‘Chicago Fire’ Boss & Jesse Spencer on Casey’s Tough Decision and Brettsey’s Future

Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey in Chicago Fire
Spoiler Alert
Lori Allen/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Chicago Fire Episode 200.]

After 10 seasons and 200 episodes, the One Chicago drama says goodbye to original cast member Jesse Spencer.

Yes, as the end of the previous episode and as promos hinted, Captain Matt Casey does leave behind 51 and Chicago to move to Oregon to look after the sons of his best friend, Andrew Darden (Corey Sorenson), who died in the pilot. But there’s an end date — three years, when the youngest, Ben, turns 18 — and Spencer hasn’t ruled out returning in the future.

To say goodbye, Spencer and executive producer Derek Haas spoke with reporters about the milestone episode and the future for Casey. Read on for the scoop.

Writing Casey’s Exit

Spencer made the decision between Seasons 9 and 10 and let the cast know. “We had an open secret basically on set,” he says. As he notes, he’s in his 18th straight year of network television, having gone from House to Chicago Fire in 2012. “I called Derek [and] he agreed that we should at least get Casey to 200 episodes,” he continues. “It was a difficult decision because I’ve loved the show from the start, but there’s 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.”

Because Spencer returned for these five episodes of Season 10, Haas and the writers were able to craft a farewell arc that brought back a storyline from Season 1: Casey taking care of the sons of his fallen best friend. That “felt like full circle because we didn’t want to kill Casey,” Spencer says. With everything (including his relationship with Kara Killmer‘s Brett) going well, “we had to throw a spanner in the works. … He made a strong connection with the kids and then he always wanted kids. … [This was] a really reasonable way for Casey to organically leave the show.”

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey in Chicago Fire

Lori Allen/NBC

The last scene of the episode sees the original cast bidding Casey farewell as he tries to leave without a big scene. “That was a really difficult scene to write,” Haas says. “You feel it intensely. Sometimes you picture what it’s going to be and then it’s better than what you thought it was going to be. Jesse meant so much to me. I wanted to end the episode with that. And in fact, I never do a preamble in a script, but then this one, because it was the 200th episode, I had a little preamble in the script about what the crew and the cast and everybody means to me.”

But the last scene Spencer filmed was the aftermath of Casey’s last call, a fire at a church, and the subsequent overhaul. “It was hard to film that,” the actor shares. “There was a strange feeling on set, but a happy feeling on set. It’s bittersweet. … We started with fire, and we ended with it.”

The 200th didn’t have too many callbacks — Cruz (Joe Minoso) and Chloe (Kristen Gutoskie) do name their baby after his fallen best friend, Brian “Otis” Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov) — because Haas “didn’t want this to be a weird stunt-y episode that took the focus away from Casey and Casey leaving.” That being said, “I still want some surprises for the fans and to bring back characters that we haven’t yet,” he adds.

Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey in Chicago Fire

Lori Allen/NBC

Will Casey Return This Season?

At the very least, this wasn’t the last time you’ll hear him. “We are going to hear his voice after the 200th,” Haas reveals (and no, it’s not tied to a farewell with Miranda Rae Mayo‘s Stella, who’s in Boston for her Girls on Fire program).

When it comes to Spencer returning, “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,” the EP says. And there is a strong possibility that he could appear for Severide (Taylor Kinney) and Kidd’s upcoming wedding since Casey is supposed to be the best man. “How could I not?” Spencer asks when it comes to returning for that monumental event. But nothing’s set in stone yet.

Will Brettsey Stay Together?

Fans waited to see Casey and Brett finally get together, and they did at the end of Season 9. And in the 200th episode, he asks her to move to Oregon with him. But with her life in Chicago, including the paramedicine program she just started, she turns him down. For now, they’ll be giving a long-distance relationship a try.

Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey in Chicago Fire

Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

“We’ve established a really, really nice relationship. I loved working with [Kara]. We got on so well,” Spencer says. “And there is the chance that I will come back. … They’re trying to make this relationship work.”

Haas promises they’re keeping the Brettsey relationship “alive” and she’s not single, noting that there’s “FaceTime and easy airline tickets and phone calls. … This is a three-year commitment that Casey’s making, but hopefully we’ll see him before those three years are done.”

Still, it won’t be easy. “We’re going to see some after-effects 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,” the EP continues. “All of that will be a big part of what’s going on at the beginning of the season.”

Also, expect “some interesting storylines” coming up for Brett, he teases. “It’s not going to take you to the end of the season to see some Brett developments.”

Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden in Chicago Fire

Lori Allen/NBC

The Future of 51

With Casey gone, who’s taking over as Truck 81’s commanding officer? That will be “a major storyline,” Haas says, one that goes “through the winter break.”

It seems that the obvious choice would be Kidd, who passed the lieutenant’s test last season and has been expecting to have to transfer once a spot opens up at a house. “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,” he continues. “That has its own issues and ramifications.”

When it comes to 51 and Casey’s absence, “we have Severide 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,” the EP says.

Boden (Eamonn Walker) did return to 51 in the 200th, thanks to Kylie (Katelynn Shennett) looking at the current map. It just so happens that now, 51 is exactly where the deputy district chief’s office should be. “If Jesse is leaving, it felt like we needed somebody there to keep it from being so untethered,” Haas explains of that move.

Chicago Fire, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC