Spoilers ahead for the March 18 episode of Chicago Fire Season 8, called "Protect a Child."
Season 8 of Chicago Fire has been big for Stella Kidd, as all signs have pointed toward her being ready to move up in the CFD. In addition to stepping up to work with the Academy and continuing to drive Truck 81, Stella was selected to attend a national leadership conference, and "Protect a Child" featured Stella taking the initiative to start a program encouraging Chicago girls to consider a career with the CFD. Based on another development from "Protect a Child," however, I'm starting to wonder if Chicago Fire will ever give Stella a promotion.
While Stella was impressing Boden with her idea for the "Girls on Fire" program and trying to recruit a female CFD officer to co-sponsor her, Herrmann was trying to assert his officer status at Firehouse 51 and get some officer's quarters for himself. His story in "Protect a Child" was mostly played for laughs, as he used shower curtains to create his own space between Casey and Severide's actual officer's quarters. He accidentally started a fire and was assigned to head to the academy for remedial fire safety training. So what does this have to do with Stella's odds of promotion?
Chicago Fire's promotion of Herrmann really only worked because there was a vacancy thanks to Engine not really playing a big part on the show for most of the series, and "Protect a Child" with the officer's quarters plot suggests to me that Fire was never really intended to have more than two officers. Truck has an officer with Captain Casey, Squad has an officer with Lieutenant Severide, and Engine with Lieutenant Hermann. If Stella gets promoted to lieutenant, then she would presumably have to be moved to another shift or another firehouse with a vacancy in Truck or Engine.
Basically, if Chicago Fire wants to keep Stella Kidd as a main part of the cast, then Stella needs to hold onto her current rank within the CFD. Of course, she does live with Severide (and Casey), is good friends with Brett and Foster, and works at Molly's, so it's not like she'd be MIA altogether if she received a promotion and had to leave her current shift with her current crew.
Still, the idea of Stella scoring a promotion is giving me flashbacks to Gabby Dawson's time as a firefighter. At first, Dawson seemingly could not become a firefighter for Firehouse 51 because she was in a relationship with Casey, who would be her commanding officer, and Fire circulated her through other firehouses. It didn't really work for Fire to have its female lead separate from the rest of the cast, and Dawson was brought back to 51 to work under Casey. Even then, Dawson eventually went back to her work as a paramedic after a brutal miscarriage.
If Chicago Fire wants to avoid complications like what happened when Dawson switched positions within the CFD, Stella may not be able to move up and shake up the status quo. That said, it's not out of the realm of possibility. All three shows of One Chicago received renewals for three more seasons, and Fire surely can't make it to Season 11 without changing the status quo. A lot might depend on which members of the cast stick around moving forward and how Fire recovers from production being halted courtesy of the coronavirus.
Find out what's in store for Stella next with new episodes of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Wednesdays, between new episodes of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. For now, Stella is teaming up with Wendy Seager despite Seager making eyes at Severide during their time together, so things could get more complicated before they get easier.