With eight seasons and nearly 200 episodes of television, Chicago Fire has remained a mainstay for NBC. Alas, the same cannot be said for more than a few of its prominent cast members. As the One Chicago spin-off continues going strong on its broadcast station, several main players on the show have left or been written off in some fashion or another. Ultimately, each departure is different than the other, so let's take this time to explore the various reasons why certain actors on the popular dramatic television series have either opted to leave or found themselves taken off.
Naturally, given the fact that we're talking about actors leaving the hit NBC show, you can expect some heavy spoilers for Chicago Fire henceforth.
Teri Reeves (Dr. Hallie Thomas)
While Teri Reeves served as one of the series regulars during the first season of Chicago Fire, it wasn't meant to last. Playing a physician, Dr. Hallie Thomas was in a relationship with Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer). Ultimately, towards the final episodes of this freshman season, Dr. Hallie Thomas was killed after being struck in the back of the head. It was revealed that the belated character was murdered. While there isn't a clear reason given as to why Teri Reeves was written off Chicago Fire, the character decision was seemingly made in the hit show's early days, and that it didn't have to do with Reeves or her performance. Rather, in order to build the dramatic stakes in this first season, Dr. Thomas' death added emotional heft.
Lauren German (Leslie Elizabeth Shay)
As Leslie Shay, a paramedic in Ambulance 61 at Firehouse 51, Lauren German was a main player during Chicago Fire's first and second seasons. However, towards the end of season two, Leslie Shay was killed by a man who stalked her. The character made a few appearances in Season 3 in the form of flashbacks, but the character's journey ultimately came to an untimely end in the show's early seasons. In a 2014 interview with TV Line, executive producer Matt Olmstead explained that they wanted to kill of a character that would have a big dramatic and emotional impact, and they felt that, as difficult as it was, it would be Leslie Shay's death that cut the deepest. Olmstead claimed Shay's exit "affected the most people" overall.
Charlie Barnett (Peter Mills)
During the first three seasons of Chicago Fire, Charlie Barnett's Peter Mills served as a series regular. However, as the third season was winding to a close, the show-runners decided that it was time for Peter Mills to go his own way. The character decided to leave the team and move closer to his family in order to avoid living in his late father's shadow. Ultimately, in an effort to introduce fresh blood to the firefighter series, executive producer Matt Olmstead explained to TV Guide that it was time to let some characters go, in order to prevent the series from becoming a "clown car" filled with too many characters. In the end, it was a difficult decision, but it was also one Olmstead believes was right. Once again, the choice to let Peter Mills walk away from the show doesn't appear to be related to Charlie Barnett or his performance. Rather, the show-runners wanted to give the guy an out.
Dora Madison Burge (Jessica "Chili" Chilton)
After serving as a guest star during the show's third season, Dora Madison was promoted to series regular in Season 4. In the role of Jessica "Chili" Chilton, Madison played the paramedic-in-charge of Ambulance 61 and served as a replacement for Peter Mills. However, that was a short-term position, as Jessica Chilton was taken out of the show shortly thereafter when she was fired for drinking on the job. Ultimately, the choice to write Chili off Chicago Fire didn't have anything to do with Dora Madison or her performance. Rather, according to executive producer Matt Olmstead, it was a decision made by the executives to keep the audiences in suspense, knowing that characters could leave at any point in the program — not merely in the season premiere or the season/mid-season finale. Something major could happen anytime. Here's how Olmstead explained it to THR.
Steven R. McQueen (Jimmy Borelli)
Introduced in the show's fourth season, Steven R. McQueen became a regular in the role of Jimmy Borelli during the show's mid-point. However, by Chicago Fire's fifth season, Jimmy Borelli had exited Ambulance 61 after the show-runners felt it was time for his character to go. In an interview with TV Line, executive producer Michael Brandt explained that the decision for Jimmy Borelli to leave Chicago Fire was ultimately one based on his character's history, and one that felt natural for the progression of the show.
Once again, it doesn't seem like there was any ill-will with the actor nor his performance. Rather, this is where the show-runners felt the series was heading with this character, and that his time in the show's narrative with the other characters drew to a close. When it came to the narrative-at-hand, the decision among the show-runners was that this was the end.
With Chicago Fire still going strong after eight seasons, there are many dramatic twists-and-turns still to be found in the NBC program. Nevertheless, these are the biggest departures from the firefighter/paramedic show, though there is still the possibility that some other major players will meet their end on the series — in some fashion or another. Specifically, there are reports that Taylor Kinney's Kelly Severide might soon be leaving the show. Will the show see more characters exiting in the future? Viewers will simply have to tune in to NBC when the show returns to find out what happens next.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.