- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[This story contains spoilers for the 200th episode of NBC’s Chicago Fire.]
Chicago Fire reached its milestone 200th episode Wednesday — and said goodbye to one of its original castmembers.
Jesse Spencer is departing the series after having been one of the first actors cast in the NBC drama back in 2012. The series laid the groundwork for his character, Lt. Matthew Casey, to leave Firehouse 51, in the early episodes of this season when Griffin Darden (Cameron Scott Roberts), the son of a firefighter killed in the series pilot, contacted Casey seeking help for him and his brother.
Casey, who had been a father figure to the boys following their dad’s death, decides to move to Oregon to keep the boys from being split up and sent to foster care. That means leaving his family at the firehouse and putting a lot of distance between himself and Brett (Kara Kilmer), although the couple agrees to try to make the relationship work long distance.
“I added it up, and this year is my 18th year of network TV, straight — I went straight from House into Chicago Fire,” Spencer told reporters about his decision to leave the series. “Coming up to the 200th, I called [showrunner Derek Haas] and broke him the news that I thought it was time to leave the show. He agreed we should at least get Casey to 200 episodes.… It was a difficult decision, and I hate to leave the show because I do love it, but when the time comes, the time comes.”
Haas said he “of course wanted to talk Jesse into staying” but was grateful Spencer agreed to do the first five episodes of this season to give Casey a fitting sendoff.
“That let us bring back a storyline from season one that I know Jesse was excited about when we pitched it to him, to bring back the Darden boys and really tie in the pilot to Jesse’s leaving,” said Haas.
The final scene Spencer filmed before wrapping was on the show’s burn stage: The squad has put out a fire in a church and is doing an “overhaul” inspection afterward. During a break in filming, Spencer said, his castmates started banging the pike poles they were carrying on the floor and chanting. “It was something else,” he said.
As Casey prepares to leave Chicago, the crew from Firehouse 51 gathers, and Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) tells Casey how much he has meant to them: “Everyone you met along the way got to call you friend. Everyone you worked with on a shift, we got to call you brother. This place will never be the same. I thank you for your kindness, your generosity and your passion for this job. You will be dearly missed, brother.”
“Every now and then you write scenes where you want cast and crew to hear what’s in your own head,” said Haas of the goodbye scene. “Then you get to put it into the mouth of a way better speaker than you, like Eamonn Walker. It was a tough scene to write…. He meant so much to me that I wanted to end the episode with that.”
With Casey and Brett hoping to continue their relationship, Spencer said there’s a chance he could return to Chicago Fire at some point. Casey won’t be on screen FaceTiming with Brett in the immediate future, however.
“Casey’s going to Oregon for the right reasons. It felt organic,” Spencer said. “I really like Kara, and we have a really nice relationship. We got on so well. There’s a chance I’d come back. That is a possibility; we’ve talked about it.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day