined in a room waiting for patients. Dominique was impressed by his display of passion; Tom proved his worth on the first day at his job by helping a woman deliver her baby in a car. Orlando was impressed by Tom’s calmness in a tense situation, and the entire station started to respect him. Though Nina was not moved by Tom’s performance, she hated him for taking over Steve’s locker and placing himself at the station. While Tom was the perfect intern, he was hiding a dark secret that could ruin his reputation.
Meanwhile, during a fire emergency at a retirement center, the fire hydrants in the nearby area failed to supply water. Patrick, who now worked at the headquarters, was informed by his sources that there was a larger conspiracy at play, and it was not the fault of firefighters. Patrick started digging around to find the truth, and what he eventually found out shook everyone around him.
Why Was Orlando Staying Away From His Family?
Orlando lived on a boat, away from his wife and son. He wanted to distance himself from Maaike after they lost their daughter to leukemia. Orlando was a devoted father who always tried to find time for his son, taking him around town and treating him to things that his mother did not approve of. Their distance was primarily for Orlando to figure out his life and what he wanted from his marriage. “Under Fire” Season 1 began with Orlando asking Maaike to leave him alone when he found her lingering around his boat. But the separation helped him realize the warmth that he felt around his family, especially after dealing with cases that left him emotionally drained. When he had to save a little boy in a car accident, he could not help but get emotional in the process. When his colleague, Henri’s niece, went missing, he took it personally and searched desperately for her. These instances indicate the fear that resides within Orlando. He knew what it was to lose a family member, and the thought of someone going through the same bothered him to the core. His relationship with his wife eventually mended as he realized how much he valued their presence. He named his boat after his daughter, which was his way of memorializing her.
What Was Dominique’s Past?
Dominique was living with Geert and his two daughters. The girls had lost their mother two years ago and were struggling to adjust to the recent change they were introduced to. Marieke did not approve of Dominique; she criticized her and refused to accept her as her mother. While Geert wanted to give his daughters space, Dominique felt that he was not being mindful of their attitude. Even though she had a family now, Dominique yearned to have her own place. A place where she would feel at ease and content. She knew that she was uninvited by her partner’s daughters, and perhaps that drove her all the more to have her apartment. Geert did not want Dominique to move out, but she continued her hunt for an apartment in secrecy.
Marieke’s behavior did not affect Dominique’s concern for her. She was especially disturbed when she received a call from a girl’s father, who informed her about Marieke’s bullying tendencies. She warned Geert, but he trusted his daughters more than he trusted the parents. Dominique searched online about the blue whale challenge that the parents had discussed, and she realized how threatening the situation was. She followed Marieke and saw her make fun of the girl at the pier. Later that day, she received an emergency call informing her that the girl whom Merieke had bullied was attempting to commit suicide. Dominique rushed to the scene and decided to talk to the girl alone. The firefighters prepared the air cushions in case of a fall while Dominique climbed up the stairs and reached the terrace. Even though the girl wanted Dominique to stay away, she eventually found comfort in her presence.
Dominique discussed how her mother had committed suicide when she was young. Her mother thought that it would be better to not exist anymore, but her decision left Dominique with a void that could never be filled. She wanted the girl to think about her family and how they would be affected by the loss before taking her life. She further explained how the death of Marieke’s mother had affected her behavior. She knew the anger Marieke was experiencing because she felt the same after losing her mother. Marieke bullied others into filling the void that she was left with. Dominique used to be bitter when she was young, which explains her past relationship with Orlando. Dominique was able to convince the girl to not commit suicide, and she safely brought her back from the terrace. Dominique ultimately purchased the apartment, even though Geert believed it was her abandonment issue that scared her when she had a real family. Perhaps Dominique felt adequate on her own; she was at peace with herself and did not wish to get involved in a relationship. Dominique and Geert parted ways due to their difference in beliefs. Orlando started to appreciate Dominique and respect her position. She was no longer the young girl that he knew; she was a lot more responsible and decisive than ever before. Even though the two did not start on the right note, they eventually became friends.
What Was Tom’s Dark Secret? How Did His Colleagues Help Him Out Of The Situation?
Tom was faced with a challenge on the first day of his job. He was on ambulance duty, and he had to help a woman deliver her baby in the car. He managed to not panic and do his job with precision. This incident boosted Tom’s confidence, and the next day, when they had to extinguish a fire, he made decisions that his work partner, Nina, did not approve of. He was at the front, controlling the fire as they entered the building. His confidence was soaring high. After all, this was the thrill that he expected from the job. But it all went downhill when the water started losing pressure, and it stopped pouring from the hose. To make matters worse, Tom noticed the gas canisters in the room. Nina warned everyone in the building about the gas, and they tried to evacuate. A gas explosion followed, and Tom was left petrified. Even though he knew that the job was life-threatening, he was left shocked. In that moment of despair, Tom took his mask off. Nina was surprised by his behavior and asked him to put the mask back on and helped him out. Nina did not report Tom for his behavior on the field, but she could not trust him anymore. Their conflict led to another potential mishap, though eventually, Nina started to trust Tom when he saved her life in more than one instance. While his relationship with Nina changed, he was hiding a secret from the department.
Tom was a drug addict and had been clean for over two years. He chose to not disclose this information to his employer, fearing rejection, even though it was a safety concern. Unfortunately, as Tom was trying to run away from a life that he regretted, he was greeted by his friends from the past. They wanted a favor. Since Tom was in the fire department, they wanted him to deal drugs for the mafia using the department’s boat. The customs never checked emergency vessels, and they wanted to take advantage of it. Tom wanted to stay away from it, but his friends threatened him with a voice recording. As it turns out, Tom was involved in a car accident. He was on drugs when he was driving, and due to the high speed, he crashed into a car. He had fled the scene, knowing that he would be imprisoned for it. Tom knew that the voice recording proved him guilty, which was why he could not completely refuse their request. He was caught between the two worlds, and even though he wished to be a better person, the past would not allow him to be so. Out of guilt, he used to visit the victim of the accident. She had turned blind, and Tom gave her company, knowing that it was all his fault. Tom was gradually losing control of his life. He started drinking and taking drugs and came to work the next day with barely any sleep.
Nina could sense that something was wrong in his life, so she accessed his phone and found the audio recording. She informed Orlando about it, and instead of reporting him, they chose to study the accident he was involved in. Later, when Tom met his friends and was about to take the boat for the deal, Orlando, Nina, and Boris came in and caught hold of his friends. As it turned out, the guilt consumed Tom to the point where he confessed the truth to Orlando and asked for their help. They asked him to record his conversation with his friends, which they later used to threaten them to delete the recording they had of Tom. Nina later explained to Tom how, even though he was under the influence of drugs, he did help the victims of the accident to get out of their car, which burned into flames. He did the best he could, and he must learn to live with his mistake. Before leaving the station, Tom proved his dedication to saving lives when he rushed to help Orlando’s son when he was injured. Dominique took note of his compassion. Tom resigned from his post soon after knowing that he was not honest when he started the job. But Lieutenant Dominique did not accept his resignation and asked him to continue, though the deal was that he had to get tested for drugs every week.
“Under Fire” highlights how Tom could have been drawn to his dark past, but his persistent interest in being a good person and helping others was the reason he could overcome his difficult situation. Also, how Orlando chose to understand his situation instead of jeopardizing his life by reporting it to the police. Even though Tom was new at the station, Orlando and Nina believed it was their responsibility to save him from the situation and give him another chance to prove himself.
‘Under Fire’ Ending Explained: What Was The Truth Behind The Non-Functional Fire Hydrants?
Patrick started doubting the system when the fire hydrants did not work during the gas explosion. His station was blamed for its shortcomings, but he knew that it could not be the fault of the firefighters. He started studying the fire maps and noticed how there was a lack of information in the area of the incident. The fire maps that were approved were not true to their information. He decided to create a file to discuss the issue and submit it to his senior Gilbert to present it to the district board. Gilbert was offended by what Patrick was suggesting, nonetheless, he agreed to present it to the board. That night, Patrick was informed that the board disapproved of his theory due to a lack of proper evidence. He was even suspended from his job for submitting the report. Patrick now realized that people holding higher posts were involved in the scam, and they were desperate for him to shut down the case.
To prove his theory, he dug around the fire hydrants and found that they were not connected to any water pipes. He confronted Gilbert about the pipes and accused him of being involved in the case. In return, Gilbert informed him that the district board would shut down the station as a measure to cut down on costs. Patrick was shocked. He had an agreement with Gilbert in which he agreed to accept the promotion, trusting Gilbert to save his station from being shut down. Gilbert asked him to return with proof if he wanted to accuse him of foul play. Now, all that Patrick needed was hard evidence to prove Gilbert guilty of his association with the scam. When Gilbert went away for work, Patrick stole his computer and asked Vincent to find any material that could be used against him. Vincent found evidence against Gilbert and informed Orlando and Patrick about it. As he was driving, he noticed a car drowning, and he jumped in to save the driver’s life; but, in the process, he lost his life.
After Vincent’s funeral, Patrick played the voice mail that he had sent before dying, in which he stated that he had found evidence from Gilbert’s computer. After the funeral and after announcing that the station would shut down and merge with another station, Patrick went into Vincent’s office and found the computer on which he had stored the evidence. After going through the file, Patrick could not control his temper. He went ahead and punched Gilbert in his face. Soon the police came to Patrick’s house to arrest him. Before leaving with the police, he asked his wife to see Dominique and inform her about the files on the computer. Patrick was informed by the police that Gilbert had filed a complaint against him and that they had received a file two days earlier from someone in the city council that consisted of documents showing how he was responsible for fraudulent permits and hydrants cut offs. They blamed it all on Patrick, knowing that he would not let go easily. The documents that they provided could be used to frame him for involuntary manslaughter.
When the police left the room, Patrick escaped and fled the country using his private plane. Dominique collected the hard evidence that had Gilbert’s signatures on forged documents. It also had evidence indicating that he was responsible for changing the blueprints to get grant permits illegally. It was all done to take money from the projects without caring about the lives they were putting at stake. Dominique submitted the evidence to the cop, and Patrick was no longer in danger. The higher authorities no longer had any reason to shut down the station. Patrick flew back home; he was able to save the station he had always loved and protected.
In the end, the Oosteroever fire station continued with its mission to save lives. Even though Tom and Nina were no longer together, Nina was glad to have Tom back on the crew. Boris had a rough start in his relationship with Katrien, but he ultimately found happiness and comfort in her. Orlando got back with his family and lived together with his wife and son. Since Vincent always addressed the importance of body cameras, Gio started using them. The firefighters were back at their jobs after overcoming a series of drawbacks.
“Under Fire” is a 2022 Action Drama series directed by Joost Wynant.