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Who Is Benny Severide? What To Know About Kelly Severide's Dad on Chicago Fire

The firefighter played by Treat Williams had a complicated relationship with Firehouse 51 and with his son. 

By Megan Lasher

Benny Severide (Treat Williams) was a complicated figure in Chicago Fire. He was Kelly Severide's (Taylor Kinney) father, and made some questionable decisions that rocked his son's childhood. He also spent time in the Chicago Fire Department alongside Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) — and his past career came back to light throughout his time on the series. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 13 premiere of Chicago Fire Wednesday, September 25 at 9/8c on NBC

Revisit Benny Severide's entire history on Chicago Fire, including his tragic death that left a surprisingly positive mark. 

What was Benny Severide's relationship with Kelly Severide?

Benny Severide was a Firehouse 51 firefighter and notorious womanizer  who didn't do much parenting of his son, Kelly, as a younger man. When Chicago Fire began, the two were essentially estranged and Benny was working as an arson investigator, as seen at the end of Season 1.

RELATED: What Happened to Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire?

However, Benny became a better father to Kelly in the son's adulthood, often stepping up to help him with job-related issues.

Kelly asked for Benny's help a myriad of times, beginning in Season 2, Episode 3 ("Defcon 1"), when he leaned on Benny to help him convince Chief Boden that his arson suspect was at fault for some of the recent fires. Season 2 was also when Kelly learned that Benny had an adult daughter — and he had a half sister he'd never known about.

RELATED: Taylor Kinney Opens Up About the Passing of "Father Figure" Treat Williams

In Season 3, Episode 18 ("Forgiving, Relentless, Unconditional"), it was revealed that the younger Severide had spent some of his teen years living with Chicago Med's April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta) because he didn't want to be in his own home after his father had cheated on his mother with a teacher from his school.

"The summer I stayed at your house was probably the biggest turning point in my life," Kelly told April. "Things could have gone a whole lot differently for me if your parents hadn't taken me in." 

Benny Severide's Daughter and Kelly Severide's Half-Sister, Katie Nolan 

Actors Taylor Kinney and Treat Williams together in a scene from Chicago Fire.

In Season 2, Episode 5 ("A Power Move"), Benny met with his daughter, Katie Nolan (Brittany Curran), with whom Benny also had a strained relationship. Kelly saw the two hugging and assumed that Katie was Benny's mistress until his father came clean. 

Kelly and Katie became closer at their father's request, and she even began dating fellow Firehouse 51 fighter Brian "Otis" Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov), meaning she got even more face time with her long lost half brother. 

Benny Severide's Firefighting Career

Bennie Severide (Treat Williams) appears in a scene from Chicago Fire.

As a younger man, Benny had worked alongside Boden and Henry Mills — the father of Firehouse 51 firefighter Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett) — who had died in the line of duty when Peter was a child. Benny's past experience with the CFD made him an even better investigator as he worked with Kelly on various arson cases. 

RELATED: Watch Some of the Biggest Tear Jerker Moments on Chicago Fire

In Season 1, Episode 18 ("Fireworks"), however, Peter confronted Benny about Henry's death, demanding to know more details from someone who had been there. Peter mentioned that Benny had been the only person to not sign off on Henry's nomination for a prestigious award, and he asked why that was. 

"Some other time kid, OK?" Benny said. Peter continued to pressure him, and Benny cracked. "In the middle of that fire, your father panicked and pulled off his mask. Which would have been his business, except another guy died trying to save him," he explained. Peter then attacked the older man and the rest of the squad broke up their fist fight.

However, Benny did not tell Peter the ultimate secret of Henry's death: Henry had been trying to get back at their mutual friend, Boden, for sleeping with Henry's wife (Peter's mother). 

How did Benny Severide die?

Benny's death happened in the midst of a major crisis for Firehouse 51: Commissioner Carl Grissolm (Gary Cole) was undermining Boden and forcing him into appointing an underqualified chief. Despite their strained relationship, Kelly reached out to his father for help in advocating for Boden in Season 7, Episode 5 ("A Volatile Mixture"). "I don't ask you for much, OK Dad?" Kelly said. "I'm asking you to help Boden... He's the only one who always had my back."

RELATED: The Biggest Villains from All 11 Chicago Fire Seasons

The conversation ended with both men saying goodbye to each other, unaware that it would be the last time they spoke. In Season 7, Episode 6 ("All the Proof"), it was revealed that Benny had suffered a stroke and died. At the end of the episode, Boden told Kelly that Benny had done what he'd asked him to do before passing away. 

"Your father stepped in, Kelly," Boden told him. "He stepped up with Grissom. I've just spoken with the Commissioner. He met with them personally.... Every bit of good will, every piece of political capital, every favor he was ever owed, he put it on the line to appeal to the Commissioner to back off of 51, and it worked."

RELATED: The Most Devastating Deaths on Chicago Fire Across All 11 Seasons

The Chicago Fire Department held a heart-wrenching funeral for their fallen leader and Kelly was able to remember his father fondly after that final favor came to fruition.