Will Taylor Kinney return to Chicago Fire in season 12?

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Halfway To The Moon" Episode 1020 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Halfway To The Moon" Episode 1020 -- Pictured: Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC) /

It’s official: Severide isn’t coming back to Chicago Fire in season 11. The character, who decided to leave Chicago to join an arson investigation program, will not appear in the season finale, or any of the episodes leading up to it.

It’s a disappointing development for fans who were initially led to believe that Severide’s absence would be temporary. The big question moving forward, of course, is whether the character and the actor who plays him, Taylor Kinney, will be back in season 12…

Will Severide return to Chicago Fire in season 12?

All signs point to yes. There has been no announcement that Kinney is stepping away from the show for good, and even if he were to be involved in a diminished capacity, the way Jesse Spencer has been with the character of Casey, he would make a few appearances.

It’s unclear how long Kinney plans on being absent from the show, given the vague circumstances under which he left. There have also been some radical changes to the show’s format since he left. For one, Chicago Fire has been renewed for another season, but the season comes with a few big stipulations regarding screen time.

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Basically, NBC wants to cut down the budget of each episode so cast members that usually appear in every episode will be missing 3-4 episodes so less will be spent. While Kinney’s personal life may have been the impetus for his leaving, this new stipulation may be the reason why the writing team has decided to push back his return.

It would make more sense to delay Severide’s return until a handful of episodes into season 12, than to have him return in the season 11 finale and then miss several more episodes. The stop and start methodology of the latter option would take away from his return. Our expectation is that once Severide returns he will resume his spot at the center of the show’s storylines.

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For the latest Chicago Fire season 11 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.