Chicago Fire season 6’s best guest stars

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Slamigan" Episode 610 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Gary Cole as Chief Carl Grissom -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Slamigan" Episode 610 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Gary Cole as Chief Carl Grissom -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire season 6 featured a number of excellent guest actors coming through Firehouse 51. We rank Chicago Fire’s best guest stars of the season.

The stars of Chicago Fire can’t do it alone. Every episode is populated by guest stars who come in and liven up the case of the week—whether it’s playing people who need rescue, witnesses to an accident, or other personnel. They’re the folks who flesh out the universe.

Chicago Fire season 6 offered up a handful of recurring guest stars, including people with past ties to Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund). Then there were those who dropped by for an episode to give our heroes people to help; after all if things weren’t on fire or broken or injured, we wouldn’t have much of a show!

This post is dedicated to those people. Today, we’re sending up a few notes of appreciation to the folks who visited One Chicago and turned in some great performances while they were here.

Here are our picks for the best guests in Chicago Fire season 6:

More from One Chicago Center

3. Gary Cole

We’ve made no secret of our dislike for Chief Carl Grissom, and how we think he’s going to be a terrible Fire Commissioner who will screw up the entire fire department. But man, was it cool to have Gary Cole on our show.

He’s one of those actors who’s been seemingly everywhere and played almost everything, and he’s great whenever he turns up. Even when he’s playing a character you love to hate (which he has done often), he’s a wonderful talent. He built Grissom into a character we couldn’t help but want to punch in the face, and we mean that in the best way.

It seems like he’ll be back for Chicago Fire season 7 with Grissom’s promotion, and we’re thrilled for that because we can’t wait to see what he does when Grissom gets his comeuppance. Don’t forget to check out our brief history of Gary Cole’s best worst roles.

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2. Kim Delaney

After seasons putting up with the headaches caused by Severide’s father, it was wonderful to finally meet his mother Jennifer Sheridan, and Kim Delaney felt like exactly the right choice to play the other half of Severide’s complicated parents.

Delaney has played her fair share of tough women, including series regular roles on NYPD Blue and Army Wives, and a brief stint on CSI: Miami. So seeing her as Jennifer, you could understand where Kelly got his toughness from. There were qualities in her performance that matched up with what we’ve seen from Taylor Kinney over six seasons.

There was also the element of Jennifer’s renewed relationship with Benny Severide, and Delaney made it believable as to why Jennifer would fall for him again. That could easily have been a groan-worthy moment that made her look stupid; instead, we understood why she’d go back there, even if Kelly didn’t. And even if she probably should’ve avoided sleeping with her ex-husband in her son’s apartment!

1. Ariane Rinehart

The most pleasant surprise of Chicago Fire season 6 was Ariane Rinehart as Lily. When the show decided to introduce a new love interest for Otis (Yuri Sardarov), we were cautiously hopeful, as he deserved one but we didn’t want to see him get his heart broken again. Never fear, because she was perfect.

Rinehart’s performance was just as sweet and endearing as you’d expect for a character that’s dating Otis—but when things got tough for him later in the season, we saw her dramatic side, too. Lily was supportive of her boyfriend, worried for him, and even when he pushed her away we cared about her.

She won us over, just like Otis won her over, and we’re genuinely excited to learn more about her, which is why she’s our favorite Chicago Fire season 6 guest star.

Next: What Chicago Fire fans can watch this summer

Who were your favorite guest performers from the latest Chicago Fire season? Let us know which guest stars stood out to you in the comments.

Chicago Fire returns to NBC on Sept. 26.