How One Chicago Is Dealing With Those Huge Cast Changes

As of 2021, the city of Chicago has a population of 2.7 million, and for fans of the One Chicago cinematic universe, sometimes it feels as though the casts of its three shows — "Chicago Fire", "Chicago Med", and "Chicago P.D." — have grown just as big (via Chicago Sun Times). Given all the crimes, fires, and medical emergencies that happen on each of the three programs, it makes sense that a big cast of characters is needed.

Over the years, the One Chicago universe has seen its fair share of changes and shake-ups, including killing off major characters in order to keep things interesting. The season three premiere of "Chicago Fire" found the show (spoiler) killing off Leslie Shay, played by actress Lauren German (via Us Weekly).

"Going into it, we knew if we were going to do it, it had to be someone who was going to give us a big impact, as opposed to going for a lesser-known character, which would equate to a pulled punch," "Chicago Fire" producer Matt Olmstead told TV Line of the decision. "So, as opposed to approaching it with timidity, we thought we'd go for it."

Shay is far from the first — or the last — departure from the One Chicago universe. More recently, Captain Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) exited "Chicago Fire" in a massive shakeup, following the show's 200th episode (via USA Today).

Bringing new cast members into the fold

The departure of one cast member typically brings with it the arrival of someone new, to help shake things up, particularly if the show has been on the air for a long time. In the case of "Chicago Fire", the show has recently brought on Brett Dalton to portray Lieutenant Jason Pelham (via One Chicago Center). Also joining the show for season 10 is Ynez Spencer, who would replace Gallo (Alberto Rosendale) as the rookie of Firehouse 51.

There are also some changes happening behind the camera, too, with executive producer Andrea Newman joining current showrunner Derek Haas as his co-showrunner (via Deadline). "Andrea's voice is embedded in the soul of 'Chicago Fire,'" Haas shared. "She's an immensely gifted storyteller, manager, colleague and friend. No one in Hollywood works harder or cares more about making great television than she."

And fear not "Chicago Fire" fans: The door is always open for Captain Casey to return (via USA Today). "There is the potential for me to come back. I still am in Chicago right now," Spencer shared. "My home here with my wife is in Chicago, so I'm still going to be here, but I'm just stepping back for right now."