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Chicago Fire Adds An Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Star To Replace Casey, And I Have Questions

brett dalton jason pelham chicago fire nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Chicago Fire is heading into a whole new era due to the departure of Jesse Spencer as Matt Casey, whose absence is a big deal both for the characters and for Firehouse 51 as a whole. Truck 81 is currently missing an officer, but that won’t be the case moving forward thanks to the casting of an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. veteran to play Casey’s replacement. Brett Dalton, who famously played Ward on S.H.I.E.L.D.,has joined Chicago Fire to play an interim lieutenant who comes to 51 to step into Casey’s shoes. And I have some questions about what it means for the rest of Season 10. 

Brett Dalton has joined Chicago Fire in a recurring capacity to play Lt. Jason Pelham, who Deadline reports will be the interim officer replacing Casey. And fans don’t have long to wait to see Dalton play a very different character than he did on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as Dalton will make his Fire debut in the upcoming November 3 episode. There are no details just yet about what kind of person Pelham is, or how well he’ll fit in with 51, but it should be interesting to see how welcoming the rest of the first responders will be. 

After all, Casey was Truck lieutenant and then captain for more than ten years, working with some of them for even longer than that. Will some of them be resistant to Pelham coming in to replace Casey, or do Casey’s valid and altruistic reasons for leaving mean that they’ll accept Pelham right off the bat? Brett Dalton will be recurring on Fire, so however the rest of the first responders react to Pelham, he won’t be one-and-done after his first appearance. 

The question of how well Brett Dalton’s character will fit into 51 is one that will definitely be answered in his first episode as Lt. Jason Pelham, but there are others that might linger longer. How long will he stick around? He’s only listed as recurring at this point, but recurring stars can turn into series regular stars. They can also run for just a single planned arc and then exit again. As a big fan of Dalton from his S.H.I.E.L.D. days, I wouldn’t mind Fire keeping him around, but the idea of him sticking around could cause sticky issues with Stella. 

Because does Pelham’s presence as the lieutenant on Truck 81 mean that Stella Kidd won’t get that position, even though she earned the rank of lieutenant and worked under Casey on Truck for years? Well, Stella has actually been absent for weeks now, and didn’t even appear in the 200th episode that said goodbye to Casey. She’s been doing good work to expand the Girls on Fire program beyond Chicago, but does that mean she’s missing her shot at leading Truck 81, and staying at Firehouse 51? 

Showrunner Derek Haas confirmed to TVLine that actress Miranda Rae Mayo will be back in the mix on Fire “before the end of this calendar year,” but that doesn’t mean she can just come back and take over as lieutenant. Haas further said: 

Whether or not Stella will be Lieutenant of Truck 81 now that Casey has left is going to be a hot topic of conversation through this next batch of episodes — whether they’re going to hold a spot for her while she’s off doing her good work for Girls on Fire.

Will Brett Dalton’s Pelham simply keep the lieutenant’s seat warm until Stella returns before the end of the year and Miranda Rae Mayo is back, or will it be more complicated than that? Boden would undoubtedly want to give Stella the job at 51, and Pelham is evidently just the interim at 51 when he joins, but fans can probably be confident that things won’t be as simple as Stella coming back and getting the job of her dreams at her current firehouse without some hurdles. Not on Chicago Fire!

And what relationships will Pelham form while he’s in the mix at 51? It’s probably safe to say that he can’t step into Casey’s shoes on a personal front, even if he is able to do the job on Truck. Severide has an arson plot that could keep him too busy to bond with the newcomer anyway, and it’s almost certainly too soon for Brett to get too close to Casey’s replacement. Still, I doubt that he’ll be on an island all his own at 51 through his recurring stint, so who will he bond with? 

See what Chicago Fire has planned for Brett Dalton as Lt. Jason Pelham in new episodes on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC in the fall TV lineup, right in between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. Jesse Spencer isn’t coming back to Fire any time soon, so fans should probably look ahead to the changes that are coming rather than just looking back at the Casey years. 

Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.