Chicago Fire pulled the rug out from under us during the season 12 episode "Trapped." We knew going into the episode that there was going to be some tension in the firehouse, especially after Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) announced that he wanted to transfer.
Most of the episode danced around Cruz's decision, as he repeatedly talked things over with Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo). By the time the episode ended, however, Cruz was still a member of the 51, and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) had left the Windy City to pursue an arson investigation.
Severide left Chicago Fire again in season 12
That's right, Severide is gone again. The character missed the last handful of episodes in season 11, returned for the first two episodes of season 12, and how he's on his way to Tucson, Arizona to help out with a particularly difficult case.
The decision was spurred by Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper), the Commander of the Chicago Fire Department's Office of Fire Investigation aka OFI. He questioned why Severide would want to stick around and put out fires when his true passion is investigation, and he even alluded to Severide's late father, Benny (Treat Williams).
Still, it seemed as though it was this comment from Van Meter that sealed the deal:
"Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough. You have the talent and passion for this. Don’t let it go to waste for whatever reason."
Severide had spent the last two weeks promising Kidd that he wasn't going anywhere, and that he would not prioritize arson investigation at the 51. Evidently, the firefighter can't stay away. He told Kidd about the Tucson case, and assured her that he wouldn't go if she didn't want him to.
Severide traveled to Arizona for an arson case
Sensing that he would be resentful if she said no, Kidd reluctantly gives her blessing and Severide takes off for the second time in less than ten episodes. It's a shocking turn of events, especially since there was little mention of the character being absent during season 12.
There was a lot of fanfare about his return, but now, it seems, Severide's future with the 51 is unclear.
Chicago Fire showrunner Andrea Newman revealed that there were talks of a One Chicago spin-off that would see Severide head up an arson investigation team, but she told Hello! Magazine that the character was too valuable to remove from the main show:
"We have [considered it] but having lost Severide for a bit [in season 11], it was a reminder of what a critical part of 51 he is."
Hopefully Severide comes back soon. The current season of Chicago Fire is roughly half the length it usually is, so the character has much less time to waste. Especially with the Brettsey wedding coming up, and an increasingly exasperated spouse.