Spoilers ahead for Episode 9 of Chicago Fire Season 9, called "Double Red."
Chicago Fire delivered a bad blow to Casey in "Double Red," physically and perhaps also professionally depending on what happens next. He suffered a serious head injury while on the job, and longtime Fire fans will remember that this isn't the first time Casey took a hard hit to the head. He was rushed to emergency surgery back in Season 2 when a beam fell on him, and it was clear even years ago that Casey's noggin couldn't be knocked too hard again. "Double Red" gave him that knock, and it's one of the latest of several plot twists that lead me to wonder if Fire is setting Casey up to say goodbye.
First things first: Casey's latest injury. After being dragged by a car and sustaining a head injury, Casey was suffering from serious headaches and trying to self-medicate with aspirin rather than seek medical help. His reason for avoiding any official diagnosis became clear when he started going back through his old medical records, which said:
Due to the nature of the injury, another head injury could exacerbate trauma to a debilitating level.
For Casey, his concern may be more on what another head injury would mean for his career than his overall health, but his health could be in serious danger of declining to that debilitating level if he doesn't take steps to make sure that he's okay, which could mean stepping away from the action to prevent further injury. From the vibes I've been getting from Fire lately, I'm really starting to think that this is the show setting up to say goodbye to Casey without killing him off or shipping him off to Puerto Rico off-screen.
Speaking of being shipped off to Puerto Rico, the recent mentions of Casey still being hung up on Dawson are what started me thinking that Season 9 could be Casey's swan song even before the head injury. Monica Raymund left Fire as a regular after Season 6, resulting in a Dawsey divorce, but she returned in the Season 8 fall finale to prove that the sparks still fly when Dawson and Casey get together, and it's hard to argue that they don't still love each other.
As of Season 9, Brett is convinced enough that Casey is still in love with Dawson that she yelled it at him in the firehouse and told him to reach out and resolve it. That speech seemed to be reopening the door for Dawsey (and possibly closing the door on Brettsey for the foreseeable future), but my sticking point last week was that Monica Raymund may not be likely to return to Fire for more than the occasional guest shot. Now, I can see this as Fire writing Casey out of his job (and the show) due to the head injury, and that opening the door to revisit Dawsey rather than Dawson needing to return full time.
Also, Casey had a loaded exchange with his sister over their uncle's Rolex when Casey explained that he didn't want to sell because his uncle had kept the watch with his wife's initials engraved for the 50 years between her death and his own. Casey commented that his uncle was "hung up on her that long" and he didn't feel right selling it. His sister suggested that their uncle wanted him to be the one to open the box, and that Casey should keep the watch. When Casey asked why he should be the one to keep it, she said:
That'll be for you to figure out.
I can practically hear the Dawsey theme playing over the soundtrack with that line! With the exception of Stella and Severide, I can't think of any other major Fire pairing that conversation would apply to. Plus, there was still one more moment from the episode that leaves me thinking that Casey could be on the way out. After Stella surprised Severide (and Casey) with a basketball game for the loft, Casey said:
Maybe I'll be out of here sooner than you think.
Now, Casey was clearly referring to possibly moving out of the loft so that Severide and Stella can move forward (even though Severide is cool with Casey staying), but there could be multiple layers of meaning to that sentence. Besides, Chicago Fire has been going for nine seasons, and that's a long time for an actor to stay on a show. Maybe Jesse Spencer is ready to move on, just as Monica Raymund moved on before him.
Am I connecting dots that aren't there with his injury? Maybe, but I think there are too many twists that point toward Casey possibly saying goodbye to dismiss as coincidence without at least considering them. And based on how Chicago Fire has written Casey for the better part of a decade, I don't see Casey leaving the CFD or Chicago without being killed off unless it's to be with Dawson. So if Casey is saying goodbye, wouldn't it be best for him to be alive, off-screen, and in character with Dawson than dead and gone for good, no matter how you feel about Dawsey?
Chicago Fire returns on Wednesday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC to reveal what happens next for Casey. One Chicago is still going strong, and the Dick Wolf universe is just weeks away from growing yet again thanks to Law & Order: Organized Crime. Crossovers between One Chicago and the Law & Order shows may not be likely for the foreseeable future, but all three Chicago-based shows and SVU are all already renewed for another two seasons, so anything is possible.