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Lieutenant Kelly Severide's Best Chicago Fire Moments, Ranked

Gruff, tough, and good in a crisis, Lieutenant Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) has been the hot-headed heart of Firehouse 51 since the 2012 debut of "Chicago Fire." He's a consistent presence on the squad, and a thorn in the side of most authorities, other than Chief Boden Wallace. Severide is no angel, but he grows from being a great firefighter with rage, communication, and commitment issues to being a great firefighter with slightly fewer issues. That might sound like a minor change, but as fans know, it's anything but. Plus, he ends up getting into a committed relationship with Stella Kidd.

Though Severide keeps his heart far away from his sleeve, it's usually in the right place. He cares deeply for his team, his friends, and his city. We're here to celebrate what makes this wonderful character tick by taking a look at his greatest triumphs, tragedies, and rescues. These are Lieutenant Kelly Severide's best "Chicago Fire" moments, ranked from the merely impressive to the absolutely heart-wrenching.

14. Severide's chainsaw joke

Kelly Severide's got jokes — sometimes. Not exactly known for being the firehouse cut-up, Severide still manages to display a wicked sense of humor ... unfortunately for Otis Zvonecek. When sweet, nerdy Otis and Severide's half-sister Katie develop a mutual crush, Severide gleefully plays the role of scary big brother. While Katie likes Otis, she appreciates Severide looking out for her — and laughs heartily at his death stare in Season 2 Episode 9, "You Will Hurt Him."

A little mean-mugging never stopped Otis before, so he asks Severide for his blessing to ask Katie out. Severide, who knows Otis is a good guy, has a little fun with the boy in puppy love. Severide revs a chainsaw, and keeps a straight face as Otis' eyes go wide. Of course, when Otis finally shows some proper nerve, Kelly gives his blessing in Season 2 Episode 12, "Out with a Bang." Severide never means Otis any real harm. It's just an incredibly fun showcase of Severide's dry humor, and a delightful bit of bonding between brother and sister ... even if it is at poor Otis' expense.

13. Severide and Casey's cigar chats

Kelly Severide and Matt Casey don't start as besties right out of the gate. They approach life and firefighting differently, and their default modes create tension between them. While both men are committed to their work, Casey is sometimes tied to a faulty rulebook. In contrast, Severide flares hotter than the fires they fight. Especially in early seasons, their dynamic is often one of ice and fire.

Still, the men develop a tight bond despite (or perhaps because of) their differences. In large part, this is due to their cigar chats. While two buds kicking back with cigars in front of a firehouse might not be the best thing for firefighters' public relations, it creates ironclad trust and connection between two very different men. A shorthand is created: Either Casey or Severide offer up some smokes, so they can take a beat to share great advice and gossip about their love lives. It's one of those tender touches that make fans adore Severide.

12. The not-like-this kiss

Kelly Severide and Stella Kidd have had their share of romantic "ons" and "offs." By Season 6 of "Chicago Fire," they're in the "off" stage because they had the brilliant idea to be platonic roommates. What could possibly go wrong?

While Severide and Kidd succeed (briefly) at keepings things friendly, things go south when Kidd gets drunk at Molly's in Season 6 Episode 6, "Down is Better." Severide escorts her to their shared (and cavernous) apartment, and Kidd lays a big kiss on him — but Severide gently rebuffs her. "Not like this," he says, though he clearly feels something for her. It's the right move, and one that feels like part of a new and improved Severide at this point in the show. He and Kidd part ways, and don't reunite until the end of Season 6, when their eyes — and heads — are clear.

11. Severide tells Javi how Cruz saved his life

Severide is no stranger to adoring eyes. Women, children, people he's saved from arsonists — heck, even the arsonists he's saved from fires — all look at him with some measure of awe. When Cruz brings young Javi to 51 for some junior firefighter training in Season 11 Episode 2, "Every Scar Tells a Story," it's no different. The kid only has eyes for Severide ... or so it seems.

While Cruz loves that his team is giving their all to Javi, it's clear he's a bit bummed Javi admires Severide and his good stats so openly. Severide notices, and tells Javi the story of the time Cruz saved his life. He isn't showy about it, only very straightforward. Javi looks at Cruz with wonder as Severide admits he wouldn't be alive without him.

This is a subtle, sweet moment in which one friend helps another look cool in front of his kid. But as it turns out, Severide doesn't need to do anything to talk Cruz up to Javi. Javi informs Severide that Cruz has always been his hero. Awww. Call the squad, because our hearts are melting.

10. Using his wits and a textbook to escape a truck

For all of Severide's tough talk, he's a pretty soft touch when it comes to kids — and a quick thinker when they get stuck in rogue backhoes. In Season 2 Episode 6, "Joyriding," Severide goes for a run and discovers a boy trapped in a truck. The kid is badly injured. Severide tries to mitigate the damage, but soon enough, the truck tips over. Both he and the wounded boy are trapped.

Severide struggles to find a way out of the situation while keeping the boy calm. The kid, it turns out, was trying to show his absentee Dad that he didn't need him to teach him things like how to drive a backhoe. It's poignant, but honestly, the kid could really use some pointers. Severide bonds with him over his own dad issues, and eventually rights the backhoe by using metal from the spine of the boy's textbook to jumpstart the truck. This episode is a stirring reminder that Severide's courage and compassion under fire, combined with his Macgyver-level skills, always save the day.

9. Severide and Casey leap into the river as a fireball explodes

Between Kelly Severide and Matt Casey, the former is typically the one who pulls off risky, last-minute saves. But it's Severide's turn to be the scared goody-two-shoes when Casey proposes a harebrained jump off a building set to explode in Season 6 Episode 11, "Law of the Jungle."

Severide's eyes go wide and he shakes his head when he realizes Casey wants them to run to the edge of the building and make a leap for the river below. It's a rare reversal of roles between the two men, but there's really no time like the present to change when imminent death is involved.

Together, Severide and Casey run off the edge of the roof, just as a fireball rolls up behind them. It is literally hot on their heels. Thankfully, they do manage to make the jump. Audiences love seeing Severide and Casey switch personalities for the length of this daring escape. Fun fact: This is also one of Taylor Kinney's favorite scenes on the show.

8. Proposing to Kidd in the middle of a fire

Kelly Severide and Stella Kidd ride a wooden rollercoaster of love, and in Season 9 Episode 15, it's literally on fire. "A White-Knuckle Panic" follows Severide as he has second thoughts about proposing to Kidd after she makes lieutenant. He confides to Casey that she once expressed she would never get married again, because she always wants the option to leave. Casey tries to reassure Severide, who becomes completely lost in his own head about his plans.

Later, when Kidd refuses to leave a restaurant fire without rescuing Severide, his nerves are replaced by a wild desire to propose right on the fiery spot. In true deeply-reckless-but-still-heartfelt Severide fashion, he does just that. Severide yanks off his helmet, inhales a bunch of smoke, and proposes to Kidd while flames flicker around them.

Kidd says yes and lays a kiss on Severide. That's right: The two impulsive lovebirds have a make-out moment inside a burning building. While we're not sure what kind of omen this is for a marriage, it's certainly proof that Severide is a hunk of burning love who follows his heart no matter where it leads him.

7. Benny's funeral

Kelly Severide and his father Benny have issues, to say the least. Throughout the series, Severide suffers from the pain of Benny's abandonment. Eventually, despite Benny's past sins — and the many surprise half-siblings that get sprung on Severide — the pair tries to reach some sort of middle ground.

Severide's struggle to have some kind of relationship with the father he rightfully resents is deeply relatable, and made even more poignant when Benny dies of a stroke in Season 7 Episode 6, "All the Proof." Severide overlooks his past beef with his father (and the fact that Benny totally had the mobster who kidnapped Katie Nolan killed) to give a moving speech at his funeral in Season 7 Episode 7, "What Will Define You." Severide is devastated by his father's death, and audiences know their fan-favorite doesn't handle anguish well — especially since he's constantly losing people close to him. Watching Severide push Stella and others away after losing Benny is a moving reminder of his deep vulnerability.

6. Standing up to Riddle

Kelly Severide doesn't like rude and manipulative Deputy District Chief Ray Riddle. He also doesn't like getting demoted. But when Riddle tries to make Severide betray Chief Boden in order to get promoted back to lieutenant, he's in for a big surprise — even if audiences aren't.

Severide is loyal, and suffers no fools. He would rather lose out on his rightful role to Patterson than give Riddle the satisfaction of siding with him instead of Boden. Plus, there's the matter of the little wedding that could. In Season 4 Episode 5, "Regarding this Wedding," a couple has nowhere to get married after their ceremony is ended by a fire. Boden being Boden, he tries to save the day with a firehouse wedding. Riddle refuses, and tells Severide to back him — but Severide backs Boden instead, proving that even when it's against his own best interests, Severide will do what's right for the people he cares for — and for those who deserve better.

5. Severide vows to be a better man for Kidd

Kelly Severide knows from pain. It often seems like not a month goes by where the man doesn't lose someone close to him, a promotion, or some aspect of his health. It's understandable, then, that Severide might not always bear his hardships with a smile. This is certainly the case after Severide's father Benny dies. Even though Stella Kidd works hard to care for him during his grief, he shuts her out. Eventually, she ends their relationship. It's just heartbreak upon heartbreak for Severide. 

Then, in Season 7 Episode 22, "I'm Not Leaving You," Severide disappears, and Kidd grows worried. She seeks Severide out in his father's old cabin in the woods. Kidd fears what she might find — but Severide greets her and tells her she deserves a better man. "I'm going to be the man you deserve," he says. Severide finally lets Kidd in, and they make up.

4. Severide saves an arsonist

Lieutenant Kelly Severide ultimately becomes arson's Benoit Blanc. He searches for patterns and clues that eventually lead him to arsonists trying to literally burn everything down. In Season 8 Episode 10, "Hold Our Ground," Severide and an arsonist become trapped in a fire the criminal set. Severide can get out alive if he saves himself and leaves the arsonist behind, but in true heroic fashion, he goes back for the bad guy.

Before the arsonist becomes incapacitated by his own handiwork, he has the audacity to threaten Severide with a road flare. Severide tries to talk sense into the man, but it doesn't go well. The arsonist sets the room ablaze. Moments later, falling bits of building pin him to the ground — and it's up to Severide to save his life. When Severide claws them both to the safety of Chicago's sunny streets, the arsonist asks him why he worked so hard to save him. Severide's simple answer sums up why so many fans love him: "I'm a firefighter," he says.

3. His reaction to Anna's death

For all of Severide's womanizing ways, he really knows how to pull out a grand gesture for a select few lucky ladies. In particular, Severide gives Anna Turner something far better than flowers: bone marrow without anesthetic. We'd say take a girl to dinner first, but dang, Severide. You do you.

Donating bone marrow is the ultimate meet-cute for Severide and Anna. They briefly date, but things get complex when Anna's cancer returns. Anna dies in Season 5 Episode 20, "Carry Me," and it hits Severide — and the audience — like a ton of bricks. He begs Anna to fight, but she is weary and ready to go. Plaintively, she asks Severide to carry her. When she passes, Severide weeps and begs the doctors to do something, anything, to save her.

Even though Severide has just lost Anna, he goes to check on an elderly woman who would not leave her burning home, because she spent her life there with her husband. While he's comforted the older woman before, this time, she comforts him. Severide lets her, crying for Anna while letting himself be carried.

2. Trying to save Leslie Shay

Kelly Severide and Leslie Shay are best friends from Season 1 onward. The two share a tight bond, an apartment, and the impulse to take matters into their own hands, even when they really shouldn't. Tragically, in Season 3 Episode 1, "Always," Shay dies, and Severide is powerless to save her. While Dawson throws herself into trying to revive Shay, Severide's eyes go wide. He looks lost, shocked by the sight of her. Though he tries to help Dawson revive her, there is no joy. Shay becomes the latest victim of the arsonist who has targeted Firehouse 51 for decades.

Severide's failure to save his best friend haunts him for the rest of Season 3. It's hard for Severide to let anyone in, which makes this all the more difficult. His friendship with Shay exemplifies the intimacy and lightness Severide is capable of, as well as the darkness that can set him back. Losing such a bond is a massive blow.

1. J.J. and Pouch

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If Severide meets a woman he likes, is she bound to die a terrible death to haunt him forever? For all his good looks and swagger, Kelly Severide has terrible luck in love — especially for a womanizer. Case in point: Season 4 Episode 20, "The Last One for Mom."

After clicking with Detective Holloway, Severide offers to help her son J.J. film a "day in the life" project while the detective undergoes surgery. Though J.J. has a great time bonding with Severide, the firefighters, and Pouch the dog, his poor mother dies on the operating table.

It falls to Severide and J.J.'s aunt to break the bad news to the poor kid. He is utterly heartbroken as he leaves the station. Mouch gives Severide his blessing, and Severide brings Pouch the station dog out to the kid. He gently asks if it would be alright if the kid looked out for him for a while. Severide also lets J.J. know he can call and talk anytime. It's a sweet, subtle, and heartbreaking reminder that Severide knows how to have someone's back, no matter how big or small the back is. He's one of the best characters on "Chicago Fire," and this scene is a great example of why.