Chicago Fire season 9 will improve with more of Daniel Kyri as Ritter.
The next Chicago Fire season just got that much better with the news that Daniel Kyri has been promoted to a series regular. That means Kyri’s character Darren Ritter will be in the main cast for Chicago Fire season 9 and around every week—something he’s definitely earned.
Ritter joined the One Chicago universe early in season 7, during that season’s three-show Chicago crossover event. A young firefighter who panicked in the apartment building blaze, he got a wake-up call from Mouch (Christian Stolte).
But his story didn’t stop there; Mouch followed up by visiting Ritter later on and convincing him not to give up on his firefighting dream because of one bad outing.
Eventually the other man found his way to Firehouse 51 where he continued to grow under the tutelage of both Mouch and Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg). He also formed a friendship with Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende) when Gallo later arrived at 51.
With all of that, it was surprising that Daniel Kyri wasn’t made a series regular by the end of season 7. He appeared in plenty of episodes yet while Rosende was quickly promoted to being a main cast member, he continued to be a recurring guest star—until now. Here’s why that decision is the best thing that the Chicago Fire producers could have done for season 9.
Ritter has chemistry with his colleagues
The most important thing when promoting a character from recurring to regular status is making sure they fit into the established ensemble. It doesn’t matter how great the character or actor is on their own if they disrupt the rest of the show. But from the moment Ritter joined Firehouse 51 he fit right in, and the same can be said for Daniel Kyri.
Ritter has a great banter going with Gallo; they’re sort of a younger, inexperienced version of Otis and Cruz, which is even more important since Yuri Sardarov is no longer on Chicago Fire. They get each other while also lovingly getting on each other’s nerves.
But he’s a unique character in the sense that he also plays equally well off the veterans, including Mouch, Herrmann and Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker). Sometimes the One Chicago shows fall into patterns where the same characters interact with each other all the time but Ritter can go back and forth between groups with ease.
He’ll make Chicago Fire season 9 even greater because he can fit into any story and make it that much more entertaining.
He makes Firehouse 51 even more diverse
TV shows are continuing to talk about increased diversity. Adding Ritter is a plus for Chicago Fire in that respect. With producers choosing not to bring back Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster, that meant Eamonn Walker would have been the only African-American series regular for season 9 before the promotion of Daniel Kyri.
With Ritter coming out as gay during the eighth season, he also improves the One Chicago franchise’s LGBTQ representation as well. Fire didn’t have an LGBTQ main character after Lauren German portrayed Leslie Shay in the first two seasons until Foster came on…and again, just got rid of Foster. Because Shay and Foster were both paramedics, Ritter becomes the show’s first LGBTQ firefighter in the main cast.
And unlike Emily Foster, so far Ritter’s sexuality hasn’t been the defining trait for his character; it’s just a part of who he is. If he continues to be written that way, he’s going to provide some much needed representation across the entire One Chicago universe.
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Ritter has a compelling character arc
Some recurring characters aren’t meant to be regulars, no matter how popular they are; that’s because you have to have enough story to kepe them around every week. The worst thing for fans of any TV character is to watch them sit on the sidelines with not enough to do or poor storylines because the writers don’t know what to do for them.
With Ritter there’s a very clear arc of his continued growth as a firefighter even though he’s gotten past his initial fears. We saw in the season 8 premiere how Herrmann put him in his place for not leaving during the mattress factory fire. It’s been fun for the show to have characters who are still learning the ropes in Ritter and Gallo, and they’re allowed to learn and make mistakes without that just being played for laughs.
Ritter is going to continue to grow throughout Chicago Fire season 9 and learn more of the ins and outs of firefighting that they can’t teach him at the academy. We’ve already seen him and Gallo try to take initiative and do new things for Firehouse 51. There are so many stories that can be told in having him around, and that’s what you want whenever a new regular comes aboard.
For the latest Chicago Fire season 9 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.