There is a lot of change going on this season of Chicago Fire. The season 12 premiere saw the exit of Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo as well as Taylor Kinney's return as Kelly Severide following his unexpected leave of absence in season 11. Kara Killmer will be departing at some point this season after ten seasons playing paramedic Sylvie Brett. And Rome Flynn is about to join the cast as 51's newest recruit, Derrick Gibson.
So when the promo for the latest episode of Chicago Fire season 12 dropped and teased the exit of Joe Cruz, fans were admittedly sent into a panic. Fortunately, we can confirm that Joe Minoso is not going anywhere -- especially not in the second episode of the season airing tonight, Jan. 24, on NBC!
Joe Cruz does not leave Chicago Fire (at least not yet)
While Chicago Fire has taught us that cast exits are to be expected when a show runs as long as it has -- a development that the show's current showrunner recently addressed -- there does not appear to be reason for concern that Cruz will be leaving the show in the second episode of the season as the promo hinted.
As fans will recall, in the promo for the episode we see a series of clips that hint at friction growing between Cruz and Severide caused by Severide's return. It seems Cruz is still adjusting to settling back into his place on the team after serving as Squad's active lieutenant for the months Severide was away.
With Severide back, it's understandable that there would be some tension as he retakes his place as the head of Squad. However, the gravity of the situation hit fans when the promo ended with Cruz telling Boden that it was time for him to leave 51. The moment hinted that Cruz might be the latest in a string of characters to leave the show but that is not the case.
Chicago Fire season 12 episode 3 photos prove Cruz is not going anywhere
While we'll have to wait to see how the storyline plays out between Cruz and Severide, we do know that Cruz is not leaving in the episode. How do we know this? Well, Cruz is featured in a pair of photos from the third episode of the season which will be coming our way on Jan. 31.
In the first photo, Cruz and Boden are seen having a conversation in the hall outside the common room at 51. It's unclear what the pair might be talking about, but we see a small smile on Boden and Cruz's faces which seems to hint the conversation isn't a tense one filled with any friction.
In the second photo, Cruz is seen sitting in the common room alongside several members of 51 including fellow Squad members Tony and Capp. We can only what or who might have caught the attention of everyone in the room, but the faces in the crowd seem to suggest whatever it is will be met with mixed reactions.
The synopsis for the episode doesn't offer up any additional teases, but Cruz's presence in the photos is enough to ease our minds as they mean the promo was a misdirect and we won't have to say goodbye to Cruz just yet.
Don't miss new episodes of Chicago Fire on Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC and streaming on Peacock.