After Violet's Loss, Chicago Fire Found A Touching Way To Call Back To Characters Who Died

Hanako Greensmith as Violet in Chicago Fire Season 11
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 4 of Chicago Fire Season 11, called “The Center of the Universe.”

Chicago Fire had to deal with the aftermath of tragedy in “The Center of the Universe” as Violet struggled with the death of Hawkins at the end of the previous episode. While the whole firehouse wanted to be there for her and Brett and Kidd made some care package deliveries, it was Severide dropping by with a story (and a six pack) that called back to some past tragedies that got her out of her apartment and back to work. 

The show has gone through so many changes over eleven seasons that it can be easy to forget some of the losses of the earliest days. Severide turned up at her apartment, invited himself in, and took Violet on a blast to the past to when she was still years away from joining the crew at Firehouse 51. He wanted to tell her about Anna, who longtime Fire fans will remember as Severide’s girlfriend from Season 5 who died from leukemia. (You can revisit Season 5 streaming with a Peacock subscription.) Severide shared:

The two toughest things I’ve ever been through were losing Shay and losing [Anna]. And for the longest time, after Anna died, I felt like a boat cut loose from the dock, just lost, nothing to hold on to. I don’t like to think about how low a bottom I might have hit if I hadn’t gone back to work. That’s just my take, having been where you are.

His words hit home to Violet (and probably fans), but she confessed that she was afraid she’d see Evan everywhere if she went back to the firehouse. Severide – who probably could relate very well to this after losing Shay – told her that he saw Anna wherever he went too “for the longest time,” but he saw his crew at 51 even more clearly as they checked in on him. 

Although she was in tears by the end of their conversation, Violet also clearly appreciated how he’d opened up to her and revealed that somebody truly did understand what she was going through. His speech also honored not only Anna, but also Shay. Lauren German’s character dying in the Season 2 finale (which was only really explored in Season 3) was one of the first big blows to a major cast member in Fire history.

And the speech worked! Violet returned to work, made a pretty miraculous save on her first call back with Brett, and felt comfortable enough to drop by Severide’s office for a few more words of wisdom when she needed to understand how to live with the hole in her heart. Severide admitted that he’s no expert in grief, but went on to share: 

My feeling is, all you can do is think of them, talk about them as much as you can, so in some way it’s like they’re still here.

Violet was emotional all over again after he shared his advice, and I can admit that I was too! Chicago Fire has said goodbye to a lot of characters over the years, some more permanently than others. A mention every now and then like Severide remembering Shay and Anna is just nice to see, even if also a little sad. 

Only time will tell if these conversations with Severide help Violet move on enough to the point that she’s done with her on-screen grieving, and it seems clear that her partnership with Brett makes her stronger when she’s in need of support. 

Find out with new episodes of Chicago Fire on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between Chicago Med (which just introduced a new character who is going to be important before losing another) at 8 p.m. and Chicago P.D. (which is getting complicated for Torres) at 10 p.m in the 2022 TV premiere schedule

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).