Sharon Leone, Fire Country
Credit: CBS

Since she was diagnosed with with a terminal illness in the start of season one, fans have been wondering if Sharon Leone is leaving Fire Country and if she’ll die by the end of the season.

Fire Country is CBS drama series about firefighters at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, in the fictional town of Edgewater, California. Diane Farr plays Sharon Leone, the chief of the Cal Fire Division and the mother of Bode Donovan, a young convict who volunteers for the California Conservation Camp Program to shorten his prison sentence and becomes assigned to his hometown of Edgewater.

“I think that people will see that Fire Country is different from any firefighting show on television,” Max Thieriot who plays Bode told Pop Culture in October 2022. “We’re not rescue of the week. We’re not fire of the week. First of all, this department is an all-risk department. So we’re not just going to be fighting wildland fires, which obviously is something that they’re most known for. They respond to every call, every situation, anytime somebody picks up 911, they’re there. And so we’ll be showing the full scope of what firefighters do on the job. And then the big thing is this is really a serialized character drama. So it has a lot of those amazing elements that you get from whatever, it’s cable or whatever shows they are, where you’re really getting to invest in these characters and explore their journey.”

But back to Sharon. So…is Sharon leaving Fire Country? Read on for what we know about if Sharon is leaving Fire Country and if she’ll die this season.

Sharon Leone, Fire Country

Is Sharon Leone leaving Fire Country?

Is Sharon Leone leaving Fire Country? Sharon, the chief of the California Fire Devision, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in season 1, episode 2, “The Fresh Prince of Edgewater.” In season 1, episode 11 “Mama Bear,” Sharon—whose chronic kidney disease had progressed to stage five—learns that she’s eligible for a kidney transplant, as the town of Edgewater, California, tests to see if anyone is a match for her. In the next episode — season 1, episode 12 “Two Pink Lines” — Bode Donovan, Sharon’s son and a firefighter for Cal Fire, and Jake, a firefighter for Cal Fire, learn that they’re both matches for Sharon.

Bode tells his mother that he’s a match for her and wants to donate his kidney to save her life, but Sharon refuses to let her son do so. Instead, she agrees for Jake, who initially kept his match a secret, to be her kidney donor. But when Jake reacts badly to the anesthesia and almost dies before the surgery happens, he is unapproved for the operation and Sharon must wait for another kidney. When she finds another donor (who isn’t Bode) and undergoes the surgery, Sharon’s body rejects the kidney transplant. In the end, Sharon decides she didn’t want to go through the stressful process again and decides to list out her last days on her own.

So…is Sharon Leone leaving Fire Country? It’s unclear, but the answer seems to be yes. In an interview with TV Insider in January 2023, Fire Country executive producer Tia Napolitano confirmed that there will be a death in Fire Country season 1.

“We have life-or-death stakes baked into the show and we’ve been gentle with the death side of that coin,” she said. “We are going to lose someone who we love a lot. It’ll come as a great shock.” Could a valiant mission to save someone or stop a blaze be responsible for the death?

While she didn’t confirm if Sharon is the character who dies, Napolitano teased that there will be a “twist in a twist” when it comes to Sharon’s kidney disease storyline. “The potential roads to Sharon getting the kidney she needs to survive are going to be unexpected, and how we solve that for her is a twist on a twist,” she said. As for how Sharon could survive, there are fan theories that either Bode or Jake—who Sharon believes to be the serial arsonist—could be the death Napolitano is teasing on Fire Country, which would give Sharon an opportunity for a kidney and a chance to save her life.

“How does this show keep getting better and better! AND SHARON BETTER NOT DIE,” Twitter user @Learnthingss tweeted in January 2023. “I know damn well they didnt let Sharon die on @FireCountryCBS #FireCountry,” Twitter user @mrsdana tweeted in March 2023. “I need the Sharon terminal illness thing to be a very LONG drawn out terminal illness because I cannot get attached to another fictional character to have them die,” Twitter user @missallie93 tweeted in October 2022.

Sharon Leone, Fire Country

In an interview with Pop Culture in January 2023, Diane Farr, who plays Sharon, revealed that even she doesn’t know if Sharon will die or live in Fire Country season 1. “It’s a little bit of a surprise for both of us, and as my daughters say, ‘Mom, if they kill you, do we still get to go away this summer?'” Farr said. “The constant threat of, ‘Is it over?’ My own friends are like, ‘Are you going to die on there?’ I’m like, ‘Well, they’re not going to tell me.'”

“I love that they are addressing what it is to have live donors for people with chronic kidney disease. And I love that my character’s reaction is, ‘I am not taking my kid’s kidney.’ Now, she may lose that argument, but that’s really where she stands up. How do you take an organ out of somebody else’s body and live to thank them? What is that relationship like forever?”

Farr also told CBS New York in March 2023 about why Sharon’s relationship with Vince Leone (played by Billy Burke) is her favorite part about her character. “It’s so much fun. They’ve given me so many complex things. She’s a little bit tough, and she’s a little bit soft. My relationship with Billy Burke, Sharon and Vince, is so much fun because they let us fight. We’re married 30 years. We argue, we pull apart, and it’s not the end of the relationship. I think so much we value that initial crush up to the first kiss, and poof, everything is magical. This is 30 years deep. How are we getting back to that kiss?”

Farr, who’s played a firefighter in three different projects, also told the news station about how the success of Fire Country has changed her life.

“This is my third time playing a firefighter. I adore them. Honestly, the way people treat them. Sometimes if you’re out in your turnout gear and you’re on location, we’ll go on a walk to get a coffee or something and people want to buy me lunch and people want to say, ‘Thank you,'” she said. “And they make their kids come up and take photos. I want to die. I’m in hair and makeup. I’m not actually a hero. I’m just an actor. But yes! Cheer for [firefighters.]”

Fire Country airs on Fridays at 9 p.m on CBS.

For more on Fire Country, check out our photo gallery on who’s who in the cast.