Season 12 of 'Chicago Fire' Is "Heating Up"! But Where Is Donna?

Donna Robbins hasn’t been seen on ‘Chicago Fire’ since Season 9. Despite teases of her return, it's Season 12 and fans are still waiting.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Feb. 14 2024, Published 10:10 p.m. ET

Donna Boden holding a baby on 'Chicago Fire'
Source: NBC

Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for Season 12, Episode 4 of Chicago Fire.

As Season 12 of Chicago Fire is underway, we can’t help but remember all the characters we’ve met along the way. Since 2012, Dick Wolf’s premiere One Chicago series has kept us aboard the franchise with a “burning” passion. But some of the lovers in the series haven’t been as strong as they once were, such as Donna and Chief Wallace Boden.

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Donna and Boden married at the end of Season 2 of Chicago Fire, but by Season 9, Melissa Ponzio, who played Donna, stopped making regular appearances. Now that Boden’s ex-wife Shonda has appeared in Season 12, fans are worried about what happened to Donna and if she and the Chief are still married.

Donna Boden and Chief Boden hugging in 'Chicago Fire'
Source: NBC
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What happened to Donna on ‘Chicago Fire’? She hasn’t appeared since Season 9.

Observant fans noticed something was up with Donna when she stopped appearing in Chicago Fire. Season 10 was the first season Melissa didn't make even one episode appearance and her absence didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, fans missed her so much that executive producer Derek Haas teased her return in September 2022 to TV Insider.

“You’re going to get to see some faces that you haven’t seen in a while,” he told the outlet of the then-upcoming Season 11, “which is Boden’s son, Terrence, it’s been a couple of years at least since we had a Terrence appearance. So he’s back and we’ll see our usuals: Cindy [Robyn Coffin] and Donna [Melissa Ponzio] … All the 51 spouses at some point.”

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Donna and Chief Boden about to kiss in Chicago Fire
Source: NBC

Despite Derek’s confirmation, Donna didn’t appear in Season 11, which leaves us wondering if something more happened to her. It’s most likely that whatever scene or storyline she was part of was cut in the editing room or that she had filming conflicts and just couldn’t get to the set for whatever her return was supposed to be. It’s even possible that the 2023 writers or actors strike affected Donna’s storyline.

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Chief Boden is still married to Donna, despite Shonda’s return to ‘Chicago Fire.’

While we know that Boden and Donna are totally endgame, the Chief was married to a woman named Shonda (Shanesia Davis) before he met Donna. Shonda’s son, Jimmy, was like an actual son to Boden even though he was really his stepson. When Jimmy comes to Boden for help in Season 12, Episode 4, after Shonda is put in jail, Shonda’s confession of the crime creates a rift between Jimmy and Boden.

Eamonn Walker as Chief Boden in 'Chicago Fire'
Source: NBC

The most likely explanation for Donna’s absence is just that Melissa has been fairly busy. She played the mom, Melissa McCall, in Teen Wolf, and in 2023, Paramount Plus cast her in their reboot film, Teen Wolf: The Movie. She also played Ms. Idle in Popular Theory, Carolyn in The Girl from Plainville, and Debra Simon in Die Hart. So perhaps if Melissa’s schedule cools down, we’ll finally see Donna and Boden’s happy life together.

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