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Chicago Fire returns with season 12: from Kelly Severide's comeback to Gallo's exit storyline

The season 11 finale ended on two huge cliffhangers  

Taylor Kinney, Miranda Rae Mayo and Alberto Rosende in split image
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Chicago Fire makes its long-awaited return to NBC on Wednesday night with its new season premiere – and after the season 11 finale left us with two huge cliffhangers, it's safe to say we've got some questions that need answering in the opening episode. 

A lot has happened since we last paid a visit to Firehouse 51. Both Kara Killmer, who plays Sylvie Brett, and Alberto Rosende – aka Blake Gallo – have announced their departures, while Taylor Kinney's return to the show following a leave of absence has been confirmed. 

So, what does all of this mean for season 12? Keep reading for everything we know, including details about Severide's return and Gallo's exit storyline…

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What happened at the end of season 11?

The season 11 finale was nothing short of dramatic and left viewers with two huge cliffhangers regarding the futures of both Randall 'Mouch' McHolland and Sylvie Brett.

As we go into the new season, fans will be keen to find out whether Mouch survived after being hospitalized for a gunshot wound. In the last episode, Mouch took a turn for the worse whilst recovering from his shrapnel injury, leaving actor Christian Stolte's future on the show uncertain. 

Christian Stolte as Mouch in Chicago Fire © NBC
Mouch's fate was left uncertain in the season 11 finale

While viewers will have to tune into the season 12 premiere to find out Mouch's fate, showrunner Andrea Newman did tease that "the theme of this season is change" when asked about the storyline in an interview with TV Line. She also added that we'll learn what happened to Mouch in the first episode, which opens with a six-month time jump. 

Elsewhere in the season 11 finale, Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) got down on one knee and popped the question to his ex-girlfriend Brett during a brief trip into town from Portland. 

Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey, Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett in  Chicago Fire© NBC
Casey proposed to Brett at the end of season 11

Now that Kara Kilmer is leaving the show, what can fans expect from Brett and Casey? While we can't reveal whether she said yes or no to the proposal, Andrea did tell Variety that Brett's future plans will be revealed "pretty quickly". "So we'll find out a lot quickly and then things will change; there will be a rollercoaster," she said. 

All we know about Kelly Severide's return

Fans will no doubt be overjoyed to see Severide back where he belongs in Firehouse 51 in season 12. The fan-favorite fighter has been missing from our screens since episode 14 of season 11, when Severide left the Windy City for a prestigious OFI training camp in Alabama. 

His off-screen counterpart, Taylor Kinney, was written out of episodes after taking a leave of absence from the show. 

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire © NBC
Taylor Kinney returns as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire season 12

Now that he's back, what's in store for Severide?

Showrunner Andrea teased a "new dynamic" between him and his wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), who he left back at Firehouse 51 when he enrolled in the training camp. 

"The heat and the sexual tension are as high as ever," she told Variety. "They can't keep their hands off each other, as usual, and yet, there's this new dynamic that is present between them, something we haven't seen before.

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Miranda Rae Mayo as Stella Kidd in season 10 of Chicago Fire© NBC
Severide and Kidd are reunited in season 12

The showrunner went on to tease "an edge in the air between them", with Severide's OFI case bringing up "a lot of tension".

Alberto Rosende's departure and Gallo's exit storyline

Not only is Kara leaving the show, but Alberto is also waving goodbye to Firehouse 51 in the new season. 

After four seasons, Alberto will take his final turn as Gallo in the series 12 premiere. 

Christian Stolte as Randy 'Mouch' McHolland, Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo in Chicago Fire© NBC
Gallo makes a 'tough call' in episode one

Chatting with HELLO!, showrunner Andrea spoke about the character's departure: "Gallo has been a big part of the show for a long time and had a Super Bowl season last season with a great journey, and so the reason he leaves makes sense and the timing kind of made sense. 

"But I will say that it's hard to say goodbye to Gallo and it's particularly hard for Violet (Hanako Greensmith) and Ritter (Daniel Kyri) as well, as they were quite the trio, - and in real life too - so there were a lot of tears on the set that day in real life." 

She also added that "the door is always open" for Gallo at Firehouse 51. "There's a line from Boden in the premiere, which is along the lines of, 'Once you've been a part of 51 you're always a part of 51,' so the door is always open to see Gallo again and, and he's certainly a huge part of the family," she said.