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Why Stella Kidd From Chicago Fire Looks So Familiar

Dick Wolf produced one of NBC's most beloved and popular franchises: "Law & Order." The series, which is set to come back with its 21st season, has produced its own universe of successful spin-off shows. Lightning doesn't strike twice, but apparently, no one said that to Wolf, as he and NBC hit it big again with another inter-connected franchise of TV shows. Known as the "One Chicago Universe," it includes a collection of shows focused on the careers and personal lives of first responders in the Windy City.

In 2012, the "One Chicago" franchise began with "Chicago Fire," which placed the spotlight on a team of firefighters. During the fourth season, fans were introduced to Stella Kidd, played by Miranda Rae Mayo. Mayo's start on the series may have been a recurring role, but she'd been bumped up to the main cast by the next season and has been with the series ever since. Her character Stella is a fan favorite as she's blossomed into a confident leader. And she probably has one of the show's most popular romantic pairings, thanks to her relationship with Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney). While fans are welcoming Stella's return on "Chicago Fire" after being absent for several episodes during Season 10, they may have also scratched their heads wondering where else they've seen the woman who plays her. As it turns out, Mayo has appeared in some other very notable TV shows.

Mayo's first TV role was actually in another Dick Wolf show

"Chicago Fire" may be the first time Mayo has portrayed a firefighter. However, this isn't the first time she's ever worked on anything created by Dick Wolf. In 2011, Mayo landed her first TV role in "Law & Order: LA," a spin-off series that traded in east coast crime for the west coast. Mayo played a character named Anna in the episode "El Sereno." The episode centered on a mass murder at a primarily Hispanic office. "Law & Order: LA" didn't have a long span on television as it was canceled after one season. Still, as the first role for Mayo, the actor remembers being grateful for the opportunity.

As she said in an interview for Fangirlish, "I remember feeling so excited that I had booked a job. It had been over a year of me auditioning for TV and film and not booking anything, so when I finally did, it felt so surreal and very exciting."

Mayo's current role as Stella on "Chicago Fire" truly brings her career full circle, but if she had her way, she'd love to revisit "Law & Order." She noted in an exclusive Looper interview that as far as dream crossovers for her character, she certainly wouldn't mind if Stella went to work with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) of "Law & Order: SVU." Our fingers are crossed for that "Chicago Fire" and "SVU" crossover special.

Mayo's earlier work had her playing love interests

Following her appearance on "Law & Order: LA," Mayo's career continued to grow with a string of recurring roles on some huge shows. As she said in an interview for ISSUE, she considers her proper first Hollywood break to be her recurring role as the character Patreece Sheibani in several episodes of the BET dramedy series "The Game." She also continued her working relationship with NBC, when in 2013, she scored a recurring role on the longstanding soap opera "Days Of Our Lives." On "Days Of Our Lives," she played a journalist named Zoe Browning. Her character Zoe appears for 15 episodes of the series as an editor for a magazine called Sonix and becomes romantically involved with Chad DiMera (Casey Deidrick). However, her storyline wraps up on the soap as, despite her efforts to woo Chad, she discovers his heart still belongs to Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi).

Mayo's experience playing a character involved in a romance that ultimately becomes doomed would come into play for her in her next significant role. She appeared in the fifth season of the teen thriller series "Pretty Little Liars," where she played Talia Sandoval, who becomes the love interest of Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell). While their first steamy kiss hinted at a new long relationship, by the episode "Bloody Hell," their romance had abruptly ended.

She went missing in True Detective

2015 served as a productive year for Mayo. After her time on "Pretty Little Liars," the actress got the chance to be on a major HBO show. Mayo appeared on Season 2 of HBO's "True Detective," where she played Vera Machiado. The character is a 24-year-old waitress who goes missing, which forces Sergeant Antigone "Ani" Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and detective Elvis Ilinca (Michael Irby) to search for her whereabouts. Bezzerides manages to locate Vera in the episode "Church In Ruins." In the following episode, "Black Maps and Motel Rooms," what info Vera is able to offer ultimately helps the protagonists piece together a massive conspiracy.

As a whole, the second season of "True Detective" didn't live up to its first season as numerous critics gave it mixed reviews. Variety even named the season as one of the worst shows of 2015. But the ratings for the second season weren't exactly a disaster (via Time). And Mayo's time on "True Detective" certainly raised her profile as more fans possibly became introduced to the actor thanks to the role.

She played Don Johnson's daughter in Blood & Oil

Mayo capped off her busy year in 2015 by appearing in an original ABC series called "Blood & Oil." The prime time soap opera dealt with the residents of Rock Springs, North Dakota, which erupted with change due to a massive discovery of oil. "Blood & Oil" featured the type of family betrayal, deceit, and secrets we're used to on shows like "As The World Turns." But it also had a solid cast that included Chace Crawford, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Don Johnson, and Mayo.

Mayo played Lacey Briggs, the illegitimate daughter of Johnson's character Harlan "Hap" Briggs in the series. Speaking with The Herald & Review about the role, Mayo recalled that the writers of Blood & Oil tried to make Lacey similar to Mayo's personality. Mayo also spoke about her first meeting with Johnson, which started with a friendly hug between the onscreen father and daughter.

"I met him at our table read," she said to the Herald & Review. "I walked in the door, and he gave me the biggest hug. He was so warm and welcoming and told me he had been rooting for me since he saw my taped audition."

While "Blood & Oil" placed Mayo in a very big role, the show didn't, unfortunately, make it past its first season. Yet as we know, Mayo wasn't absent from our screens for long, as the following year she would begin her long tenure on "Chicago Fire."