What hurts the most when it comes to TV shows?

Is it when the season ends? Hiatuses? Or are you a viewer who simply hates when a cliffhanger is thrown into the mix to ensure you can’t stop thinking about it?

There are many nitpicks and grievances that different fans have with their favourite shows, but one is definitely goodbyes.

Sure, they don’t happen as often and can pop up for different reasons, whether the actor wishes to step down or the writers simply decided it was the end of the road. After all, good things must come to an end, right?

When you’ve been on the air as long as Chicago Fire, there’s more reason for audiences to feel concerned when it comes to potential exits.

Created by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, the first in the One Chicago franchise premiered on NBC back in 2012 and has secured a devoted fanbase over the years. Across nine seasons a number of fan-favourites have been established, and inevitably, people don’t want to see anybody go now that season 10 has welcomed them back into the fold.

Even after the first couple of episodes, paranoia has already begun to settle in, especially in regards to Joe Minoso’s series regular. So, is Cruz leaving Chicago Fire?

still from Chicago Fire promo, NBC, Wolf Entertainment, YouTube

Is Cruz leaving Chicago Fire?

No, although the character is under a great amount of stress as of late, the actor who portrays him has made no announcement regarding a series exit.

In fact, recent interviews have demonstrated that Joe is optimistic about Cruz’s path.

While in conversation with TV Insider, Joe opened up about his thoughts for the character’s future, explaining that he believes he’ll hopefully be “back on top” later in the season:

“A lot of what’s wrapped around this psychological trauma could very easily end up with him having to revisit the hospital or maybe a therapist, who knows. But ultimately I think we’re going to hopefully move forward later in the year and Cruz will be back on top.”

Essentially, Chicago Fire fans have grown increasingly concerned for Cruz’s health in the wake of his traumatizing near-death experience.

Although this development could have signaled or foreshadowed that the actor or character was going to move on, it can also be understood as a way to develop the character further. After all, putting characters through hardships and seeing them come out stronger often brings us closer to them.

As things stand, it appears this may very well be the case with Cruz.

Chicago Wednesdays Trailer

Chicago Wednesdays Trailer

“It’s going to take the help of the entire team”

Reinforcing that earlier sentiment, it’s not only Cruz who stands to come out stronger from this ordeal but the wider team too.

Watching the crew help and lean on one another is arguably one of the show’s highlights, and Joe has reflected upon what’s in store for Cruz as we progress through the season:

“Over the course of the first few episodes, we’re going to be watching Cruz deal with really kind of a psychological trauma after the events of that capsized boat, which is making it difficult for him to perform everyday functions as a firefighter, especially as a member of Squad.”

He added: It’s going to take the help of the entire team to see if we can pull Cruz out of that mindset and back into a place where he can really attack the job the way he usually does.”

What happened to him?

The trouble began in season 9 episode 16 – ‘No Survivors’ – when Cruz and others noticed somebody trapped in an underwater vessel. They tried to help them to safety but the thing collapsed during the process, stealing away precious oxygen.

It ended there and audiences were eager to learn of their fate. Fortunately, the latest season brought with it answers.

Crew Lieutenant Kelly Severide saved the day but since then we have watched Cruz spiral in response to the trauma; he has begun to freeze etc.

Throughout the season we’re likely to chronicle his transition back into normality, although it’s sure to be a rocky road.

Chicago Fire continues on Wednesdays on NBC.

In other news, Who are the Tracksuit Mafia in Hawkeye? Gang's origin explored