Matthew Casey in his gear in front of a fire truck on Chicago Fire

Lori Allen/NBC

Original cast member bids adieu… for now.

After the will he/won’t he lead up to Wednesday’s show, Jesse Spencer’s Matthew Casey did in fact leave Chicago Fire during the 200th episode.

It shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock, considering Captain Matthew Casey felt the need to move to Oregon to take care of his late friend Andy’s children. However, it was still an emotional hour as the character and actor have been on the series since day one.

Our sister site TV Line sat in on Spencer’s Zoom call with the press to explain his reasons for leaving the procedural after 10 seasons.

“I realized I’ve been doing TV for a long time,” he said. “I added it up, and I think this year is my 18th year of network television.” Before joining the One Chicago Franchise, Spencer spent eight years on the medical drama House.

“It was a difficult decision because I’ve loved the show from the start,” the actor continued, “but there are 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.”

Brett smiles at Casey in front of a fire truck on Chicago Fire

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While fans wait to see what Spencer does next, he assured the press he isn’t completely closing the door on his Chicago Fire character. Noting Brett and Casey’s relationship was just getting off the ground, he pointed out the characters will try to keep a long-distance relationship going. That will presumably include video chats, texts, and phone calls, as his voice will be heard in an upcoming episode.

“This is a three-year commitment that Casey is making,” Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas chimed in, referring to the character only moving until the youngest boy graduates high school, “but hopefully, we’ll see him before those three years are done.”

The actor himself isn’t even leaving Chicago, so he could very likely pop up on the series for occasional visits.

“There is the potential for me to come back,” Spencer teased. After joking he might escape the Midwest for warmer weather over the winter, he added, “My home here with my wife is in Chicago, and so I’m still going to be here, but I’m just stepping back for right now.”

What did you think of Casey’s Chicago Fire departure? Are you hoping he returns? Tell us what you think in the comments and then look through our photo gallery of the 20 soap opera exits we still aren’t over.