Chicago Fire: 7 Biggest Questions (And Answers) For Season 10 After Jesse Spencer's Exit As Casey

chicago fire jesse spencer matt casey
(Image credit: NBC)

Chicago Fire delivered arguably the biggest game-changer in its ten seasons so far when the 200th episode said goodbye to Jesse Spencer as Matt Casey. Spencer’s exit didn’t come as a huge surprise, as Fire brought back the Darden boys earlier in Season 10 to set up a reason why Casey would actually leave his family at Firehouse 51. Still, it was an emotional episode that balanced saying goodbye to Casey (and Jesse Spencer) with setting up what comes next for Brett, Severide, and the rest at 51. There are plenty of questions as Season 10 moves forward; fortunately, thanks to Spencer and showrunner Derek Haas, there are also some answers. 

Jesse Spencer and showrunner Derek Haas spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets in honor of Chicago Fire’s 200th episode. On top of breaking down Casey’s difficult decision and his final scenes of the series as a regular, they weighed in on what the future looks like for Fire, the status of Brettsey moving forward, whether Spencer could return, and more. Let’s start with the most pressing question! 

chicago fire matt casey jesse spencer

(Image credit: NBC)

Will Jesse Spencer Return As Casey?

Chicago Fire gave Jesse Spencer about as open an ending as possible, not killing Casey off like Otis or Shay and not sending him away indefinitely like Dawson. Casey himself repeatedly said that he could be back in three years, after both Darden boys were 18, and he still has close bonds that he fully intends to hold onto with the people he left behind in Chicago. So Casey could return; will Spencer do it? Derek Haas previewed what’s on the way:

Look, Jesse's been more than generous, more than generous. So we didn't want to... I'm sure I'm gonna hit him up. But for now, he's finished for a little bit. Look at his beard!... We are going to hear his voice. We are going to hear his voice after the 200th.

Fans shouldn’t expect to see Casey back in the flesh any time soon (and Jesse Spencer can keep on growing a non-Casey beard if he wants to), but apparently Spencer will make at least one voice cameo after Casey made the move to Oregon, and Derek Haas hopes to reach out to Spencer at some point. Given that there was no guarantee that Spencer would come back in Season 10 for enough episodes to hit 200 as Casey, it’s pretty easy to agree that Spencer was generous for what he has already delivered in Season 10.

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(Image credit: NBC)

Will Casey Return For Any Major Events?

Since Casey himself made the point that traveling between Chicago and Oregon doesn’t mean cutting all ties, he’s only a plane ride away from the people he loves who are still in Chicago. Plus, Casey is meant to be Severide’s best man at his wedding to Stella Kidd, so it’s hard to believe that Casey wouldn’t be back at all for big events. When asked about possibly returning for a special event, Spencer responded “I mean, how could I not?” Derek Haas weighed in himself, saying:

Yes, I'm hoping. Here's the thing: I never try to predict what's going to happen production-wise, but we're in the camp of whenever Jesse wants to come do an episode with us, we will move mountains and earth to make that happen. So we've been talking, we've been talking, we've got some ideas of what that would be. And I'd say you hit the nail on the head on what some of those moments might be.

Nothing is guaranteed about Jesse Spencer returning to Chicago Fire in Season 10 – or even Severide and Stella tying the knot in Season 10, for that matter – but Derek Haas’ willingness to accommodate Spencer whenever he wants to come back bodes well! Considering Casey and Severide had one of the strongest and longest-running relationships by the time Casey left, it would be a shame if Severide got married without Casey standing by his side as best man. 

chicago fire brett and casey nbc

(Image credit: NBC)

Will Brett And Casey Stay Together?

Chicago Fire spent much of Season 9 raising big questions about Casey’s future and where his heart truly lay, only for Casey to decide that he wanted a future with Brett by the end of the finale. Brettsey were going strong in Season 10, up until the considerable curveball of Casey deciding he needed to move to Oregon. Brett chose not to uproot her life to go with him, but they decided to keep their relationship going long distance by the end of the 200th. But can that stick for three years, when they’ll be building lives independent of each other and forming other bonds? 

Jesse Spencer shared his perspective on the relationship when the time came to plan how Fire would write out Casey, and whether he could return to pick Brettsey up where they left off in the 200th episode:

That was the one part of [Casey leaving], because we'd been establishing this relationship for what, three years? And we finally just got there. And Derek used it well in the storyline that Casey's leaving and going to Oregon for the right reasons. It all felt really organic. It was difficult because I really like Kara [Killmer], you know, we've established a really, really nice relationship. I loved working with her, we got on so well. And there is the chance that I will come back too, so we're sort of toying with, will Casey come back? If that's a possibility. I mean, me and Derek talked about that, and that's a possibility for me, too. But I think it was written really well into the episode because they're trying to make this relationship work. But they know that he's leaving. So they're sort of saying, 'nothing's gonna change.'

Casey and Brett trying to keep their relationship going as if nothing has changed is certainly optimistic, and it makes sense that they’d want to put every effort into making it work. Jesse Spencer and Kara Killmer definitely put in the time and effort for the storyline, and the big Brettsey development at the end of Season 9 happened before the Fire team had to start planning out the steps leading to Casey saying goodbye. Derek Haas confirmed that the storyline is going to continue even without Spencer on screen. He shared:

We're gonna keep it alive. We're in a day and age where, because of FaceTime and easy airline tickets and phone calls... I was telling Kara, like, I'll go off for six months to do a movie, you know, when my kids were little, but that's just part of the world, nothing changed. And so this is a three-year commitment that Casey's making, but hopefully we'll see him before those three years are done.

Brett and Casey don’t exactly have to start communicating by snail mail just because Casey moved away. They may not be sharing drinks at Molly’s or spending shifts together at 51, but there’s no reason why they can’t try to keep their romance going from hundreds of miles apart. Whether that will work in the long term remains to be seen, since Brett’s story will have to keep going in Season 10. Which brings us to...

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(Image credit: NBC)

What's Next For Brett?

Brett has had the paramedicine program as a storyline in Season 10 as well as her relationship with Casey, so Chicago Fire isn’t out of stories for her just because Jesse Spencer decided it was time for him to leave. And she has some strong friendships at 51 as well, with Violet as her paramedic partner and Mouch as her teammate with paramedicine in particular this season. Derek Haas previewed what’s ahead for Brett: 

She's gonna be in a long distance relationship for a while. We have some plans.... You'll get some interesting storylines... it's not going to take you to the end of the season to see some Brett developments. But she's not single.

The showrunner didn’t drop details about what these “interesting storylines” will entail, but fans still have reasons to be excited for what’s in store for Brett that don't necessarily revolve around missing Casey. And Chicago Fire was able to continue Casey’s story after saying goodbye to Monica Raymund’s Dawson, so there’s precedent for big breakups not tanking character development. 

chicago fire jesse spencer as matt casey

(Image credit: NBC)

What's Next For Truck 81 Without Casey?

Of course, Casey leaving doesn’t just mean changes in the relationships with the people he left behind. He was the highest-ranking officer other than Boden at Firehouse 51, and arguably the anchor of the whole house as the leader of Truck 81. His absence will change the balance of the entire firehouse, and Truck 81 is now in need of a new officer. Derek Haas explained what comes next for 81 after losing Casey as captain:

Herrmann's Engine Lieutenant, and I think that's gonna stay. We're doing a major storyline over who's going to be next to be the commanding officer of Truck 81. So I don't want to spoil anything, but that becomes a storyline for the next several, not even several, like through the winter break, because obviously there is some shifting chairs within the firehouse. We were glad to bring Boden back in the 200th, because if Jesse is leaving, it felt like we needed somebody there to keep it from being so untethered. So as we were mapping all of these moves out, one of them was having Boden come back.

The next commanding officer of 81 won’t be decided and settled within the first five minutes of the next episode, which presumably means that it won’t be as simple as Stella Kidd returning to Chicago and being handed the spot of lieutenant on Truck at 51. Since she’s the only other firefighter at 51 who has earned the rank of lieutenant but doesn't yet hold that position, fans may want to prepare themselves for a new character coming in. Whether or not that’s the case, at least Boden is back after Kylie made a lucky discovery in the 200th episode!

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(Image credit: NBC)

Will Stella Kidd Get Closure? 

Stella was actually notably absent from the 200th episode, as she’s still working on advancing the Girls on Fire program beyond Chicago. She did get a mention, and she’s clearly coming back, but she didn’t make it back to 51 before Casey made his exit. Even though they talked off-screen about his departure, fans never got to see any closure or see if Casey had any thoughts for what she does next. Derek Haas shared: 

We're just playing her off screen for right now. She went to go do the Girls on Fire program in Boston, but that becomes a story going forward because the spot on Truck 81 is potentially open and she hasn't come back to claim it as of the next episode after this one. So yeah, that has its own issues and ramifications, but with Jesse possibly coming back at some point in the season we'll see a Kidd/Casey scene, I'm sure.

It would be a shame if Chicago Fire couldn’t use Jesse Spencer’s departure as a way to give Stella a spot as lieutenant without making her leave 51, but things are rarely ever straightforward on this show. If Stella does get to take the vacant spot on Truck 81, there may be some hurdles to getting there. At least Derek Haas seems optimistic about Spencer potentially coming back!

chicago fire severide and seager season 10 nbc

(Image credit: NBC)

What Happens Next Without Casey?

At the end of the day, Matt Casey is gone from Chicago Fire, there are no concrete plans for Jesse Spencer’s return other than his voice in Season 10, and the show must go on despite the huge change. The 200th episode did more than just bid Casey a farewell, as it introduced a fairly gruesome new arson case for Severide as well as advancing the paramedicine story and even hinting that Herrmann may not be wholly out of hot water for his lie to CFD brass earlier in Season 10. Showrunner Derek Haas spoke about what Casey’s exit means for what happens next: 

Part of conceiving the storyline was to make it to where everyone understood why he was doing what he was doing, so that you didn't have to have this sort of haunted presence... So we're going to see some obviously aftereffects with Brett, it's going to be hard on Brett going into a long distance relationship, and not knowing what the rules are of a long distance relationship. And all of that will be a big part of what's going on at the beginning of the season. We have Severide obviously, looking at Casey's quarters, going by, in the next episode, what that means to him. And then we'll play around with everyone's reactions to that and obviously the Truck 81 is the big storyline going forward. Who's going to be in command there?

Casey will be gone but not forgotten, and it sounds like fans have a lot to look forward to as Chicago Fire moves forward into a new era. The show is already guaranteed at least one more season beyond Season 10, and it is currently going strong enough at the center of NBC's Chicago Wednesdays that it's hard to imagine the network cancelling Fire any time soon. Still, hopefully Taylor Kinney isn't going anywhere this season! It would be rough to lose both Casey and Severide in the span of one year. 

For now, fans can see what happens next after Jesse Spencer's departure as Casey with new episodes of Chicago Fire, on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. The Dick Wolf TV universe as a whole is going strong, with the FBIs recently expanding to include a third show, Law & Order: SVU hitting its 500th episode, and news that the original Law & Order will be returning to NBC.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).