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What Happened to Chief Wallace Boden on Chicago Fire?

Boden was Firehouse 51's fearless commander for years and a bona fide Chi-Hard fan favorite.

By Jessica White

Every firehouse demands a fearless leader to call the shots, and for over a decade on Chicago Fire, the mythic Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) was the mastermind behind Firehouse 51's success.

How to Watch

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

For 12 action-packed seasons, Boden was the linchpin to hundreds of successful rescue missions. Spearheading hundreds of gripping episodes, Boden was a fearless force who led the way anytime the going got tough — even making his way to the Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med chaos. During his tenure, any firefighter who entered 51 knew that Boden had their back, whether they were facing a raging inferno or a rough breakup.

RELATED: Chicago Fire Season 12: Everything to Know

After Boden told 51 he was leaving his post to accept a job as the CFD's Deputy Commissioner in Season 12, the firefighters (and Chi-Hards everywhere) were heartbroken — but knew he was the perfect man for the job.

Chicago Pd 1204 Chief Wallace Boden

When did Wallace Boden first appear on Chicago Fire?

Boden was introduced in the very first episode of Chicago Fire, and it was immediately obvious he was the glue that held Firehouse 51 together.

A veteran first responder, Boden always led from the front, never hesitating to run into a blazing inferno if his team needed assistance. Boden was fiercely loyal and endlessly driven to excellence — a far cry from some other commanders who bark orders from their command towers during nail-biting calls.

Boden effortlessly climbed the ranks of the CFD from Captain to Battalion Chief and eventually to his Season 12 finale post as Deputy District Chief. 

Along the way, fans learned that Boden had been good friends with Benny Severide (Treat Williams), the father of 51's Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney). Though Severide's dad had failed to be much of a father figure to his son, Boden mentored the younger Severide, helping him navigate dozens of conundrums in and out of their line of duty. 

Many a firefighter climbed the ranks of the CFD thanks to Boden's unparalleled advice — but almost as many foes tried to go after Boden's reputation and job. It's not easy being at the top. 

Chief Wallace Boden stands in an office on Chicago Fire Episode 101

What happened between Wallace Boden and Finance Director Gail McLeod?

In Season 2 of Chicago Fire, Boden's position at Firehouse 51 was jeopardized after Deputy Director of Finance Gail McLeod (Michelle Forbes) cut corners around the station, suggested closing it, and pressured Boden to resign. She eventually presented Boden with a deal: He could take a retirement package and thus save Firehouse 51. Boden contemplated the arrangement, strictly for the sake of those who served there and ultimately accepted the offer following a health scare.

RELATED: Chicago's Fire's Most Tear-Jerking, Heartfelt Moments

But at the last minute, Boden changed his mind — a smart move considering it was eventually revealed McLeod was only defunding 51 to line her own pockets.

Chief Wallace Boden and his wife hugging on Chicago Fire Episode 220

Who was Donna Robbins Boden, Chicago Fire Chief Wallace Boden's wife?

At the start of the series, Boden was a decidedly single divorcé, but the tides began to turn for him in Season 2, Episode 12 ("Out with a Bang"). That's when he helped out a civilian named Donna Robbins (Melissa Ponzio) after she voiced complaints about her neglectful landlord. After she said thanks to Boden with a home-cooked meal, he learned Donna was a single school teacher, and their relationship soared from there. 

Sadly, Boden's relationship history initially held him back from exploring a deeper relationship with Donna. In Season 2, Episode 14 ("Virgin Skin"), he broke things off. Fate, however, had other plans: Donna was already pregnant with Boden's child, and he realized that being with Donna and having a family would be a good thing for all involved.

But, he screwed up his proposal by telling her that he would be happy to support and provide for her and the kid, and she turned him down because she wanted more than a provider.

In Season 2, Episode 21 ("One More Shot"), after realizing a future with Donna was what he truly wanted, he got a family ring ready with a big question in mind. Driving the firetruck, Boden showed up to Donna's school in full uniform to provide the heartfelt proposal she deserved. Donna happily accepted, much to an elated Boden's delight. 

The two got married in Season 2, Episode 22 ("Real Never Waits") in a ceremony hosted at Firehouse 51, surrounded by Boden's colleagues. The wedding was a fateful occasion for all: Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) proposed to Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund), and Randall "Mouch" McHolland (Christian Stolte) met his future wife, Chicago P.D.'s Trudy Platt (Amy Morton), during the reception. 

Who is Chicago Fire Chief Wallace Boden's ex-wife, Shonda?

Boden's ex-wife from prior to Chicago Fire was Shonda (Shanesia Davis). While the two were married, he helped raise his stepson, Jimmy (Juan Lozada), but Shonda objected to Boden continuing to see Jimmy following the divorce. (More on that below.)

She first appeared in Season 1 when Boden attempted to reconnect with Jimmy despite her objections, though he was not immediately able to maintain the relationship with his former stepson.

Shonda turned up in Boden's life again in Season 5, when Jimmy — who had started going by James — sought help from the Bodens to escape his mother's abusive boyfriend in Episode 7 ("Lift Each Other"). Shonda ultimately ended the relationship with the boyfriend once she learned of the abuse, and she and James went to live with her mother.

In Chicago Fire Season 12, Episode 4 ("The Little Things"), James visited the station to tell Boden that Shonda had gotten arrested on drug trafficking charges. At the advice of her public defender, Shonda was considering a plea deal in exchange for three to five years in prison. He asked for Boden's help to hire a lawyer to beat the charges and Boden agreed.

But, when Boden visited Shonda in jail to tell her he was looking for help to fight the case, she confessed to being guilty of the crime and was adamant about taking the plea because she understood the severity of her actions. She did, however, not want him to tell James... which he did anyway.

In the end, it was clear Shonda was heading to federal prison and James was going to be spending more time with his ex-stepfather.

Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walke) appears in a scene from Chicago Fire.

Who is Wallace Boden's stepson, James, on Chicago Fire?

In Season 1, Episode 13 ("Warm and Dead"), Boden revealed he'd became a stepfather to James, who was then 3 years-old, when he married his ex-wife, Shonda. She had attempted to keep the two apart after the marriage ended, but the two briefly reunited in that episode, only for James to cut ties in Season 2 when he learned of Boden's relationship with Donna.

Jimmy made a return in Season 5 of Chicago Fire — this time preferring to go by his given name, James. After Boden reached out again, a 17-year-old James unexpectedly showed up at the Boden house in Season 5, Episode 5 ("I Held Her Hand"). 

The family was happy to welcome James into the fold and, after shadowing Boden at the firehouse in Episode 7 ("Lift Each Other"), James asked to spend his senior year living with Boden's family instead of Shonda and her new boyfriend, to which Shonda agreed. Boden was willing to take on the challenge of a teenager but only under one condition: James had to tell him the truth. That's when James admitted that Shonda's new boyfriend had been abusing him, and Boden paid the man a visit that resulted in violence (for which Boden earned a suspension). Shonda ultimately reconciled with James, saying she hadn't known of the abuse, and two left to live with her mother. 

In Chicago Fire Season 12, Episode 4 ("The Little Things"), Boden received another bittersweet visit from his stepson, who asked Boden to help pay for a lawyer to fight drug trafficking charges that Shonda was facing. Shonda refused, and James struggled to stomach his new reality.

Boden reminded his stepson that his home was always open, and James graciously accepted — but it wasn't a simple integration. After his mom's Michigan house approached foreclosure, James panicked and left Chicago to try to clean up the mess without burdening his father. 

True to his brand, Boden drove through the night to the Michigan home to help James clean it up and get it ready for sale. He then took a furlough to help his son get back on his feet, and by the Season 12 finale, James was set to move in. 

Chief Wallace Boden and his wife and baby in the hospital on Chicago Fire Episode 311

Who is Wallace Boden's son, Terrance Boden, on Chicago Fire?

Boden and Donna's child, Terrance Boden (most recently played by Lennox Simms), was born in Season 3, Episode 12 ("Santa Bites"). As Boden and Donna playfully bickered about baby names during one of Donna's visits to the station, Donna suddenly went into labor. Boden whisked Donna into one of the firetrucks to take her to the hospital, but hit traffic and Donna was forced to deliver the baby in the back of the vehicle.

The delivery nonetheless went off without a hitch until the couple arrived at the hospital and realized their newborn boy had turned blue. Boden was floored by the tragic development — but Terrance was a fighter and eventually pulled through. 

Wallace Boden Sr. appears in a scene from Chicago Fire.

Who was Wallace Boden's father, Wallace Boden Sr., on Chicago Fire?

Boden didn't always have the strongest relationship with his father, Wallace Boden, Sr. (Richard Roundtree). The birth of Terrance changed all of that, prompting the elder man to seek out his new grandson in Season 3, Episode 11 ("Let Him Die") and begin bridging the gap with his own son. 

Though the two men hadn't spoken in years, Wallace Sr. came to stay at the Boden family house while bonding with Terrance in Season 3, Episode 13 ("Three Bells"). After dodging Boden's questions about how long he planned to stay, Boden learned Wallace had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and didn't expect to live for much longer. Boden did everything he could to urge his father to pursue more aggressive chemotherapy treatments, but Wallace Sr. refused.

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

In honor of his father, Boden and Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) revived the semi-annual Winter Luau at Molly's in Season 3, Episode 14 ("Call It Paradise"). While attending the party, Boden and his father shared a drink and a wholesome chat before the family returned home for the night. After Boden left to put Terrance to bed, he was devastated to discover that his father had passed away while holding the Boden family photo albums. 

Letts (Richard Roundtree) sits behind a desk looking pensive

When was Wallace Boden promoted to District Deputy Chief on Chicago Fire?

In Season 10, Episode 1 ("Mayday"), after promoting Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) to lieutenant, Boden accepted an offer to leave Firehouse 51 to become Deputy District Chief for District 4 in order to prevent Kidd from having to leave the station herself. 

Boden's former secretary, Kylie (Katelynn Shennett), however, spotted a loophole in the regulation that sent Boden across town. In Season 10, Episode 5 ("Two Hundred"), Kylie realized that, due to several firehouses closing in the district, Firehouse 51 had technically become the new center of the district map.

After a quick verification of CFD regulations, she discovered the district office must be the center-most station, for the District Chief to be able to efficiently visit firehouses. With Firehouse 51 as the current center-most locale for the district, Boden was able to move the deputy's office to Firehouse 51 to reunite with his station loved ones.

Boden on Chicago Fire

When did Wallace Boden leave Firehouse 51?

Boden left Firehouse 51 in Chicago Fire's Season 12 finale ("Never Say Goodbye").

After realizing the ruthless pencil-pusher Paramedic Chief Jude Robinson (Laura Allen) was a frontrunner for the Deputy Commissioner gig — and that he couldn't confidently back any of her contenders — Boden threw his hat in the race. 

Despite having mere days to campaign, Boden got the promotion because Kidd made a point of getting in contact with the former Deputy Commissioner to highlight all that Boden's ability to bring people together.

After the 51 firefighters got the alert Boden was the new Deputy Commissioner, they swarmed his office to give him some heartwarming parting words before he headed to the "tippy top of the CFD."

"Thank you, but we are all gonna see each other again," Boden told the firefighters. "There is no need for a big goodbye."

As the deputy commissioner of the CFD, Boden won't be far from the action in Season 13, and fans and 51 firefighters will still be able to catch up with their cherished former chief. 

Chicago Pd 1204 Chief Wallace Boden

Find out what happens to Firehouse 51 by watching Chicago Fire on NBC and Peacock. 

Originally published Feb 8, 2024.