T-minus nine days until we return to the Windy City.
After months of waiting, the ninth season (!) of Chicago Fire premieres on Nov. 11, and we could not be more excited.
The air is rife with possibility, so let’s dive in.
Titled “Rattle Second City,” Chicago Fire Season 9 Episode 1 finds Firehouse 51 welcoming a new member to the team.
This new team member isn’t unexpected, seeing as Chicago Fire Season 8 Episode 20 saw Annie Ilonzeh’s Emily Foster exiting the series, as her alter ego returned to medical school.
Vagrant Queen star Adriyan Rae has been tapped to play Foster’s replacement.
Rae will star as paramedic Gianna Mackey, who’s described as a “loveable troublemaker with a twinkle in her eye,” while also being “charming, scrappy, fun, witty, and good-natured.”
Anyone else getting Dawson-esque vibes from the casting description?
Mackey’s arrival at 51 is poised to cause some complications, which we all know is code for romantic interlude.
After all, there have been very few characters over the show’s eight seasons who haven’t mixed business with pleasure, and it seems like Gianna and one of 51’s finest could be headed down that path.
Most of the firefighters are involved in one way or another, leaving only a few characters as contenders.
My best guess is Mackey is about to be knocking boots with Gallo.
Derek Haas told TV Insider in mid-October that Gallo’s efforts to win EMT Violet Lin had fizzled, which is unsurprising seeing as ended with the pair breaking up after an impromptu proposal from Gallo.
Pretty hard to come back from that.
So, it looks like Gallo is officially on the market.
The writing on the wall could not be clearer unless Chicago Fire plans on making my dreams come true by making a Gallo/Ritter romance canon.
Haas did say Ritter may be taking a break from his boyfriend, and if said break happens to lead him into the arms of Gallo, then who are we to complain.
Whatever happens, there will be more Ritter on the horizon, as Daniel Kyri has been promoted to a series regular.
Frequent TV Fanatic readers know I love any and all things Ritter.
So devoting more screen time to his highly underrated firefighter is fine by me.
Elsewhere in the premiere, “Boden sees great potential in Kidd and proposes an idea that could have lasting repercussions.”
While longtime viewers could probably read between the lines and parse together what the future may hold for Kidd, we, fortunately, don’t have to.
Haas told TV Insider Boden asks Kidd to take the lieutenant’s exam, which could cause tension between her and Severide, along with other seasoned members of 51.
First off, Kidd absolutely deserves to be promoted to lieutenant.
Her leadership and initiative last season proved she’s more than capable of rising to the challenge, and it’s about time the series prominently featured a female firefighter in a position of power.
While only a small percentage of firefighters are women in the real world – as of 2018, the National Fire Protection Association estimated 8% of all firefighters were female – Chicago Fire, as a television show, has the opportunity to showcase greater equity.
Kidd’s potential promotion can also serve as a way for the show to acknowledge that female firefighters aren’t less than their male counterparts.
The show’s misogynistic approach to female firefighters being less than has become tiresome.
The topic first had merit when Dawson became a firefighter during Chicago Fire Season 2 but became increasingly problematic as the seasons progressed.
What first started out as a conversation about a woman’s ability in a male-dominated field quickly became a sexist cliché.
Even when the series tried to tackle gender dynamics last season, most of the attempts felt false.
Any sort of push for greater equality within the firehouse from the female first responders was met with either naïve condemnation or throwaway comments about the inherent unfairness of accommodating a basic request from Kidd, Brett, and Foster.
It just came off as anti-feminist and made the showrunners’ views about women apparent.
This season, though, the writers do have a chance to make things right, and they can do that by focusing on seniority rather than gender.
It’d be great to see other members of 51 questioning Kidd’s promotion, not because she’s a woman, but because she has fewer years of service than some of the others like Mouch and Cruz.
That sort of shakeup within the firehouse would be interesting to watch and hasn’t been discussed much.
Sure, the issue came up a little when Casey was promoted to captain, but eventually everyone got on board because Casey, is well, Casey.
Kidd’s eventual promotion is a way to address this and this time get it right.
This avenue is also a way to cause drama for Stellaride in a way that doesn’t feel as forced as creating a pointless non-love triangle, which we all knew would never go anywhere.
I mean how does the pair handle this change?
Severide has come a long way over eight seasons, and while we want to imagine he’ll be supportive of Kidd, past actions dictate he’ll be struggling with this turn of events.
He didn’t handle Casey’s promotion well, and the same is likely for Kidd.
For as long as the couple has been together, Severide has always been in this position of power, from a professional standpoint.
So how will things change when they’re the same rank? How will this affect them, both personally and professionally?
It’s something I’m excited – and nervous – to see play out.
Lastly, we have to talk about Brettsey/Bracey/Casett. Seriously, does anyone know their official ‘ship name?
The synopsis makes no mention of what’s on the horizon for the two-season romance in the making, but Haas said the first two episodes will reveal what’s in store for the possible couple.
We all know a romance is on the horizon; it’s just now a question of when rather than if.
Signs seem to point toward the pair finally taking the plunge, but there’s also the possibility the writers will drag this out for another season.
On ‘shippers side is Brett’s recent loss of her birth mother.
If losing Julie taught Brett anything, it’s that life is fleeting, and you never know how much time you have left.
So, you might as well get up the nerve to tell that
boy captain you like him.
Sure, it’s complicated because he used to be married to your best friend, but hey, so is every other relationship on this series.
After all, there’s no time like the present, so carpe the diem.
So what do you think, TV Fanatics?
What are your thoughts on new paramedic Gianna Mackey?
Can the rest of 51 handle Kidd being promoted?
Is this the season for Casey and Brett?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.