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Severide Is Leaving Stella Again on Chicago Fire, But Here's Why She's Not Mad
Severide was recruited for another arson case — but it will pull him away from 51. Yet again.
Viewers know tension has been high between Severide and his wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), ever since he left Chicago in Season 11 to complete an arson investigation program, ghosting everyone in the process. Since his return, Severide and Stella have been rebuilding the trust within their marriage. It's clear arson investigation means a lot to Severide, but Stella believes these cases consume him and make him neglect his loved ones.
So when an opportunity came up in Season 12, Episode 3 ("Trapped") for Severide to take on another out-of-state case, Stella had to really think about it. Here's what happened:
Severide was sent an arson case by OFI Captain Tom Van Meter
The episode started with the OFI sending Severide documents about an arson case in Tucson, Arizona. Not only that, the OFI's Captain, Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper), personally stopped by 51 to ask Severide to take it on. Severide was hesitant given the situation with Stella, but Van Meter said, "I don't make it a habit of pressuring firefighters into the job. In fact, I've never done it before. But you have the talent and the passion for this and a bright future once you retire from Squad [at 51] if you want it. Don't let all that go to waste for any reason."
Severide chewed on Van Meter's words and started digging into the case. Stella was quick to pick up on what Severide was working on, and she confronted him. Naturally, she wasn't very happy after learning he could potentially leave Chicago again. Severide pleaded with her, echoing many of Van Meter's words.
"But you still don't trust me, so how do we get through this deadlock?" Severide asked her.
"Not by bulldozing over me," Stella said.
"I'm not, I get it now," Severide explained. "Let me show you I can handle a case like this and then come back home to you."
"You're asking," Stella struggled. "But it seems like you have already made the decision."
"I haven't promised [Van Meter] anything," Severide reassured her. "If you're not OK with me going, then I won't go. Simple as that. Just think it over, OK?"
Stella and Cruz gave Severide their blessing to leave — again
Stella seriously contemplated whether or not she should let Severide take the Tucson case. She also chatted with Joe Cruz (Joe Miñoso) about his ongoing conflict with Severide. Remember: Cruz was also abandoned by Severide when he left during Season 11. In Severide's absence, Cruz was forced to step up as acting Lieutenant. However, when Severide returned, Cruz was expected to fall back in line, which hasn't been sitting well with him. Now, Cruz is considering leaving 51 to become a Lieutenant elsewhere; he's even planning to take the exam for the job.
After talking with Cruz, Stella realized she had no interest in trapping or controlling Severide, so she gave him her blessing to cover the case.
"You should go," Stella told Severide, catching him off guard.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yeah, I don't ever want you to feel trapped," Stella admitted. "So you have my blessing as long as you come back soon."
"That's the plan," Severide told her.
"If you go MIA on me again," Stella cautioned. "If you leave me in the dark..."
"I know," Severide said, aware of the fragility of their marriage.
"And I'm not the only one whose permission you should ask," Stella said, talking about Cruz.
Severide told Cruz that he planned on going to Tucson, but this was dependent on Cruz agreeing to step up as interim Lieutenant again. Severide said he didn't trust anyone else but Cruz to fill the role and he refused to go if Cruz wasn't comfortable. Cruz agreed and later withdrew his name from the Lieutenant exam.