‘Chicago Fire’ Boss on Casey & Brett: New People Will ‘Complicate Things Even Further’

Chicago Fire Season 9 Casey Brett Jesse Spencer Kara Killmer
Spoiler Alert
Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 9, Episode 3 of Chicago Fire, “Smash Therapy.”]

Paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) takes her frustrations over her relationship (or lack thereof) with firefighter Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) on a drone in the 2021 return of Chicago Fire.

As you’ll recall, the second episode saw the two finally kiss … only for her to bring up his ex-wife and her best friend, Gabby Dawson. His feelings for her are real, Casey insists to Brett in “Smash Therapy,” regardless of Gabby. “There is no regardless of Gabby,” she argues and decides what happened between them can never happen again. He agrees to give her the space she needs, pulling back because it’s what best for her.

And hearing that he’s doing that prompts firefighter Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) to do the same with girlfriend Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo). With Battalion Chief Wallace Boden’s (Eamonn Walker) urging, she’s preparing for the lieutenant’s test, and for some (including the “creaky” chief in charge), she’s climbing the ladder because of her relationship with Severide, not her skill or experience. In Severide’s mind, he’s doing her more harm than good.

Here, showrunner Derek Haas breaks down the 2021 return and previews what’s next for 51.

Brett’s determined to move on, and Casey’s letting it go for her sake. So what does this mean for their relationship moving forward?

Derek Haas: Casey’s going to battle it a little bit more than Brett. He’s been put in a position where, as a friend and a colleague and a gentleman, he’s been told, “You need to step aside right now,” and it’s not in his personality to push through when somebody’s telling him not to do it, so it’s almost a sacrifice of his own feelings to step aside for a minute. Of course, we’re Chicago Fire, so there’s about to be new people introduced into the story that are going to complicate things even further.

Can you expand on anything about those new people?

They’re coming in Episode 4. [Laughs] That’s as far as I’ll tell you.

Mackey Brett Casey Gallo Chicago Fire Season 9

(Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)

Is Brett perhaps right that Casey isn’t entirely sure about his feelings for Gabby when she said deep down he’s still in love with her?

I think she is right. It’s the kind of thing you can try to brush aside but we the audience watched it — for six years and then again in December 2019 — and so I think she’s well within her bounds to call him out on that and maybe he isn’t being completely honest with himself.

Who would Casey choose right now if Gabby came back for good?

Oh, wow. That gets to the heart of what Brett was asking. The fact that Casey hesitated is meaningful, but let’s just see if that happens. [Laughs]

How is getting ready for the lieutenant’s exam going to go for Kidd in the next few episodes? Severide’s taking that step back from helping her prep.

Yeah, Severide is taking a step back and isn’t communicating to her why he’s doing that, so that’s going to affect things. Severide’s not always the greatest of communicators, especially in relationships, but then when you complicate it with the rumor mill going on about his girlfriend and why she would merit making lieutenant at such a young age, he thinks it’s in her best interest to take that step back and so Kidd is going to start questioning everything.

They’ve been pretty stable recently, so how did you want to test their relationship this season with this? It’s nothing either of them have done, it’s who they are in the CFD.

Yes, except that Kidd’s seen Severide pull back from her in the past and it didn’t go well then either, so her tolerance level of what she perceives is happening is low. This is going to be pretty impactful to their relationship.

What challenges are coming up for Kidd with that chief?

I liked Severide’s quote to him when he’s like, “You sound a little creaky, Chief, maybe you should retire.” He’s not good for her. He’s definitely a stumbling block that Kidd’s going to have to overcome.

Taylor Kinney Miranda Rae Mayo Chicago Fire Season 8 Stellaride

(Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)

As Severide was reminded again, OFI is in his blood. Is that going up to come up again in a significant way?

Head writers Andrea Newman and Michael Gilvary and I just love Tim Hopper who plays Van Meter, the OFI chief. He’s a really great actor, a Chicago acting legend, so any time we can get a chance to fit OFI in, we like to take that opportunity and maybe it gives us a chance to see Andy Allo [who plays Lieutenant Wendy Seager] again this year, too. We don’t have any immediate plans for Severide and OFI, but it’s always nice to know he’s wanted in another department. He is damn good at it.

What’s coming up romance-wise for the rest of 51? Mackey’s (Adriyan Rae) making it clear she’s interested in Gallo (Alberto Rosende), who is ready to run into a burning building instead of getting on Cruz’s (Joe Minoso) bad side.

[Laughs] That’s a good description. We always described Mackey, even when we were writing her character before we had cast her, as a little bit mischievous but with a twinkle in her eye. She doesn’t mind making people uncomfortable. She likes it, but not in a mean way, like Hope (Eloise Mumford) when she came and blew up Firehouse 51. She’s more the fun friendly way. She has her eye on Gallo and that could be heading towards a relationship fraught with drama.

Boden, Herrmann (David Eigenberg), Mouch (Christian Stolte), and Cruz’s relationships all seem very stable. Will that continue to be true?

Yeah, Cruz is about to have some huge news in his life and we have a giant episode coming, 5, with Herrmann and Cruz and the whole episode is almost written like it’s a play. You’re going to find some more about Herrmann’s past. You’re going to find out some things that are going on in Cruz’s life. But relationship-wise, yeah, they’re all good.

Are we going to see any members of 51 in any dangerous situations coming up? Should we be worried about losing someone this season?

Well, we are Chicago Fire, so it could happen at any point. That’s one thing that keeps our audience on its toes is we’ve had characters leave beginning of season, middle of season, in the finale, so I don’t want to give anything away. There’s always going to be dangerous situations.

David Eigenberg Chicago Fire Season 9 Christopher Herrmann

(Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)

But I will say that we have in Episode 4 probably our biggest, most crazy prank war that’s ever happened on the show between us and another firehouse. You know firefighters love pranks, and we went a little nuts with this one. … The whole writing staff — we pictured it back in June and then we shot it two months ago, a month ago — has finally seen it cut together, and we’re all pretty happy with it.

Speaking of losing characters, I’m still not over Shay’s (Lauren German) death and I loved Severide getting the ambulance door.

Yes! That’s one thing we love on this show is we have eight years of history we can play off of and still use. I love bringing characters back. You know I love to bring back the foils, like Hope and Gorsch (Steven Boyer) — he gets a mention in Episode 3 — and those kind, but also the beloved characters that we haven’t forgotten, like Shay. The funny thing is, just as of January 2, you can watch every old episode on Peacock now, and so I randomly watched an episode — Season 4, Episode 9 — and it was like, “Oh, wow, Chili (Dora Madison), Jimmy (Steven R. McQueen), Patterson (Brian White), this chief who was mean, Riddle (Fredric Lehne),” I was like, “I forgot about them, gotta get some more of our past brought back.”

How about crossovers? I know the big, three-show one has to understandably wait due to the pandemic, but are there any smaller ones coming up?

We have Platt (P.D.‘s Amy Morton) coming in Episode 4, so we’re going to do that level. We might see a Med character. We have a plan to have April (Yaya DaCosta) come on in a few more episodes. It’ll probably be that. We can’t do the big one until everybody gets vaccinated and just trying to get the three productions crossing back and forth is just too much. The little ones, yes, I’m all for, and that’s what we’ll keep doing, because that’s the way our show’s always worked.

Speaking of going back, I had forgotten about April and Severide until I rewatched some episodes.

I’m glad you brought that up because that’s what we’re going to play towards. We’re going to get to hear a lot more about Severide and April from when they were in high school.

Yaya DaCosta Chicago Med Season 6 April Sexton

(Elizabeth Sisson/NBC)

Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC