'Chicago Fire' Boss on Casey & Brett's 'Complicated' Relationship, Kidd's Confidence & More (VIDEO)

Alberto Rosende Jesse Spencer Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 3
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Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

The sparks finally ignited between firefighter Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) and paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) in the first two episodes of Chicago Fire Season 9 — only for her to completely douse them after their first kiss by bringing up his ex-wife (and her best friend) Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund).

In happier news, firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) successfully started (and kept going) her Girls on Fire and made quite the impression in the CFD, to the point that Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) told her to take the lieutenant's test.

Here, showrunner Derek Haas previews what's coming up in those storylines and others when the series returns with its third episode of the season to kick off 2021. Plus, scroll down for an exclusive sneak peek!

Casey and Brett continue to be the definition of "it's complicated." How much of the problem lies with Gabby, and how much of it lies with Brett's anxieties about crossing the friendship threshold? 

Derek Haas: The former is more the problem here. "It's complicated" is an excellent description. These two have been witness to each other's relationships with Gabby for six seasons and, in the not-so-distant past, Gabby came back and Casey went to a ball with her and then ended up spending the night. All of these things are pretty fresh in Brett's mind.

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To get you through the break in the action, watch these promos for all three shows.

And so that conversation they had at the end of [Episode] 2, to me, felt like the kind of conversation you would have in that situation. I think it's important on our show that we don't just sweep the past under the rug. These two need to talk, and they work together, so they're not going to be able to avoid it. That is what you'll see coming up in [Episode] 3.

Kidd has really stepped into leadership roles. Why is she more ready to do so now than in the past?

She has another year of experience under her belt. The confidence born out of the experience of starting Girls on Fire really helped her know she's a leader and can make real change within the CFD, as opposed to when she was a little bit burning the candle at both ends last season. In the spring she had a full story where she showed her own capabilities and in the face of doubters and people telling her no and all sorts of different conditions, she had to get [the program] up and running and she did. It's been such a positive impact that it was the right time for Boden to say, "I think you should take the lieutenant's test this year."

Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 3 Brett Mackey

Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Mackey's fitting in at 51, though she did wonder if she belongs there. Is there anything you're aiming to do with her that's unique from previous paramedics?

The biggest difference between her and past paramedics is that she and Brett are not exactly peers. We've usually done where it's Gabby and Brett or Brett and Foster, and they're sort of at the same point in their careers and end up being friends. But this is more of a mentor/mentee relationship between Brett and Mackey.

And then Mackey also has ties to Cruz's old neighborhood — that's where she grew up — and we're going to learn a lot more about her and her past as the season progresses.

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Ritter had a great rescue in the last episode. What standout calls can you preview coming up?

Yeah, that was a good one. There are some big ones coming. Just in [Wednesday's] episode is a big incident where Squad is running inside of a burning building while Truck is on the outside trying to help people get off the roof, and things don't go well for our guys. That's probably the biggest one that's coming.

Watch an exclusive sneak peek to see just how not "well" it goes below.

Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC