‘Chicago Fire’s New Paramedic Teases a Dangerous Call for Ambo 61

Adriyan Rae Chicago Fire Season 9 Premiere Gianna Mackey
Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Firehouse 51 has seen a lot of turnover among its paramedics (we remember you well, Leslie Shay, Peter Mills, Jessica Chilton, Gabriela Dawson, and Emily Foster). Wednesday on Chicago Fire‘s Season 9 debut — bookended by premieres of Chicago Med at 8/7c and Chicago P.D. at 10/9c — Gianna “Mack” Mackey (Vagrant Queen‘s Adriyan Rae, above) joins Ambo 61, partnering with Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer).

“Gianna is a mixture of book and street smarts,” Rae says. “She’s quirky, fun-loving, extremely hard-working, and very family-oriented.” Viewers will also learn she suffered some deep trauma in her past that led to her becoming a first responder.

Mackey has been recruited from another house by firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso): They grew up in the same rough neighborhood, and he and her older brother were best friends. “It’s very important to her that she prove herself to Joe and make him proud,” says Rae, who holds degrees in physician assistant studies and medical laboratory science from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and jokes that medical jargon is her “second language.”

Mackey’s skills are also impressive: “Her knack for being able to offer practical solutions and her ability to compartmentalize and get things done regardless of her surroundings help her excel in high-stress situations,” Rae says. Which will come in handy when Mackey and Brett face a dangerous call soon after meeting.

“Our worlds get turned upside-down,” the actress adds. “How we pull together barely knowing each other is absolutely beautiful.”

Chicago Fire, Season 9 Premiere, Wednesday, November 11, 9/8c, NBC