Chicago Fire Boss Previews Brett's New Partner, Casey's 'Personal Struggles,' 'Big Season' for Stella and More

Chicago Fire is shaking up the firehouse in Season 9 with a different paramedic team, a potential new romance… and maybe even an engagement?!

When the NBC drama returns this Wednesday (at 9/8c), there will be a fresh face riding alongside Brett in the ambulance, while Stella will be taking a “new step” in her career path, showrunner Derek Haas previews in the following Q&A.

And what’s in store for Captain Casey and the rest of Firehouse 51’s finest, as well as the #OneChicago franchise’s annual crossover event? TVLine emailed Haas those burning questions and more:

TVLINE | As a first-responder show, how will the pandemic be incorporated into the storylines for the new season? Are any characters personally affected by it?
We’re going to do our best to show how firehouses in Chicago are dealing with the virus in November 2020. No one is personally affected by it other than how everyone else in the world is affected by it.

TVLINE | How are you approaching crossovers next season in light of COVID protocols? Will there still be a big annual crossover or smaller ones?
No plans for a crossover yet. You will see characters from all three shows in our first episode.

TVLINE | You and I have talked in the past about how last season was about Casey kind of becoming the new Boden. What is his journey in Season 9?
He’s going to have some real personal struggles associated with feelings that brew inside the firehouse.

TVLINE | Brett has lost two friends/paramedic partners in Dawson and now Foster. How is she dealing with this latest departure?
She’s cool. Still talking with Foster on the regular and wishing her success through med school.

TVLINE | You have a new paramedic coming in, played by Adriyan Rae. What is the working dynamic like between Gianna and Brett? And what kind of energy does Gianna bring into the firehouse?
This is more of a mentor/mentee relationship than a “we’re best friends” relationship. Brett finds herself in the senior position, professionally and personally.

TVLINE | The past two seasons have teased a possible romantic connection between Brett and Casey, and we’ve seen their relationship really grow as friends. How will that storyline evolve in Season 9?
Really? You noticed that? You’ll have to wait and see…

TVLINE | Last season was a big growing year for Stella in terms of her career. What’s next for her in that respect?
This is going to be a big season for her as she looks to take a new step in her evolution at the firehouse.

TVLINE | I’ve talked to both Miranda Rae Mayo and Taylor Kinney about whether Stella and Severide are the kind of couple who want or need to be engaged. What can you share about their future as a couple?
I think they should take that next step at some point. Don’t you?

TVLINE | Gallo and Ritter are now both series regulars. What are you looking forward to exploring with them, personally and professionally?
They are so fun to write to. It’s like the newer generation at the Firehouse, now with [paramedic Gianna] Mack joining them. We’re gonna get to see some big storylines for all of them.

TVLINE | Finally, you have such a big cast, so are there any storylines you’d like to tease for the rest of team like Boden, Mouch, Herrmann, etc.?
Herrmann and Mouch are excited to announce the grand opening of Molly’s Patio. Of course, they do it in their unique (ill-advised) way.

Chicago Fire fans, what are you most excited to see in Season 9? Hit the comments!

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