'Chicago Fire' Veteran Set to Return

Chicago Fire will see the return of a veteran star who is set to make an appearance during Taylor Kinney's absence. According to Variety, Jesse Spencer — who portrayed Lieutenant Matthew Casey for the show's first nine seasons — will be returning to reprise his role. Spencer exited the series in 2021, during Season 10, after 200 episodes.

Variety reports that he will return for the 18th episode of Season 11, though details about his storyline are being kept private. Spencer's return comes as Kinney — who plays Lieutenant Kelly Severide — is taking a leave of absence from the show. The actor has not spoken out about his temporary exit, other than to say that he needs time to "deal with a personal matter." Kinney's leave succeeds the news that Chicago Fire co-creator Derek Haas — who has been the series showrunner for all 11 seasons of the NBC drama — is leaving Wolf Entertainment at the end of Season 11. Notably, Haas is also the showrunner of CBS' FBI: International.

"Although I am leaving Wolf Entertainment next year to focus on creating new shows, I'm entirely committed to delivering amazing episodes of Chicago Fire and FBI: International through the end of the current seasons," Haas told Variety in a statement in November. "I learned everything I know about storytelling, pace, characters, production values, and hiring the best cast, crews, and staffs from Dick Wolf and Peter Jankowski, and as hard as it is to leave a place you love and have called home for over a decade, including incredible support from Universal Television, NBC and CBS, I look forward to building my own brand in entertainment." It is currently unclear if Haas has any new shows in development.

The Chicago exits continue to roll in it seems, as Jesse Lee Soffer left Chicago P.D. back in October. Soffer had played Senior Detective Jay Halstead since Season 1. The show is currently on Season 10. Prior to Soffer's exit, Chicago P.D. showrunner Gwen Sigan spoke with Variety and hinted at how the exit would impact the character's wife, Detective Hailey Upton Halstead (Tracy Spiridakos).

"It's certainly been a challenge, but I'm really proud of where we came out of it, because I think we've given Upton a really interesting story this season as to how she deals with this. She's someone that is so loyal and so attached to him. It's not just a marriage, they also are partners and they're partners in a job that is a pressure cooker. Their lives are at risk all the time, especially how we play it on the show," Sigan said in September

She added, "To suddenly not have that second half of who you are puts you in a very vulnerable and raw place. As we know, Upton is very strong and she's also someone who's very guarded and likes to have control of her emotions and likes to be able to deal with things. This puts her in an interesting spot, and we definitely see how it falls out. That's been really exciting to write and I think will be something really interesting for Tracy to play. She's been killing it."