Chicago Fire season 8 report card: What worked and what didn’t

CHICAGO FIRE -- "I'll Cover You" Episode 818 -- Pictured: (l-r) Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "I'll Cover You" Episode 818 -- Pictured: (l-r) Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC) /

Chicago Fire season 8 is complete, so it’s time to put the season in review: What worked? What didn’t? Here’s what we thought about this season.

This season of Chicago Fire is in the books, meaning it’s time to look back on season 8 and see how it all turned out. What parts of the season worked and made us fans all over again? What parts didn’t and could use room for improvement in the future?

We answer those questions in our Season 8 Report Card as we examine where this past season of Chicago Fire burned brightest, and where it didn’t always succeed. Looking back at the big picture, we hope you get additional perspective on all of the season that was.

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts about season 8’s hits and misses in the comments, and continue the discussion.

Here’s how we grade season 8 of Chicago Fire:

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What worked

  • Otis’s death: As much as we hated saying goodbye to Otis (Yuri Sardarov) at the start of the season, the way it was handled was perfect. From his heartbreaking final scene, to the memorial, to the way his passing affected other characters, Otis’s presence was felt all throughout the season. The scene where Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) lit a couch on fire and delivered an impassioned monologue about his friend’s death was the season’s best moment.
  • David Selby and Rachel Miner: How cool was it that TV legend David Selby turned up on Chicago Fire? And his performance as a man who had recently moved to the city, only to lose his beloved wife in a house fire, was heartbreaking and beautiful. And if that wasn’t enough, Rachel Miner appeared in another episode, in a truly inspirational story about a disabled woman who put her own life at risk to save her son. These two guest stars were so amazing that we hope to see them both again.
  • Gallo and Ritter: It’s always touch and go when a new actor joins a series, but Alberto Rosende did very well in his first season; he was easily the best of the three new actors who were added to the One Chicago franchise. He particularly shined working off the returning Daniel Kyri, and Chicago Fire created a great double act between Ritter and Gallo. Let’s hope that continues, because both actors have tremendous upside.
  • A lack of Stellaride drama: We got through the whole season without something else driving a wedge between the show’s primary couple. No one’s ex resurfaced, no one did something stupid that made the other one upset, they were just able to be in a normal relationship and support each other through their respective trials. The worst we got was Stella’s jealousy showing with Wendy Seager, and we’ll take that compared to some of the stuff they’ve had to deal with before.

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What didn’t

  • Casey’s love life: Is anyone else more confused about what Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) is doing than we were last season? Not only did the show not really move the flirtation with Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) forward, but then it had Casey hook up with his ex-wife Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund). We don’t know what he wants, and we’re not even sure what the show wants to do with him anymore.
  • Dawson’s return: Speaking of Dawson, it was great to see her again this season, but there was so much more that could have been done with Monica Raymund’s guest appearance than just a Dawsey story. We didn’t get a good Dawson and Brett scene, which was odd for two people who were supposed to be close friends, or much of Dawson interacting with any other characters. We’ll give the show credit for at least using the guest spot to tell us what really happened to Antonio, but other than that, it kind of left us wanting.
  • Brett’s life in general: Poor Sylvie just got kicked when she was down this season. She breaks off an engagement, meets her birth mother only for the woman to die, and now she’s about to lose another partner. Chicago Fire season 8 was a really terrible season for her when you add it all up.

For a show in its eighth season, Chicago Fire is doing pretty well, and it was the most consistent of the three One Chicago series creatively. But there are a few rough spots that need to be ironed out going into season 9, like picking a definitive direction for Casey and of course, looking for another new paramedic.

But if the show can fix those few things, it has a very solid foundation to march toward another 100 episodes, because the cast is as good as they’ve ever been and the episodes are still able to make us cry.

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