Is Severide Leaving Chicago Fire Again?

Lieutenant Kelly Severide has been an integral member of Firehouse 51 on NBC’s Chicago Fire since the show’s premiere over a decade ago. Portrayed by Taylor Kinney, Severide leads the rescue squad and also serves as a central character in the weekly drama. So when he temporarily left the Windy City midway through Season 11, it confused and concerned fans. Now in Season 12, he seems poised to take off again – but is Severide truly leaving Chicago Fire again?

Recapping Severide’s First Disappearance

In the aptly named Season 11 episode “Run Like Hell”, Severide abruptly informs his wife Stella Kidd about an opportunity to attend an elite arson investigation training program. This inevitably means leaving Chicago on short notice.

While upsetting to Stella, next episode “Damage Control” covers Severide telling Chief Boden he simply couldn’t pass up this career-accelerating chance. No return timeframe is given as Severide departs to level up his skills.

For audiences, this exit explained Taylor Kinney’s simultaneous real-life temporary leave from production to handle undisclosed personal matters. He would remain offscreen for a significant stretch before returning later in Season 11.

In-universe, however, Severide’s decision devastated his loved ones who felt abandoned without warning.

Why Is Severide Considering Leaving Again?

Since coming back to Firehouse 51, residual resentment lingers from crew members like Lieutenant Joe Cruz who covered Severide’s leadership position. Home life also grew strained between Severide and Stella struggling to rebuild broken trust.

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Just when it seems the couple sorted things out, the opening of Season 12 sees an out-of-state arson case reappear to tempt Severide. When an opportunity resurfaces for him to work with the ATF, Severide seriously weighs taking it.

Stella worries this special OFI assignment marks the start of her husband spiraling back into his arson investigation obsession and jeopardizing their marriage as collateral damage.

The Turning Point Decision

A pivotal moment occurs during the episode “Trapped” when Stella lays down her hard ultimatum after learning Severide got offered a priority arson case in Tucson.

“You’re asking but it seems like you already decided,” she tells him about leaving, visibly distraught.

Severide insists it’s actually her call whether or not he goes. Stella takes time to thoughtfully process before shockingly giving her blessing, as long as he promises to return quickly.

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She cautions that abandoning her again means real trouble for their stability. Still, Stella shows maturity by compromising instead of delivering demands, trying to rebuild trust in Severide’s intentions.

What This Means for Their Future

By granting permission for her husband to relocate for this career opportunity temporarily, Stella demonstrates personal growth and commitment to Severide, likely strengthening their bond.

Allowing Severide this chance to pursue his aspirations displays empathy and understanding from Stella. It signals hope for their relationship withstanding periodic long-distance stints if that becomes his arson investigator path.

Not pressuring Severide to choose between her and his passion recognizes his autonomy and conveys her confidence in their foundation. Stella likely realizes severing that part of his identity would only backfire. This compromise meeting halfway bodes well for their big picture outlook if Severide reciprocates.

That said, the burden now falls on Severide to keep his word and not betray Stella’s trust yet again. Avoiding communication breakdowns and providing reassurance will be key.

If Severide wants to sustain both family and career, this requires accountability and transparency moving forward. Stella seems open to making it work – the wild card is whether Severide takes that lifeline seriously.

What Fans Can Expect Next

While Kelly Severide’s latest Chicago Fire exit brings up palpable worry he is abandoning everyone permanently, optimism exists for Taylor Kinney’s future on the show.

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In reality, Kinney is not confirmed to be leaving the franchise. Recent cast turnover makes it easy to suspect losing another OG face like Severide before his arc concludes. However, showrunners have hinted at centering his career conflict as an ongoing storyline.

Therefore fans should prepare for more back-and-forth trips out of town as Severide tackles arson jobs then returns home to Firehouse 51. This setup allows flexibility for Kinney while keeping viewers invested in Severide’s personal and professional balancing act.

The only guarantee is that more conversations with Stella likely loom about priorities and boundaries, thanks to her newly emboldened ability to vocalize needs in their marriage.

Ultimately Severide remains tied to 51 – but accelerated chances to rise within CFD leadership elsewhere ensure tension continues simmering. His wandering wings will keep things turbulent until he commits to planting firm roots again with the squad or a firehouse.

At least for now though, Chicago Fire remains Severide’s anchor among the wavering wind.

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