Chicago Fire spoilers follow for season 9, which has yet to begin in the UK.
Chicago Fire's season 9 premiere turned out to be a very eventful first episode for new character Gianna Mackey.
Played by Vagrant Queen star Adriyan Rae, the paramedic was first held at gunpoint with Sylvie Brett while treating a patient, and then was in the ambulance as it was rammed off the road. Speaking to Digital Spy, Rae spoke of her delight at the action-packed introduction her character got.
"I was very happy!" she said. "I loved to hit the ground running, and it was really fun and it gave my character so much dimension.
"You got to learn about her through how she handles the situations rather than – sometimes they explain things with writing and people just say things so that you can know more about the character, but this way really allowed me and viewers to learn about her through how she reacts.
"So I thought that was really, really cool. Also, it was really cool to do scenes where you're held up at gunpoint and the ambulance flies over a cliff."
Following the crash, Gianna initially has doubts about continuing at Firehouse 51 but after a heart-to-heart chat with Joe Cruz, she puts the incident behind her and returns to work.
"I think that the life of first responders is, they go through things quite often that are rattling," Rae said. "But the thing that makes them so amazing and so great at their job is the fact that while it can be rattling, they'll feel it, they'll push it to the side, and they get back to what they need to do.
"They can go back to saving lives and helping the community. And I feel like that's the type of person Gianna is as well, so that's what makes her a very good paramedic and a very good fit for 51."
Gianna has had a gripping introduction, but what can we expect to see from her in the weeks ahead?
Firstly, it seems likely that her "big brother/little sister-type" relationship with Joe will be explored a little.
"They've known each other her whole life and they have a bond that comes from Gianna's older brother, who has passed," Rae explained. "And it's a very deep bond that they have because of that, because Joe was like best friends with Gianna's older brother.
"They're like family but not blood, but blood couldn't make them any closer."
When asked if fans will get to know Gianna better in upcoming episodes – and possibly even meet her family and friends outside of work – Rae didn't rule anything out.
"I think there's always the chance to get to know the personal touches of each character at places like Molly's or these one-on-ones that they have with other characters on the show," she responded.
"So perhaps you will get to meet Gianna's family and know more about them in these upcoming episodes."
And, of course, viewers will continue to see more of Gianna as she responds to calls and is thrust into action as part of her job.
"You can expect to learn a lot more about Gianna and how she handles conflict, and how family-oriented she is," Rae added. "So there are a lot of things that are coming up. There's more fires, more actions, all coming to your screen."
Chicago Fire has been a hugely popular series for NBC. Not only is it on its ninth season (with two more seasons already ordered), but it also played a massive part in the formation of the Chicago franchise which includes Chicago PD and Chicago Med. So what makes Chicago Fire special?
"I think that it resonates with so many people because – it showcases our everyday heroes and them doing what we find amazing, but also showcases them as people as well," Rae said.
"We get to learn about the inner workings of this everyday hero and how they might handle things or interact. It makes us feel closer to them. So maybe that's why it resonates so much."
Chicago Fire airs on NBC in the US and on Sky Witness in the UK.
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