Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire
Credit: Getty Images

Kelly Severide, how we miss you so. After the actor left Chicago Fire for an unknown amount of time in Season 11, we all want to know if Kelly Severide is coming to Chicago Fire and when he could return. Here’s everything we know.

Chicago Fire is NBC’s popular drama series that focuses on the lives of firefighters, rescue personnel and paramedics of the Chicago Fire Department’s fictional Firehouse 51. Played by actor Taylor Kinney, Severide’s been a mainstay since the very first episode aired in 2012. He started as lieutenant of Firehouse 51 and officer in charge of Squad 3. Although he was known as a ladies’ man in earlier seasons, his shenanigans halted when he started dating his now-wife and fellow firefighter, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), in season 4. The couple became engaged in season 9 and married in season 10.

In an interview with the Today Show’s Al Roker in November 2022, Kinney reflected on his tenure on the show as one of the few remaining original cast members. “Times have changed, and the city has changed, and people have grown,” but ultimately said, “This is home.” He continued: “I’ve been here over a decade. The city has been good to me. I love the city. I’ve gotten to know it through my work…I love this city.”

Ahead of the season 5 finale in 2019, Kinney spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what it was like watching Chicago Fire expand into Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Chicago Justice, where he’s all appeared as Severide. “Going forward with these spinoffs, they get a little hectic, but I was looking at a poster the other day on our stages and one of them is the entire cast of Fire, P.D. and Med,” he said. “You see it grow little by little but there’s like 50 characters and it says, ‘One Chicago.’ To see that—and now we have Justice—it’s a lot to take in. I’m really proud and humbled.”

We’re sharing everything we know about when Kelly Severide is coming back to Chicago Fire, as well as the details behind his temporary exit from the Dick Wolf-produced drama.

Why did Kelly Severide leave Chicago Fire?

Kelly Severide and Matthew Casey on Chicago Fire

Why did Kelly Severide leave Chicago Fire? Our sister site, Deadline, reported in January 2023 that Kinney was “taking a leave of absence to deal with a personal matter.” Sources also told the publication that cast and crew were informed of Kinney’s leave on January 20, 2023, and that future scripts will be written to accommodate his absence from the series. In the meantime, fans will get a special guest appearance from Severide’s former costar, Captain Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer), who is returning to his role a second time after he left the series in season 10. Spencer will be in episode 18 of season 11, which will air on NBC on April 5, 2023. News of Spencer’s return came two months after we learned about Severide’s break from the show.

On the show, writers approached Severide’s exit by sending him off to arson training. In season 11, episode 15, “Damage Control,” Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper) tells Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) that Severide has left Chicago to train at “the best arson investigation training program in the world.” Van Meter told Boden that the opportunity was too large for Severide to pass on. And because Severide left at the last minute, he couldn’t tell Boden himself. Although Boden was disappointed, he tells Van Meter that Severide’s training will be beneficial for Firehouse 51.

We received another update about Severide’s whereabouts in Season 11, Episode 21 “Change of Plans.” Cruz (Joe Minoso) learned that Severide is no longer in Alabama at the arson investigation program. It turns out that the lieutenant made a big impression and is doing an ATF investigation in an unknown location. Cruz told Severide’s wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) that it would have been nice to know about Severide’s change of plans, but it’s revealed that Kidd was kept out of the loop too. “What are you talking about?” she asked Cruz. He tried to take back what he said and blamed it on chatter at the academy, and then apologized for bringing it up. Now, we have a lot of questions about why Severide would fail to tell his wife about his new plans. Could a breakup be on the horizon for the couple?

Kinney’s temporary exit also comes three months after Chicago Fire‘s co-creator and co-showrunner Derek Haas announced he was leaving Wolf Entertainment at the end of season 11. “Although I am leaving Wolf Entertainment next year to focus on creating new shows, I’m entirely committed to delivering amazing episodes of ‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘FBI: International’ through the end of the current seasons,” Haas said in a statement to Deadline in November 2022. “I learned everything I know about storytelling, pace, characters, production values, and hiring the best cast, crews, and staffs from Dick Wolf and Peter Jankowski, and as hard as it is to leave a place you love and have called home for over a decade, including incredible support from Universal Television, NBC and CBS, I look forward to building my own brand in entertainment.”

When is Kelly Severide coming back to Chicago Fire?

Kelly Severide and Stella Kidd on Chicago Fire

When is Kelly Severide coming back to Chicago Fire? Taylor Kinney will not return as Severide for the remainder of Season 11, our sister site Variety reported on May 2, 2023. There are only a few more weeks until the Season 11 finale on May 24, 2023.

Chicago Fire (and the rest of the One Chicago shows) were renewed for the 2023-2024 season by NBC, which means we will get a Season 12 where we expect Kelly Severide to return (but a lot can change during the summer). The season will premiere sometime in the fall (although, the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike could push the timeline back depending on how long the strike continues).

Although Severide won’t return, another fan-favorite firefighter is coming back for the Season 11 finale. Variety also reported that Jesse Spencer will reprise his role as Matthew Casey for the third time since his exit in 2021. Spencer left the show in October 2021 after almost a decade on the first responder show. In an interview with Deadline in April 2023, Spencer didn’t rule out returning to Chicago Fire on a full-time basis one day in the future. When asked if Spencer could be coming back full-time, he responded: “I cannot… answer that question,” Spencer told our sister site. “The potential to come back would be awesome. I’m always open to that but you know, the ball isn’t really in my court. I always told [series co-creator] Derek Haas that if there were episodes that he thought would be appropriate for me to come back, then I’m totally open to that because I want to see the old gang and I love working there. But in terms of me coming back full-time or something, I have no idea.”

We’re going to have to wait to learn more about when exactly Kelly Severide is returning to Chicago Fire and if he’ll come back for Season 12 this fall.

Chicago Fire airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

For more about Severide, check out our photo gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their real-life loves