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Mouch's Worst Season On Chicago Fire

NBC's "Chicago Fire" has featured a rotating cast of characters in its 10 seasons, which is to be expected when the job depicted is so inherently dangerous. Firefighter Randall "Mouch" McHolland (Christian Stolte) is one of just five characters who have been a part of every season, and his 212 appearances in 215 episodes are the third most behind Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) (via IMDb).

Nicknamed for his affinity for the station's sofa, Mouch — half man, half couch — is always there with some words of wisdom for his younger compatriots, sometimes even in Japanese. He's one of many characters to cross over to other shows in the "One Chicago" franchise, as he married "Chicago P.D." desk sergeant Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) in Season 4. 

Mouch is the president of the firefighter's union and has his share of heroic moments and big storylines, even earning the Firefighter's Award of Valor in Season 9. But in one season earlier in the show's run, he is mostly left in the background — except for one potentially life-changing development that inexplicably ends up having zero long-term effect on the show or the character.

Chicago Fire Season 3 introduces us to Mouch's daughter

In Season 3, Episode 15, "Red Rag the Bull," Mouch learns that some of his donations to a sperm bank may have produced children — some of whom are now old enough to reach out to him on their own. He chickens out of an arranged meeting with one potential child, Emmett (Joe Keery), and even lies to Trudy about having shown up.

In the next episode, "Forgive You Anything," Emmett comes to the station to tell Mouch that his actual offspring is Emmett's half-sister Lizzie Schaefer (Corinne Anderson). The episode's final scene, where Mouch finally meets Lizzie, is no doubt made more powerful by the fact that Anderson is Stolte's real-life daughter, but any chance to bring that genuine emotion back to the show is wasted as we literally never see or hear from Lizzie after their restaurant reunion.

For the rest of Season 3, Mouch is mostly relegated to the show's background, making this unnecessary two-episode wringer seem all the more senseless. The writers paint the department's father figure as nervous at the prospect of being an actual father, and then fail to deliver on what could have been a powerful and revelatory subplot. His only moments in the spotlight in Season 3 come within a storyline that could have lent some fascinating depth to his character, but instead was abandoned without explanation or having left any kind of impact on the show.