‘Chicago Fire’ Bosses on Brettsey’s Fate, ‘Hotter’ Stellaride & More

Hanako Greensmith as Violet, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett in Chicago Fire
Spoiler Alert
Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Chicago Fire Season 11 premiere “Hold on Tight.”]

Chicago Fire delivers a season premiere of ups and downs for its relationships.

First of all, Brett (Kara Killmer), after running into her ex-fiancé Kyle (Teddy Sears) and hearing him talk about reconnecting with his high school best friend, makes a decision about her long-distance relationship with Casey (Jesse Spencer). “Our stars just didn’t align,” she tells him over the phone. “The timing just wasn’t right. But Matt, maybe someday…” Meanwhile, Gallo (Alberto Rosende) finds out how far Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas) went for Violet (Hanako Greensmith) to ensure her spot at 51 last season and fills her in — and with Hawkins transferring, he and Violet can now go public with their relationship.

Executive producers Derek Haas and Andrea Newman explain Brett’s decision, tease trouble ahead for Stellaride, and more.

Why break up Brett and Casey?

Andrea Newman: It was really a character decision in a lot of ways, even though Jesse had made his choice to move on, and it was becoming very difficult to do the long-distance thing. But we thought that character-wise, it was becoming very difficult to do the long-distance thing for both of them, and those are hard relationships to sustain, so we thought it was time for Brett, who’s really grown as a character over these last bunch of seasons and become stronger, to not change her life for a man, make a decision that was best for her. She’s had two boyfriends in the past that she’s moved for and changed for, and this time she’s saying “I gotta put my career and my life first,” so it was a character decision for Brett that we thought fit where she was at.

What are we going to see from Brett going forward as a result? Is another relationship even in the cards for her this season?

Newman: The Brett-Casey relationship was pretty profound. They were deeply in love, so it’s going to take her a while to be able to move on into relationships from that. Her focus is really going to be her career and the friendships and family at 51.

Miranda Rae Mayo as Stella Kidd in Chicago Fire

Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

Truck 81 has a new member, and Kidd’s (Miranda Rae Mayo) not exactly thrilled, but Carver (Jake Lockett) did follow her orders. How is that going to go? Especially considering Boden (Eamonn Walker) likes the guy and he only agreed to take a small step back…

Derek Haas: It’s going to take a while for that mutual trust that’s so necessary on a truck to develop because Kidd knows him from before and he hasn’t changed much since she knew him at the academy. He’s pretty much the same cocky firefighter, very good at his job, but also with attitude that doesn’t gel with what she thinks should be the right fit for 81. We love the actor, and it’s going to be fun.

Newman: Yeah, and he’s a real mystery to our guys. Most of our new characters, when we start them, they’re pretty open and we get to know them quickly. Carver is more of a mysterious character that we’ll be peeling back layers on as we go forward.

Is Pryma (Troy Winbush) going to be a concern for Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Kidd going forward?

Haas: Oh yeah. We haven’t seen the end of Pryma, and that whole storyline has ramifications that continue through Season 11.

Considering some of the other relationships on the show — Brett and Casey’s breakup, Violet and Hawkins’ complications — how is Severide and Kidd’s now that they’re married? Stable, like the other marriages involving members of 51?

Newman: They’ve gotten hotter this season. We really turned up the heat on them. There’s some issues that Severide in particular is going to be struggling with. He’s been such a lone wolf for a lot of his life and now he’s married and he makes decisions not just for himself but for Kidd as well when he makes them. He’s struggling with that a bit. But in terms of their bond, it’s like the chains are off and they’re unbound and it’s just gotten hotter between them. It’s really fun to write.

Haas: On a funny note, Severide answers a question from Kidd in a way that makes Herrmann [David Eigenberg] say, “you haven’t really figured out this marriage thing yet, have you?”

Hanako Greensmith as Violet, Jimmy Nicholas as Chief Hawkins in Chicago Fire

Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

Moving on to Violet and Hawkins, I can’t help but feel like that was a bit too easy for them to be back together and happy and Hawkins looked like a mess most of this episode. And there’s the Gallo of it. What complications will they be facing going forward, even if they can now go public with their relationship?

Newman: I liked that messy hair on Hawkins, I gotta say. It was funny when he showed up on set and his hair was all messed up. To me, he kind of looked hotter. [Laughs] Anyway, it’s a fun feeling for them that they can be public now. As much as it’s great in a lot of ways, it also changes the dynamic of their relationship a little, too, but they’re going to have some fun adventures. Out of town adventures, trip together, fun stuff. And Gallo is very much part of it in that he’s obviously still in love with Violet, holding a candle for her, but at the same time, he’s the one that facilitated them getting back together, so he knows he’s gotta let that attachment to Violet go in the sense of the romantic part. But they’re going to have a lot of fun still as the three amigos, stuff we always like to play with her, Ritter [Daniel Kyri], and Gallo together as friends. It’s really fun to write. Gallo, definitely, his feelings are the same but he’s going to do his damnedest to bury them by having a lot of fun with other —

Haas: Chicagoans.

Newman: — dalliances. [Laughs] Yeah, Chicagoans.

What’s the biggest challenge 51 will be facing this season?

Haas: When we look at a season, we usually try to think in term of theme over the course of either a half-season or a full season, and we thought one of the themes we could really focus on in talking to our technical advisors, Chief Chikerotis and Michele Martinez, our paramedic, was the idea that you don’t actually save everyone. I know we do it on the show a lot. We pull up to an accident and we pull someone out of harm’s way and they’re fine, going off to the hospital. But that’s not always the case, and what do you do when you’re faced with the fact that you didn’t pull off the heroic save and how heartbreaking that can be for firefighters? What do you do in that situation when you have to rely on the people on your right and your left? That’s a big running theme. I don’t know that that’s the biggest thing that they’ll face but it’s certainly what’s behind the storylines.

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Decompressing at Molly’s can only help so much.

Newman: Exactly. There are things that haunt you that don’t just go away.

Which member of 51 will be dealing with the most on and off the job?

Haas: Cruz [Joe Minoso] with the Javi situation is a big part of the first part of the season.

Newman: Violet probably has some of the biggest challenges going forward. She’s definitely struggling with some issues in and out of the house in the early part of the season.

What are the chances of a three-show crossover this season?

Haas: If Dick Wolf has his way, the chances are 100 percent, but we haven’t actually [solved] the medical restrictions that we need to to have that many cast members interacting with other shows’ cast members.

Newman: We have a lot of smaller crossovers. In the premiere, we had P.D. and some Med and they got some of our guys in their premiere, too. We like doing those show-to-show ones but the big ones are hard with the COVID restrictions.

Are there any major or surprising returning characters coming up?

Haas: You’re going to get to see some faces that you haven’t seen in a while, which is Boden’s son, Terrence, it’s been a couple years at least since we had a Terrence appearance. So he’s back and we’ll see our usuals: Cindy [Robyn Coffin] and Donna [Melissa Ponzio].

Newman: Trudy [Amy Morton].

Haas: Yeah, all the 51 spouses at some point.

Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC