Why Jesse Spencer (Matt Casey) Left the Show in Season 10

After an impressive tenure on Chicago Fire (and TV in general), Jesse Spencer decided to step back from his role as Matt Casey to shift his focus elsewhere. His presence will be missed on the long-running procedural drama. Of course, Matt Casey's exit from Chicago Fire was bittersweet. However, the way the series handled Casey's farewell instilled too much hope to believe it really was the end for the beloved fire chief.

Chicago Fire launched Dick Wolf's One Chicago franchise on NBC, which now includes Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. Jesse Spencer starred in the drama as good-hearted, lovable firefighter Matthew Casey since its debut in 2012. Before his departure, he was one of six remaining series regulars from the first season. His final episode (for now) was the series' milestone 200th. Matt left Chicago for Oregon to look after Andy Darden's children, a storyline that makes a lot of sense. Andy's legacy was ingrained in the series since he passed away in the pilot.

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Why Did Jesse Spencer Leave Chicago Fire in Season 10?

Coincidentally, Spencer's reasons for leaving Chicago Fire weren't too different from Matt's — family. He spoke with TV Line about how his extensive television career (8 years on Fox's House M.D. and the decade on Chicago Fire) contributed to his decision: "It was a difficult decision because I've loved the show from the start, but there are other things that I would like to do in the future, and there's some family that I need to take care of, and 18 years is a long time."

Chicago Fire's showrunner Derek Haas echoed those sentiments in the same interview: "I was, of course, wanting to talk Jesse into staying and coming back. But I was very happy that he gave us five more episodes than just saying at the end of a season, which happens sometimes, too, like, 'I'm out.'"

Haas explained how Spencer's early notice let the series bring back a key storyline from Season 1 — allowing Casey's journey to come full circle beautifully. Griffin and Ben Darden spent a good portion of the first season with Matt after their father and firefighter Andy passed away and their mother Heather ran into some legal issues after an accident.

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They faced some understandable challenges, but Matt and the boys became a unit after a while. The boys opened their hearts up to Matt, and Matt returned their vulnerability. It was a heartfelt story that let fans get to know Matt, progressed his future romance with Gabby Dawson, and instilled family values as a cornerstone for the character.

Is Jesse Spencer Coming Back to Chicago Fire?

Those values persisted for the remainder of Casey's time at Firehouse 51, which was fitting considering how the firehouse is more than a workplace. The relationships Casey fostered there remain with him in Oregon. Matt's distance didn't abruptly sever those bonds, whether it be his friendship with Taylor Kinney's Kelly Severide or his current romance with Kara Killmer's Sylvie Brett, which is why the door remains open for Matt Casey's return.

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The Brettesy relationship is so new; it would be frustrating to see it end so soon. Haas and Spencer agreed, and Spencer told as much to US Weekly: "We've been establishing this relationship for three years and we finally just got there. Casey's leaving and going to Oregon for the right reasons. There is the chance that I will come back. We're toying with, 'Will Casey come back?' … That’s a possibility for me too."

It sounds as though Casey's return is already in the cards (or at least in discussion) since wedding bells are ringing in Chicago Fire's near future. Kelly, Matt's best friend, is engaged to a fellow firefighter Stella Kidd. Simply put, no one other than Matt can or should be Kelly's best man.

When pressed by US Weekly on whether Casey could return for the festivities, Haas said: "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 what some of those moments might be." It's easy to interpret an answer like that as Casey's exit is more of a "See you later" than a permanent goodbye, because this firehouse family is forever.

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About The Author
Shelby Elpers (7 Articles Published)

Shelby Elpers spends most of her time writing in-depth pieces about vampires, superheroes, and romantic comedies. She is a TV Features writer at CBR. She is also a Senior Writer at Fangirlish and Staff Writer at Tell-Tale TV. In addition, Shelby's an avid podcast listener and green tea drinker. Follow her on Twitter at @shelbbs247

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