When we left off with Chicago Fire, Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) were in a precarious position, getting hot and heavy while, unbeknownst to them, Kidd's ex Grant (Guy Burnet) was lurking in the next room, knife in hand.
Tuesday's Season 5 premiere (10/9c, NBC) picks up shortly thereafter, still in Kidd's apartment. The cliffhanger may not play out the way fans are expecting, but the Severide-Kidd-Grant love triangle will come to a head in short order.
"It dominates the episode. It's not something we're just sweeping under the rug," executive producer Michael Brandt tells TVGuide.com. "We're going to play it out. Grant is definitely a formidable foe and a real presence in Severide and Kidd's lives, and that's something that's going to play out to a dramatic ending at the end of the first episode."
Here are eight other things to expect from Chicago Fire's fifth season:
1. A workplace rivalry
When the season kicks off, Borrelli (Steven R. McQueen) is still harboring a lot of resentment towards Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) after his brother's death last season - so much so that he requests to be transferred back to truck. Don't expect the tension between the two men to blow over quickly. "Borelli is really putting it to Boden. He's putting a lot of pressure on him. He feels very strongly about what Boden did, and Boden's actions causing Borelli's brother to die. So, he's going to make some big accusations," Brandt tells TVGuide.com. "There's going to be some big punches thrown in the first couple episodes. And that will linger for a couple episodes and is something that will really challenge the house and challenge Boden as much, if not more than, anything else he's had to deal with. The resolution of that will come in the first part of the season."
The conflict also makes things awkward for the other members of 51 - especially when Borrelli does something that forces his colleagues to decide whether they're going to rally behind their leader. "Technically everybody's on Boden's side. He didn't do anything wrong," Brandt says. "We know that Jimmy is reacting out of passion and emotion, so while people believe that Boden did the right thing, they also can understand why Jimmy's acting the way he is."
2. A blast from the familial past
Unfortunately for Boden, the situation with Borrelli isn't the only challenge he'll have to face this season. Season 5 will see the return of his stepson James, whom we first met in Season 1. "He's graduating from high school and he's decided he wants to be a firefighter. So he's going to be around the house quite a bit here in the beginning part of the season," Brandt says. "He's got some interesting background history that Boden's going to figure out, and that's going to turn into something that Boden's going to have to deal with."
3. A Dawsey wedding?
The first part of the season will see Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Dawson (Monica Raymund) adjusting to their new lives as parents to little Louie. And Casey/Dawson fans can rest assured that, aside from the normal difficulties that come with parenthood, the couple will enjoy a period of relative stability in their home life. "His decision to come back to her, it wasn't made lightly. And it wasn't made lightly by us either," Brandt says. "It's something that we want to explore, Casey and Dawson as a real couple. Louie is firmly in their lives at this point. Casey is firmly backing Dawson's decision to foster Louie. So them as a couple with a young boy in their life is real and that's something that we want to take a look at."
At the same time, don't expect the show to turn into a family drama. It's a safe bet that we'll only get occasional glimpses of Casey and Dawson's parenting skills. "Certainly the show's still going to remain the show. It will still center around the firehouse," Brandt promises. "This isn't going to turn into a soap opera in terms of home life necessarily. Louie will be in and out occasionally. He's definitely a force in their lives, and we'll feel him and we'll know about him. And we'll see him too, but no, we're not going to spend every morning at breakfast with them as they're trying to figure out which cereal he's going to eat."
Of course, that begs the question: Will we see a Casey/Dawson wedding this season? The answer is... maybe. "We know the fans want to see a wedding for Dawson and Casey," Brandt says. "Their chemistry has always been so strong, and it's been fun the last four seasons, pushing them right to the edge and then pulling them apart. ... [But] you can only do that for so long. We understand that, if we want to represent real life and real relationships as much as we can, that this is something that needs to evolve, and it certainly will evolve over the course of this season."
4. A big career move for Dawson
Whether or not she and Casey tie the knot this season, there's at least one big change on the horizon for Dawson. As previously teased, having a child who's waiting for her to come home every night causes Dawson to rethink her career path. Look for her to weigh a return to ambulance duty at least temporarily - a move Brandt acknowledges will be disappointing to some viewers. "We've weighed this decision heavily," he says. "Dawson, as a strong woman who wanted to become a firefighter, where there are not a lot of women, was something that we didn't take lightly. Monica Raymund ... certainly didn't take it lightly. We don't want this to turn into, oh, the minute she gets a child, she wants to stop being a firefighter. That's not the case at all. But there are certain realities, in terms of two parents working on the same truck in a very dangerous job, that they have to face. And her motherly instincts take over. So, that's something that we will explore in the first episode. The audience will come to understand exactly why Dawson makes the choice she makes."
5. Dynamic Duo 2.0
The biggest silver lining about Dawson returning to ambo is that it will partner her with Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), a relationship Brandt says he can't wait for the audience to see. "We're extremely excited about the idea of Dawson and Brett on ambo together," he says. "That seat next to Brett has kind of been a rotating position for a while, has not always been the luckiest seat. We really miss the Shay/Dawson dynamic that we had the first couple of years ... and we think there's a real possibility with Dawson and Brett, so that's something we want to explore."
Working with Dawson allows Sylvie to reconnect with Dawson's brother Antonio (Chicago P.D.'s Jon Seda), and let's just say a vehicle fire isn't the only thing that makes sparks fly in the premiere. Gabby's puzzled (and, understandably, a little grossed-out) by their flirtation at first, but she'd better get used to it - looks like these two are heading for a full-fledged romance this season. Between that and her kinky new endeavor with Mouch (Christian Stolte), Sylvie's personal life is getting quite the boost this season!
7. A bad news BFF for Severide
As previously announced, Grey's Anatomyalum Scott Elrod will have a guest arc this season as a "lifestyle celebrity" named Travis Brenner, whom Severide meets when responding to a call in the premiere. Suffice to say, he's not a great influence on Severide. "[Travis] is an Internet celebrity, Instagram star who basically lives his life throwing really cool parties and living an amazing life," Brandt says. "He gets paid to basically run around with supermodels and live on yachts and drink champagne, and meanwhile tweet about it and Instagram about it. And it's a real lure for Severide. He's a charismatic character. ... He will stick around for a while."
8. A birthday celebration for Mollie's
Episode 8, which is the show's winter finale, will also mark the 100th anniversary of Mollie's establishment as a bar. The way the show will celebrate is being kept under wraps for now, but expect "something special," according to Brandt. However, not all the news about Mollie's this season will be good news, especially as it relates to Herrmann (David Eigenberg) continuing to juggle his duties at the firehouse and behind the bar. "We have Herrmann on the continual quest to become a lieutenant and also to try and keep Mollie's afloat," Brandt says. "As always, we're going to keep throwing lots of obstacles his way and also challenges towards the people who run Mollie's."
Chicago Fire returns Tuesday at 10/9c on NBC.