Chicago Fire Season 12 Report Card: Best Episode, Most Shocking Storyline, and More!

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It has been nearly 14 years since Chicago Fire first graced our screens.

As the original series that spawned an entire TV universe, the firefighter-focused arm of One Chicago has remained widely popular.

Throughout Season 12, Chicago Fire brought in between five and seven million viewers each week.

Chicago Fire Season 12 Lead Photo

This season was full of ups and downs, and we're finally ready to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

From Severide's return to Sylvie's exit, many characters were in and out this season.

Jack Damon and Lizzie Novak (if that is even her name) joined the crew, while Boden's big promotion took him off the roster.

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The team responded to dozens of intense calls, dealt with personal issues, and tried their best to stay together at work.

So, without further ado, let's get into the best and worst characters and storylines of Chicago Fire Season 12.

Read on until the end to see our overall grade for the season, and then jump into the comments to tell us your thoughts.

A Team Effort - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 13

Best Episode: Season 12 Episode 11, "Inside Man"

Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 11 was action-packed and kept us on the edge of our seats for the entire hour.

Severide's unintentional abduction was stressful for him, the whole team back at 51, and for the viewer.

The episode reminded us that 51 is a family, and we loved how everyone came together to brainstorm how to rescue Severide while dealing with their emotions about the situation.

Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 11 Review: Inside Man

It could have ended badly for Severide or anyone involved in the shootout at the end of the episode, but thankfully, everyone escaped with little more than scratches and got home safely.

Of course, Truck 81 blew up, and as much as that sucked for the crew, who doesn't enjoy a good explosion? We gave this episode 4.5/5 stars.

Violet Talks to Novak - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 12

Worst Episode: Season 12 Episode 10, "The Wrong Guy"

From unrealistic representations of the adoption process to poorly written suspense, Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 10 failed to deliver the excitement we wanted to see.

The show had been on a three-week hiatus just before this episode, so we expected it to return with a bang.

However, we got several boring filler storylines that were hard to follow and even harder to care about.

Cruz and Chloe's adoption of Javi was threatened when a perfect stranger from another country showed up and demanded to be part of Javi's life despite having zero proof of his identity.

Worse yet, he tried to extort Cruz for money by threatening to take Javi away.

Legally speaking, the man had no standing, and it was painful to watch the social worker in the episode act as if the threat was real.

Chat on the Bleachers - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 10

This episode also introduced Jack Damon, whose identity became clear (much) later in the season, but at first, he seemed to give off bizarre, creepy vibes.

After this episode, we predicted that Damon would become Severide's secret half-sibling, and unfortunately, we were correct.


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It's a recycled storyline from the second season, during which Severide learns about his half-sister, Katie Nolan.

Why the writers chose to take us down this road again with another sibling is beyond me.

We gave this episode 2.5/5 stars.

Unimpressed - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 7

Best Character: Violet Mikami

Violet, played by Hanako Greensmith, had a great run this season with some interesting storylines.

She had to deal with a lot of change after losing Sylvie as a partner on Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 6 and temporarily gaining Lennox before Novak showed up.

Her friends-with-benefits, will-they-won't-they relationship with Sam has kept us on our toes, too.

Given how the season ended with his big profession of love for her, they will have some drama to deal with in Season 13.

During this season, Violet proves her loyalty as a friend by being there for Stella, Sylvie, and Novak at different points.

She also showed off her excellent paramedic skills on Ambo 61 and displayed leadership capabilities as she worked through a revolving door of partners.

Chief Paramedic or Chief Annoyance? - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 8

Worst Character: Paramedic Chief Robinson

This may be low-hanging fruit, but it's hard to call any of the main characters "the worst," so let's focus on someone we can all agree sucks.

Portrayed by Laura Allen, Robinson is the widely detested paramedic chief who is Chief Boden's counterpart.

Assigning Lennox to be Violet's partner didn't win her any points with our favorite paramedic, but that wasn't the only reason everyone wanted her gone.

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Since she was gunning for the deputy commissioner job, everyone from Lennox to Severide to Boden knew they had to stop her from getting there at all costs.

Unfortunately for her, Boden beat her out for the promotion, and hopefully, that's the last we'll hear from her.

Something tells me she'll be back, though.

Hermann Is Smug - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 11

Best Storyline: Herrmann Becomes the House Dad

Even before we knew Eamonn Walker would be leaving Chicago Fire, we noticed that the writers had started evolving Herrmann's character.

Boden has been a father figure and confidant to many of the crew members of 51 for the past 12 seasons, but we could see Herrmann stepping up lately.

Everyone from Severide to Cruz to Capp to Mouch began asking him for advice, and he took it in stride.

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Everything made more sense once Boden announced his run for deputy commissioner and asked Herrmann to take his place as chief on Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 13.

Character growth is always great, but seeing someone go from great to even better is extra special.

All signs indicate that Herrmann will make an excellent chief when the time comes.

Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 13

Worst Storyline: Surprise! It's Another Half-Sibling

We've already touched on this, but it deserves its own category.

Jack Damon's big reveal that Benny Severide was his father is an example of lazy writing if you ask me.

As we've discussed, this storyline repeats something we've seen.

Did Kelly need another secret sibling to add to the pile?

We get it — Benny got around. Good for him.

But will the writers eventually allow Kelly to move on with his life without having to carve new branches into his family tree?

Severide Close Up - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 10

It would have been way more interesting if Damon's secret past had been related to another character.

But since the writers insist on giving us more of the same to react to, they can take our simultaneous eye-roll-yawn combo.

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At this point, the best we can hope for is for Severide to handle whatever feelings he will have about this during the break.

By the time Season 13 premieres, I expect Kelly to have worked through this already, so I don't have to spend any more energy on it.

Hopefully, Severide doesn't have to leave again to process the news.

Cutting the Cake - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 6

Best Couple: Matt Casey and Sylvie Brett

They didn't make it to the finale since the two of them weren't part of the show after their wedding, but they still deserve a shoutout.

The wedding episode was stunning and unique, offering closure in ways that we didn't get when Casey originally left the show.

Severide processed his feelings about losing his friend, and Violet could say goodbye to Sylvie in a way that made it easier for her to move on.

And we can't forget to mention how absolutely stunning Sylvie looked in her wedding dress!

Couple Working Together - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 9

Worst Couple: Kelly Severide and Stella Kidd

I will get heat for this one, but I don't care.

I'm a Stellaride hater and tired of pretending I'm not.

There's just so little heat between them; this season was no exception.

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Sure, we got a couple of moments where they actually acted like a couple, but for the most part, it was all business all the time.

They're like the mullet of married couples: business in the front, party in the back where no one can see you act like you love each other.

Carver Defeated - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 13

Best Cliffhanger: Sam Confesses His Love to Violet

Sam and Violet had a no-strings-attached relationship for most of the season, but things had begun heating up in the last few episodes.

Naturally, that meant we started to see Violet pulling away, commitment-phobe that she is. As soapy as that trope is, it works for the character.

But seeing as how we saw Violet asking Stella for insight and admitting that she'd screwed up with Carver, chances are high that the season will open with good news for the two of them.

Of course, since Carver is on yet another furlough, we may have to wait longer than we think for this cliffhanger to be un-hung.

Boden Makes a Face - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 7

Biggest Behind-the-Scenes Shocker: Eamonn Walker's Big Exit

After twelve years on Chicago Fire, Eamonn Walker announced he would take a big step back from the show.

The news left fans reeling at the thought of losing another beloved character, especially since he's one of the last remaining original cast members.

At the very least, we're promised that he'll still be a fixture on the show in some way, just not with the frequency we're used to.

Eamonn Walker Leaves Chicago Fire With a Boden-Sized Hole

There was a lot of speculation about how the writers would handle Boden's departure, and thankfully, they did a great job.

The season finale was a beautiful tribute to a great leader and friend. It included an emotional goodbye, the passing of the torch, and enough room for Boden to return when the story called for it.

Violet Talks to Novak - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 12

Best Call: Violet and Novak Face a Child with a Gun

In the ninth episode of the season, "Something About Her," the hour ends with Novak and Violet showing up at a home where a child has been shot by his friend.

The injured child needs urgent medical attention, but Violet can't provide it because the child with the gun has it trained on her.

The call itself is terrifying and heartbreaking, but the star of the scene is Novak, who calmly introduces herself to the little boy and turns his attention to her so Violet can help his friend.

Novak shines here in Jocelyn Hudon's first episode playing the character, and we get our first glimpse of how compassionate she is.

As the season progresses, Novak continues to show that she's excellent at relating to people in ways that make them feel safe and calm, proving that she's the perfect partner for Violet.

Defibrillator Malfunction - Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire Season 12 Final Grade: B-

We really wanted Season 12 to blow our socks off; unfortunately, our socks are firmly attached to our feet.

It still earns a solid B- from us, so things could be worse.

But the short season lacked so much. We would have liked to see more of Ritter (incidentally, we said the same thing last season).

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There's already so little LGBTQ+ representation on Chicago Fire, and it's disappointing that we don't get more from the one queer character on the show.

The most central couple in the series, Kidd and Severide, produced about as much heat as a refrigerator.

And at the end of the day, there just weren't enough episodes to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Van Meter Talks with His Hands - Chicago Fire Season 12 Episode 8

It was a decent season overall, and enough character development happened to satisfy us.

Our average episode rating for Season 12 was about 3.5 out of 5 stars, so there's room for improvement when Chicago Fire returns in the fall.

Now that the season has ended, what do you think? Was it a worthy addition to the series, or could you have done without it?

Let us know in the comments, and keep an eye out as we update you on any news we find out about Season 13!

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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Chicago Fire Quotes

Kidd: I just got to keep busy. Working the bar’s good for that. Um, you know I’m gonna need some major distraction when I get home, right?
Severide: I think I can provide.
Kidd: You are so selfless.

Casey: Well, you gotta admit, he's happy.
Dawson: She's a graphic artist he met at the craps table. Her name is Brittany and she's from Florida? You know what that adds up to? Stripper!
Casey: What do you have against Florida?