Fret not Chicago Fire fans, Taylor Kinney will be coming back to Firehouse 51 in the upcoming season, Us Weekly can confirm.
Kinney, 42, will return for the start of season 12 of the NBC series. However, his future as a series regular — and how often he’ll be featured this season — has yet to be determined, according to TVLine, who was first to report the news.
Taylor Kinney.Art Streiber/NBC
The actor started playing Lieutenant Kelly Severide when Chicago Fire premiered in 2012. After 11 seasons, Kinney stepped back from the role for a temporary “leave of absence” in January.
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The show was still filming season 11 when news broke of Kinney’s sudden departure. A source close to production told Us at the time that he was leaving to deal with a personal matter. The cast and crew reportedly learned of Kinney’s temporary exit the day the news made headlines, according to Deadline.
Kinney appeared in his last episode of season 11 in February. His character’s absence was later explained in a March episode, with viewers learning that Severide went to Alabama to help participate in an arson investigation training program.
Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC
During the season finale, which aired in May, Severide’s wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), revealed she was going to go get her husband and bring him back to Chicago. In addition to brief verbal updates on Severide, NBC had former Chicago Fire star Jesse Spencer return for two episodes following his own exit in 2021.
Spencer, 44, reprised his role as Captain Matt Casey, making fans happy as they awaited the return of Kinney’s Severide. Spencer played Casey on the NBC drama from 2012 to 2021 before leaving after the show’s 200th episode in October of that year.
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The Australian actor later returned to make a cameo on the season 10 finale, which aired in May 2022. In the episode, Casey served as Severide’s best man as he married Kidd. Throughout season 11, Casey’s relationship with paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) was left up in the air. However, his return for the season 11 finale — in the wake of Kinney’s absence — caused quite the stir.
During the finale, Casey proposed to Brett which caught viewers and the character by surprise. Brett didn’t give her answer before the credits rolled. While Chicago Fire was set to return for season 12 in fall 2023, the date was pushed back due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
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The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike came to an end in September after five months of picking. The union agreed to a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), but the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is still on the picket lines.