Chicago Fire preview: What to expect in the season 12 premiere

The firefighting drama will be implementing lots of changes.

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Barely Gone" Episode 12001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Daniel Kyri as Darren Ritter, Jake Lockett as Sam Carver -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Barely Gone" Episode 12001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Daniel Kyri as Darren Ritter, Jake Lockett as Sam Carver -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /
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Chicago Fire is back in more ways than one. The firefighting drama is returning after a lengthy hiatus, and it's bringing together a group that hasn't been together in quite a while. A group that may not be together much longer...

Characters like Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Mouch (Christian Stolte) have been missing in action, and people like Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) and Gallo (Alberto Rosende) are on the cusp of leaving, so the season 12 premiere will mark a rare instance in which all of them will be together.

As such, the season 12 premiere will be a crucial episode for all involved. Since it's been over six months since the last new episode of Chicago Fire, we thought it'd be especially prudent to give a rundown of what to expect, and what to emotionally prepare for.

Chicago Fire season 12 episode 1 synopsis

Chicago Fire - Season 12
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Barely Gone" Episode 12001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hanako Greensmith as Violet Mikami, David Eigenberg as Christopher Herrmann, Daniel Kyri as Darren Ritter, Miranda Rae Mayo as Stella Kidd, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

The official synopsis for the episode, titled "Barely Gone", lays out the stakes pretty clearly:

"Firehouse 51 is forced to share space with Firehouse 17; Kidd and Herrmann fight over Ritter; an arson case tests Kidd and Severide's relationship; Firehouse 51 says goodbye to one of its own."

The "one" in question, is, of course, Gallo, who will be stepping away from the 51 to emark on the next chapter of his life. Chicago Fire showrunner Andrea Newman has confirmed that Brett is going be on the show for at least a few more episodes, so all of the emotional moments in the premiere will be reserved for Gallo and what will inevitably be a bittersweet goodbye.

Chicago Fire season 12 episode 1 highlights

Chicago Fire - Season 12
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Barely Gone" Episode 12001 -- Pictured: delivery truck -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

One Chicago Center was fortunate enough to speak with Newman, who posited that the season 12 tagline "welcome home" serves as both a means of welcoming back viewers after the hiatus and a means of asserting that the 51 will always be a home to the characters who work there.

The synopsis also confirms that Severide and Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) are not out of the woods yet in terms of their marital struggles. The former is compelled to figure out who is starting fires at local firehouses, and per Newman, Kidd fears that arson investigation is becoming something of a "drug" for him.

Related: Chicago Fire boss debunks Violet/Gallo romance

The tension between Severide's desire to pursue his passion, and maintain his marriage to Kidd, is likely going to drive the bulk of the season.

Chicago Fire season 12 episode predictions

Chicago Fire - Season 12
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Barely Gone" Episode 12001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett, Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

There's been lots of chatter about whether someone dies in the season 12 premiere, especially after promo photos showed the team wheeling out the charred body of an unidentified man. Some have said it could be Gallo, others have guessed that it's a character we haven't seen before.

We lean more towards the latter, given that Gallo nearly died in a fire a year ago, and Chicago Fire is generally good about not repeating the same story beats for characters. We expect Gallo to make it out of the premiere in one piece, so that the door remains open for him to return down the line.

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