Note: contains spoilers for all seven seasons of Chicago Fire.
NBC action-drama Chicago Fire – which follows the lives of the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Firehouse 51 of the Chicago Fire Department – has never shied away from hard-hitting action and it seems that there's a lot more to look forward to now the show has been renewed for season eight.
"We remain in awe of the job Dick Wolf, our producers, casts and crews do in creating some of the most compelling television today," said NBC’s co-presidents of scripted programming Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta. "The Chicago franchise is a lynchpin of our schedule and we’re thrilled that audiences have embraced our Wednesdays with such incredible passion for these shows and characters."
So, what do series creators Michael Brandt and Derek Haas have planned for the show's future?
Here's everything we know so far about season eight.
Chicago Fire season 8 premiere date 2019: When will it air?
All seven seasons of Chicago Fire so far have hit US screens in either September or October and this year will be no different. NBC have now officially confirmed that season eight will premiere on September 25, holding on to its usual Wednesday night time slot.
Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment gave a statement on the matter to Variety:
"The 'Chicago' franchise is a lynchpin of our schedule and we're thrilled that audiences have embraced our Wednesdays with such incredible passion for these shows and characters."
Chicago Fire season 8 cast: Who's coming back?
Viewers were extremely surprised when Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) returned at the end of the season seven premiere. The paramedic had taken a volunteer job in Puerto Rico to help the victims of Hurricane Maria, which eventually turned into a permanent position. That meant leaving behind her husband Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer), despite Gabby suggesting that he join her. But he refused.
The couple had been talking via video chat earlier in the episode but we certainly didn't expect to see her standing before Casey in their living room, particularly after Raymund announced her departure from the series following her contract expiration.
But any hope of a reunion was dashed after the pair finalised their divorce. Even though Casey still hasn't moved on emotionally from his ex-wife, the chances of Raymund returning are slim.
There have already been a number of close shaves this series – both Casey and Lieutenant Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) have narrowly avoided death – so there's always a chance that any of the following main cast members could be cut from the fold: Spencer as Casey, Kinney as Severide, Paramedic in Charge Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), Lieutenant Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg), Firefighter Brian "Otis" Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov), Firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), Firefighter Randy "Mouch" McHolland (Christian Stolte), Firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) and Paramedic Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh).
It was reported by Deadline last year that both Spencer and Kinney had only signed one-year deals, which would carry them to the end of season seven but no further.
Reports also reveal that a new paramedic will be joining Chicago Fire season 8 in a recurring role. According to TVLine, the character will be "like Anderson Cooper minus a couple dozen IQ points."
Does this mean that Brett is on her way out? The addition of a new paramedic certainly hints at that, although maybe she's just ready for a career change. Either way, it will be exciting to see how this unnamed character might change the dynamic of the show moving forward.
Chicago Fire season 8 plot: What will happen?
The season seven finale of Chicago Fire ended with some major cliffhangers surrounding a factory fire and Brett's reluctant decision to accept Chaplain Kyle's proposal. Unfortunately, NBC have mostly held back on season 8 spoilers thus far, making it hard to predict what's next for everyone's favourite firefighters.
However, Chicago Fire co-creator Derek Haas did reveal a photo of the first episode's script which is titled "Sacred Ground," so make of that what you will.
Chicago Fire season 8 episodes: How many can we expect?
Seasons one to seven all feature more than 20 episodes, so barring a seriously big revamp or the end of the show altogether, we would expect season eight to have at least that number.
Chicago Fire season 8 Trailer: When can we see it?
Given that Chicago Fire season eight will start on September 25, fans shouldn't have to wait much longer for a trailer to appear online.
Chicago Fire season 8: Where will it be filmed?
While most American shows tend to film their episodes in Canada, Chicago Fire has traditionally been shot in Chicago, which makes sense given the name. It's pretty safe to assume that season eight will continue to be filmed in Chicago too.
Chicago Fire season 8: When and where can I watch it in the UK?
While some of the earlier Chicago Fire episodes (season two, to be precise) are currently airing on 5USA, the latest season began airing on Sky Witness back in January, and is also available to watch on Now TV.
So we would expect season eight to eventually make its way onto Sky/NowTV at the beginning of 2020.
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