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Jesse Spencer Explains Why He Chose to Leave ‘Chicago Fire’ After 10 Seasons — and When He’ll Be Back

Saying goodbye to Lieutenant Matthew Casey — for now. Jesse Spencer exited Chicago Fire during the 200th episode on Wednesday, October 20, episode, with his character choosing to move to Oregon in order to take care of the sons of his former best friend, who had died in a fire during the show’s first season.

Related: One Chicago’s Most Heartbreaking Exits

Behind the scenes, Spencer, 42, decided he wanted to exit the NBC drama during the break between seasons 9 and 10.

“I’ve been doing TV for a long time. I added it up, and I think this year is my 18th year of network television straight since I went straight from House into Chicago Fire. We were coming up to the 200th episode so I called [creator] Derek [Haas], made a personal decision and broke the news that I thought it was time to leave the show and he agreed that we should at least get Casey to 200 episodes,” the Australian actor, who has led the series since its 2012 premiere, told Us Weekly and other reporters on a video call. “It was a difficult decision because I’ve loved this show from the start, but there’s other things that I would love to do in the future and there’s some family that I need to take care of. 18 years is a long time. That’s a long stretch.”

Jesse Spencer Exits Chicago Fire
Eamonn Walker, David Eigneberg, Taylor Kinney, Jesse Spencer, Christian Stolte, Joe Minoso and Derek Haas. Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

He added that while the decision was a “difficult” one, he knew it was right, noting, “When the time comes, the time comes.”

Related: One Chicago Stars Who Left the Franchise: Where Are They Now?

Spencer, who married Kali Carr in June 2020, will remain in Chicago despite his exit — and seemingly plans to come back eventually, especially because of the romance between Casey and Brett (Kara Killmer).

“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,” the Neighbours alum told reporters. “There is the chance that I will come back. We’re toying with, ‘Will Casey come back?’ … That’s a possibility for me too.

Jesse Spencer Exits Chicago Fire Kara Killmer
Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

When asked whether there’s a chance that Casey could return for Stella (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Severide’s (Taylor Kinney) upcoming wedding, Haas, 51, hinted that those discussions have already begun.

Related: TV Stars Who Left Hit Shows

“I’m hoping. 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,” the Wanted writer 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.”

Additionally, Casey didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to Stella. “With Jesse possibly coming back at some point in this season, we’ll see a Kidd/Casey scene I’m sure,” Haas noted.

Jesse Spencer Exits Chicago Fire
Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

For Spencer, leaving the show feels “bittersweet,” but he knows it’s not forever.

“As a lead, you don’t want to leave a show. But I wanted to leave the show. It was time for me,” he said. “It was OK [saying goodbye] because there is the potential for me to come back. I still am in Chicago right now. I’m not running off to Los Angeles or anything although I might escape for a little bit for the winter. … My home here with my wife is in Chicago, and I’m still going to be here, I’m just stepping back for right now.”

Related: TV Stars Who Left Shows and Came Back

The Uptown Girls star continued, “It’s been an amazing run. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’ll miss it. I’m stepping away but I’ll be back.”

Chicago Fire airs on NBC Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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