'Chicago Fire': Adriyan Rae on playing new paramedic Gianna Mackey and her connection to a firefighter at 51

Rae's character, Gianna "Mack" Mackey will be joining as Brett's new partner. The actress speaks to MEAWW about what to expect from Mack at Firehouse 51

                            'Chicago Fire': Adriyan Rae on playing new paramedic Gianna Mackey and her connection to a firefighter at 51
Adriyan Rae (Diana Ragland)

For the most part, Season 8 of 'Chicago Fire' ended fairly well, even if the show had to wrap up production early and leave the last few episodes hanging because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. However, it also meant that viewers could not see paramedic Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh) get a proper sendoff after we learned that Foster decided to go back to med school.

This means that in Season 9, a new paramedic will be joining Firehouse 51 as Sylvie Brett's (Kara Killmer) partner. So far, details on Gianna Mackey (Adriyan Rae) have been scarce. However, MEAWW caught up with the actress to speak to her about her new character and how the 'Chicago' family has been treating her.

Viewers will be surprised to know that Gianna Mackey will, in fact, have a previous personal connection to one of the current characters. Nicknamed Mack, Rae tells us that her character grew up in a rough neighborhood in Chicago and has known firefighter Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) since she was born.

Rae tells us, "She’s the girl who grew up a tomboy but has now fully embraced her femininity. She’s quick-witted and super family-oriented. She has a huge heart and a great sense of humor." She continues, "I hope my character finds her home at 51 and grows not just in her career but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I hope to do the exact same thing with my time on the show as well."

Adriyan Rae as Gianna Mackey (NBC)

Rae joins the 'Chicago' family during a time when most things are different but gushes about how the NBC show is still a "well-oiled machine". She tells MEAWW that it is "really cool" to join the show with its "amazing cast and crew", an experience that she is grateful for because she can get back to doing what she loves, especially for the show's ninth season. She says, "It's nice because whilst shooting during a pandemic, we only have the Covid-19 kinks to work through."

So, what is shooting for 'Chicago Fire' during a pandemic like? According to Rae, the producers have taken every precaution possible to make sure their cast and crew stay safe. While the Covid-19 protocols are a departure from what filming used to be earlier, Rae admits that it's nothing they can't handle.

She tells us about some of the protocols followed on set, which include no eating or drinking on the set at all, or while in hair and make-up, adding, "Anything you can think of that requires the removal of our mask around anyone is very limited to certain times and areas." She also says that testing is carried out five days a week and social distancing is practiced at all times.

Rae also credits the "Covid team" who are present during filming. "The Covid team is responsible for cleaning heavy traffic areas between takes as well as enforcing any protocols that people may forget [at] the moment — for example, if they accidentally stand too close to someone on set."

Mack and Brett on 'Chicago Fire' (NBC)

She also tells us that the Covid-19 pandemic will be reflected faithfully on the show, saying, "We don't pretend we are in a different world where Covid-19 isn’t present. Within the world of the show, we have protocols." These protocols include masks as well as temperature checks as the firefighters and the paramedics enter Firehouse 51.

However, the Covid-19 protocols have not taken away from the fact that the 'Chicago Fire' cast has been welcoming. On her cast members, Rae says, "I love everyone honestly. They're the sweetest, most genuine, down to earth, amazing beings. All of them! Not just one or two, All of them! It’s so great!" 

Rae also hopes that viewers will love her character. On Mack, Rae tells us, "She's fun, witty and endearing. Regarding what to look forward to; all I can say is look forward to discovering her journey, and her ability to make awkward moments funny." Will fans have to worry about how Brett will take having a new partner again so soon? We might not have to worry. Rae assured us that Brett and Mack get along well, saying, "they're still learning each other naturally, but get along well."

'Chicago Fire' Season 9 premieres on NBC on Wednesday, November 11, at 9/8c.

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