It's hard to keep track of a team as big and as busy as Firehouse 51. In between battling blazes and saving lives on Chicago Fire's freshman season, Matt Casey, Kelly Severide and the rest of the squad somehow found ample time to find, and lose, love more times than we can count. And things are just starting to heat up! "We're just adding more pressure points: The risk of closures, new people coming in," showrunner Matt Olmstead tells TVGuide.com. "It's more pressure on this family, and do they fracture or do they galvanize?"Ahead of the Season 2 premiere (Tuesday, 10/9c, NBC), TVGuide.com is catching up viewers on where we left off and what's coming up:
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Casey (Jesse Spencer)
Where We Left Off: Shortly after breaking things off with Dawson, Casey got back together with his ex-fiancée Hallie (Terri Reeves). But the reunion was short-lived when, despite Casey's best efforts, Hallie died in a fire that appeared to be pre-mediated.
What's Next: After taking some time off, Casey returns to work ready to go. However, his personal life is quickly complicated by the return of his friend Andy Darden's widow, Heather. "He has to put everything on hold to deal with a major problem that Heather drops into his lap," Olmstead says. "So romance for him is put on the backburner." Instead of romantic dates, Casey will have his hands full with play dates. "Heather has two kids which are Andy's kids and because of her predicament, Casey has to jump in and help with those two boys," Olmstead says. "He's at once helping them out, but trying to help get them to embrace the memory of their dad so he has to jump in as like a father figure to them."
Severide (Taylor Kinney)
Where We Left Off: Speaking of father figures, Severide got some shocking news when, after learning that Shay was not pregnant with his baby, his ex-girlfriend, Renee (Sarah Shahi) was!
What's Next: Not surprisingly, Shay won't take the news so well, especially when she begins to question whether Severide is really the father. "He's an honorable guy so he's got to stick by Renee, but it definitely drives a wedge between Shay and himself," Olmstead says. However, a much more pressing issue will take precedence at the beginning of the season. "There's a serial arsonist out there that he believes is starting to target him, and so it's one of those things where that character all of a sudden has to go through his history in terms of: 'Who's got a beef with me, and why am I the one being targeted by this person?'"
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Shay (Lauren German)
Where We Left Off: Despite being made the godmother of Herrmann's new baby, Shay was devastated about not getting pregnant.
What's Next: "She wakes up a little bit. She comes to the conclusion: Look, I'm single and young. Let me just go back to having a good time,'" Olmstead says. "She goes back to having a good time, but perhaps with a little too much gusto which gets her into some trouble so the pendulum swings back severely in the other direction." Although Shay will be busy making some new lady friends, her friendship and partnership with Dawson will be strained in a way that's very similar to the divide between Casey and Severide last season. "A call happens that takes a wrong turn," Olmstead says. "When something like that happens, in order to distance yourself from any blame or guilt, you blame the other person. ... It's just this thing that begins to fester between the two of them and you see what happens in a job with very high stakes and how people react to a call that goes terribly wrong."
Dawson (Monica Raymund)
Where We Left Off: Dawson and Mills broke things off after she told him that she had known about Boden's past romance with Mills' mom. It also didn't help that she was still pining for Casey.
What's Next: Things still don't look good for Dawson and Casey. "The time's not right for them and so she has a new romance kick in," Olmstead says. That new romance is with a mystery character played by The Mob Doctor's Jesse Lee Soffer, whom she meets at Molly's. "On the face of it, it looks like it's a relief because this guy is not a firefighter and not in her world," Olmstead says. "As the storytelling goes, he's harboring a bit of a secret himself which poses a complication to that relationship." Dawson will also be spending a lot of time with Mouch (Christian Stolte) as he navigates a run for president of the firefighters union and even enlists a friend — a heavy-hitting PR gal named Isabella (Mena Suvari) — to help. "While she's there, there's a little romance that kicks off between her character and Mills," Olmstead teases.
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Mills (Charlie Barnett)
Where We Left Off: Mills was having a rough time of it after splitting from Dawson and learning that he did not make the rescue squad. At the end of the finale, he was spotted picking up an application at the Chicago Police Department training center.
What's Next: Aside from his new romance with Isabella, Mills will be secretly struggling. "If he does get into the academy, does he accept that initiation and have a clean slate somewhere without so many personal issues?" Olmstead says. "Or does he have firefighter DNA in him that can't be negated?" In the meantime, Mills will have to face the man who took his spot on the rescue squad — a firefighter named Jeff Clark (Boss' Jeff Hephner) who joins 51 after his own firehouse is shut down. "He comes into squad and takes the seat that Mills was hoping for and also it's in this climate of: Are there more closures? Do we know this guy? What's his agenda? Why is he here?" Olmstead says. "He's a bit of a mystery character who may have his own agenda for being there."
Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker)
Where We Left Off: Boden is coming off of a tough year as Captain in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Severide and the revelation of his past affair with Mills' mom.
What's Next: Boden isn't too happy when a high-ranking consultant with the State Fire Marshal's Office, played by True Blood's Michelle Forbes, comes in to cut costs, and possibly close down Firehouse 51. "She slowly starts to focus on 51 so many of the indiscretions that happened in 51 last year start to become glaring and they start to feel the heat," Olmstead says. "[Boden] doesn't agree with it because, as he points out in the first episode, she doesn't know the first thing about what it takes to save lives and run into a burning building ... but she has her marching orders so she's got to do her job, but he doesn't have to like it."
Chicago Fire premieres on Tuesday at 10/9c on NBC.