Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) has always been a part of Chicago Fire. The character has been present since the pilot, and been responsible for some of the endearing and heartbreaking moments in franchise history. And he may be leaving the show.
At least, that's what NBC wants us to think. The promo for Chicago Fire season 12, episode 2, was focused squarely on Cruz's issues with Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and it even concluded with the former saying "I think it's time for me to leave 51."
Joe Cruz is rumored to leave in Fire 1202
Here's the thing: we don't think Cruz is going anywhere. It would definitely be a shocking turn of events to write off a character who has been so important to the show's appeal, but Fire is in a state of flux at the moment, and it would not benefit them to do so.
As most people reading this know, Chicago Fire is doing a lot of housecleaning. The show recently said goodbye to Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), and its preparing to say goodbye to Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer). This is a season and a half after Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) left, and there's still speculation as to whether Severide is sticking around.
The bottom line is: Chicago Fire needs stability, and it doesn't get more stable than Cruz. He has always been an exemplary firefighter, and the one time he got skittish on the job, he was able to get out of it thanks to Severide's help.
Chicago Fire boss has hinted at Cruz staying
Cruz has become a father twice over in the last two seasons, and while he hasn't had a ton to do in the firehouse, his presence is still very much felt in the way he interacts and advises the rest of the team. It was Cruz, after all, who dropped the bombshell about Severide's real location when he was supposed to be at arson training in season 11.
Plus, Chicago Fire showrunner Andrea Newman has confirmed that Cruz has a big season ahead of him, which wouldn't make sense if the character was leaving in episode 2. She told TV Guide:
""Cruz kind of falls in the same category as Ritter in terms of their loyalties being tested, and there will be challenges for him going forward in terms of dynamics, but he's obviously very much the heart of the firehouse.""
In other words, we would be COMPLETELY shocked to see Cruz leave. All signs point to him being around for the long haul.