Chicago Fire season 12: Will Joe Minoso return as Joe Cruz?

CHICAGO FIRE -- "The First Symptom" Episode 1117 -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Minoso as Cruz, Chris McKenna as Bamford -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "The First Symptom" Episode 1117 -- Pictured: (l-r) Joe Minoso as Cruz, Chris McKenna as Bamford -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) has quietly become a family man on Chicago Fire. The character underwent a crisis of confidence in season 10, but season 11 saw him assume a much more relaxed, paternal role as he welcomed his first biological son, Otis (named after his fallen friend) and adopted his second son, Javi.

It’s a logical progression for the character, who has always been one of the warmest members of the 51. As we head into season 12, however, there could be some major changes that would once again skew his story towards the professional rather than the personal.

Is Joe Cruz leaving Chicago Fire season 12?

For staters, Cruz is definitely coming back. Chicago Fire is on the cusp of losing some major cast members, so the show will be more reliant on supporting players like Cruz than ever. It’s the fate of Severide (Taylor Kinney), in fact, that will dictate the next phase of Cruz’s career at the 51. The lieutenant left to take an arson investigation program in season 11, but he hasn’t revealed when he plans to return.

To make matters worse, he accepted a role in an ongoing investigation elsewhere in the country, and he did it without telling his wife, Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo). If it wasn’t for Cruz having a source at the arson investigation program, she wouldn’t have ever found out. If Severide continues to be away from the 51, than the firehouse will need to find someone to fill his lieutenant role, and few make a better case for promotion that Cruz.

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He knows what he’s doing, he has the experience, and he’s well-liked by the rest of the team. That said, a promotion could create problems if and when Severide returns. The firehouse would then have 3 lieutenants for 2 positions, which means Severide, Kidd, or Cruz would need to move over to another firehouse.

It’s unclear whether this will be used as a way to transition Severide out of the show (frankly, the lack of information on both him and the actor who plays him has us just as clueless as the fans), but either way, it seems like a logical career progression for Cruz.

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