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Why Severide Briefly Left Chicago Fire Season 12 — And When He Returned

Find out where the One Chicago fan favorite went and when he made his triumphant 51 return.

By Jessica White

It was sad bidding farewell to fan favorite Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinneyagain on Chicago Fire Season 12, but fret not, Chi-Hards — his exit wasn't as dramatic as Season 11's. He eventually returned! 

How to Watch

Watch Chicago Fire on NBC and Peacock.

So, what happened? Well, Severide accepted another arson case in Season 12, Episode 3 ("Trapped"), whisking him away to Tucson, Arizona — and into yet another long-distance stint with his wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo). Stella gave Severide her blessing to leave, but after his Season 11 exit (in which he ignored several phone calls from Stella and generally went completely M.I.A.) she had some understandable trust issues at the top of Season 12. 

RELATED: Severide Is Leaving Stella Again on Chicago Fire, But Here's Why She's Not Mad

Luckily, in Season 12, Episode 4 ("The Small Things"), fans got quick confirmation that Severide is doing this arson case differently. Here's what happened: 

Stella Kidd and Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire Episode 1203

Why did Severide leave on Season 12 of Chicago Fire?

After being sent a thrilling case file on a serial arsonist based in Arizona, Stella couldn't help but give Severide her blessing to take another leave of absence, leaving Joe Cruz (Joe Miñoso) as interim Lieutenant of Squad 3. Stella was crystal clear with Severide — she wouldn't pressure him to stay, but there would be no funny business, no ignored text messages, no inconclusive timeline of his return. Severide wholeheartedly promised Stella he would comply, encouraging her to allow him to prove he could take the arson case and come back home to her.

Luckily, viewers didn't have to wait long to learn Severide's latest getaway is already nothing like his Season 11 one. Stella was spotted swapping texts with Severide at the top of Episode 4 ("The Little Things"), proving he's already committed to being more communicative with his wife while away. 

RELATED: Stella & Severide's Chicago Fire Reunion Is "Uncomfortable" & "Emotionally-Charged"

Violet Mikami (Hanako Greensmith) asked Stella how she was holding up since Severide left, and Stella said they were texting each other every day. 

"But...?" Violet pressed.

"It's just, um, he's been kicking around this idea of moving to OFI full-time at some point," Stella explained. "You know, when he's ready for the next chapter. And I'm all about it, of course. It's way less dangerous, he wouldn't have to travel, he'd still be in the CFD family."

"Yeah, I mean, I can totally see Severide running OFI," Violet said.

"Right? I mean it would be amazing," Stella agreed, her tone darkening. "But I'm I'm getting ahead of myself. I mean, he's not even home yet."

Stella Kidd had an uncomfortable exchange with Van Meter about Kelly Severide's future

Stella on Chicago Fire

OFI Captain Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper) asked Stella how Severide was doing on his trip, leading to a terse exchange between the two. 

"Talent like Severide's, it's a rare gift," Van Meter mused. "You don't ever want to take a thing like that for granted."

"Well, you know, I've been telling him it's not good to take anything in life for granted," Stella said, giving Van Meter a careful glance before leaving.

When will Severide return on Chicago Fire?

Later, Stella got the affirmation she needed that everything would be OK. She received a heartwarming text message from Severide that read, “Miss you too. Just booked my flight. Home a week from tomorrow.”

Severide returned to Chicago Fire in Season 12, Episode 6. 

Watch Chicago Fire on Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.