CHICAGO FIRE Post-Mortem: Derek Haas and Jesse Spencer on Casey's Big Decision in 'Two Hundred' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO FIRE Post-Mortem: Derek Haas and Jesse Spencer on Casey’s Big Decision in ‘Two Hundred’

October 20, 2021 by  

Chicago Fire Jesse Spencer exit

CHICAGO FIRE — “Two Hundred” Episode 1005 — Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey — (Photo by: Lori Allen/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the CHICAGO FIRE episode “Two Hundred.”]

After 200 episodes, Jesse Spencer is exiting CHICAGO FIRE.

Though the show had been hinting at his possible departure this season, as Andy Darden’s (Corey Sorenson) sons came back into his life, Casey (Spencer) officially opted to make the move to Oregon in “Two Hundred”—with new girlfriend Brett (Kara Killmer) opting to stay in Chicago.

“It was a very difficult episode to write,” showrunner Derek Haas told reporters. “[Jesse]’s been incredible from day one. I remember when he walked into the audition room and I thought, ‘We have a show that’s going to go a long time now.’ And he’s been incredible since the first day of the pilot to right now. [He’s] one of my favorite people, beyond acting, and one of those guys that…it’s not often you want to hang out after work, and yet, any time I was in Chicago, I would call Jesse and say, ‘Let’s get together.'”

For Spencer, who has been consistently on network television since HOUSE started in 2004, “I realized I’ve been doing TV for a long time,” he explained in the video below. “I went straight from HOUSE into CHICAGO FIRE. And we were coming up to the 200th episode, and so I called Derek…and broke him 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. 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 [combined on TV] is a long time, that’s a long stretch.”

“It was a difficult decision,” he continued. “I hate to leave the show, because I do love [it], but you know when the time comes the time comes.”



Having the show—which kicked off NBC’s ONE CHICAGO franchise—make it to 200 with so many original cast members still there remains a shock to Haas. “Anything past the first 13 episodes was a bonus—you just don’t know when you sign up,” he said. “And also, by the way, move to a different part of the country, and stay on…I just feel like we’ve been in borrowed time for a long time. And I was, of course, want[ing] to talk Jesse into staying and coming back and doing all the things, as long as we could. But I was very happy that he gave us five more episodes [rather] than just saying at the end of the season—which you know happens sometimes, too—that I’m out.”

With things actually going well in Casey’s life, figuring out a way to remove him from Chicago wasn’t the easiest of tasks. “When we were trying to figure out how to write me out by the 200th, we were spitballing a little bit,” Spencer noted. “And then the idea of bringing Griffin and Ben came back up. And that felt full circle, because we didn’t want to kill Casey. But how do we get him out? He’s in this new relationship and things were going relatively well. So we had to [figure it out].”

“And harking back to the Darden days, when Casey’s best friend dies…he made a strong connection with the kids, and then he always wanted kids since then–and then adopted a kid and lost it,” Spencer continued.

Going back to the storyline also included going back to the real house where they filmed the pilot. “That house was still boarded up,” Spencer marveled. “I couldn’t believe it—it’s been like that for nine-plus years. So to go back to that house, too, was awesome. For Casey to go over how his best friend died and have to explain it to his son, the scene played itself…the guilt and the longing and then the desire to pull together and help the kid, which is what he always wanted…It felt so organic, for me, and a perfect full circle, I think, and a really reasonable way for Casey to organically leave the show.” (Haas credited head writers Andrea Newman and Michael Gilvary for coming up with the Darden storyline.)



Of course, the Brett of it all—and Brett and Casey only just starting their relationship after being will they/won’t they for so many seasons—made things a bit difficult.

“That was the one part of it that, because we’d been establishing this relationship for [so long]…and we finally just got there,” Spencer noted. “Derek used it well in the storyline that Casey’s leaving and going to Oregon—for the right reasons. It all felt really organic. [But] it was difficult because I really liked Kara. We’ve established a really really nice relationship. I loved working with her; we got on so well.”

“And, you know, there is the chance that I will come back, too,” he continued. “So we’re sort of toying with the [question of] will Casey come back? That’s the possibility, I mean Derek talked about that; and that’s a possibility for me too. But I think it was written really well into the episode, because they’re trying to make this relationship work. But they know that he’s leaving, so they’re sort of saying, nothing’s gonna change, but…”

“We’re gonna keep it alive,” Haas said. “We’re in a day and age where because of FaceTime and easy airline tickets and phone calls…so this is a three-year commitment that Casey making. But hopefully we’ll see him before those three years are done.”



As for Brett, “you’ll get some interesting storylines,” Haas teased of what’s ahead for her. “It’s not going to take you to the end of the season to see some Brett developments, but she’s not single.”

Casey’s run, for now, ended with the original cast members biding farewell to him…a scene Haas acknowledged was tough to write.

“Every now and then you write scenes that you want the cast and crew to hear what’s going through your own head,” Haas noted, getting emotional. “You get [the words into the mouth of a] way better speaker than yourself, [in] Eamonn Walker, things that you wanted to say to them. So that was a really difficult scene to write. It happens on this show…we write emotional episodes and it’s impossible not to get invested as a writer. I don’t know how writers do it if they’re just going through the motions. But you feel it intensely and sometimes you picture what it’s going to be, and then it’s better than what you thought it was going to be.”

“So I just wanted… Jesse meant so much to me, I wanted to end the episode with that,” he continued. “And, in fact, I never do a preamble in a script, but in 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, because it really is special. I don’t know that it’ll ever happen again like this.”

CHICAGO FIRE, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC

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