Unveiling the Truth Behind Jesse Spencer's Departure and the Possibility of His Return to Chicago Fire: Why Did Matthew Casey Bid Farewell?
Captain Casey, one of the original firefighters at Firehouse 51, has been noticeably absent from the One Chicago franchise since his departure in season 10. Fans may be wondering, why did Matthew Casey leave Chicago Fire, and what happened to the character portrayed by Jesse Spencer?
Chicago Fire, NBC’s drama series, chronicles the lives of firefighters, rescue personnel, and paramedics from the fictional Firehouse 51. Spencer first appeared on the show as Lieutenant (then Captain) Matthew Casey of Truck Company 81 in the first season in 2012.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in October 2012, Spencer revealed his initial hesitation towards joining Chicago Fire after playing Dr. Robert Chase in FOX's medical drama House for eight seasons. Despite his uncertainties, he commended the show's superb cast, in particular, Taylor Kinney, who plays Kelly Severide.
So, why did Matthew Casey leave Chicago Fire? In October 2021, after almost 10 seasons on the show, Spencer announced his departure, citing his desire to spend more time with his family and his urge to explore other opportunities after 18 consecutive years in network TV. On a press call, Spencer stated that it was tough to make the decision, but the time had come. Showrunner Derek Haas agreed to let Casey appear in the first five episodes of season 10 to give him a proper farewell and tie back to a storyline from season one that Spencer had always been passionate about.
Haas admitted that he had hoped to convince Spencer to stay, but he respected his decision. Spencer expressed his ambivalence towards leaving the show that he had loved since the beginning, calling it a bittersweet moment. However, he reassured fans that his exit did not mean a permanent farewell, as he still resides in Chicago with his wife and might return in the future.
The departure of Matthew Casey from Chicago Fire marked a significant moment in the show's history, but will he be back for good? In his own words, "It’s been an amazing run. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’ll miss it. I’m stepping away but I’ll be back." Although his departure seemed final, Casey did make a return in season 10, episode 22, as well as season 11, episode 18. In the latter episode, Casey works with the Department of Homeland Security to investigate potential domestic terror attacks across the United States, a serious mission concerning national security. He returns to Chicago to brief first responders in the hope of preventing or stopping an attack in progress. Along the way, he hopes to rekindle a romantic flame with his former love interest, paramedic Sylvie Brett. While it's unclear whether Casey will return to Chicago Fire as a series regular, the possibility remains open, much to the delight of fans who have come to adore the character.
Could Matthew Casey return to Chicago Fire for a longer stint? In an April 2023 interview with Deadline, Jesse Spencer expressed his willingness to reprise his role as Casey on a permanent basis. However, when asked about a possible return to the show, Spencer admitted that it was not up to him to decide. He stated, "I cannot answer that question. The potential to come back would be awesome. I'm always open to that but you know, the ball isn't really in my court. I always told Derek Haas that if there were episodes that he thought would be appropriate for me to come back, then I'm totally open to that because I want to see the old gang and I love working there. But in terms of me coming back full time or something, I have no idea."
During the same interview with TV Line, Spencer revealed that the one thing he did not miss about playing Casey was wearing the heavy firefighter gear. Although he knew where everything was located, the weight of the equipment was a challenge that he didn't want to face again. However, when asked about the possibility of Casey returning to Chicago Fire and reuniting with Brett, Spencer suggested that it was a definite possibility. He pointed out that Casey's original reason for leaving Oregon was coming to an end and it was time for him to reevaluate his life.
Spencer joked about the complications that might arise if Casey and Brett were to reunite. Their relationship had been fraught with challenges and returning to his former flame could be a rocky road. However, Spencer didn't believe that Casey regretted leaving Brett to care for his best friend's children. He explained that Casey is "that guy that's always put everyone else first," and his vow as a firefighter and first responder had often taken precedence over his personal relationships. Nonetheless, Spencer acknowledged that Casey still had deep feelings for Brett and their parting had been due to his duty towards the kids.
Chicago Fire airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Those interested in learning more about Jesse Spencer's personal life and relationships can view photos in our gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their partners.
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