Chicago Fire, Jesse Spencer
Credit: ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

With news Casey is coming back to Firehouse 51, fans may be wondering: Is Jesse Spencer returning to Chicago Fire for good as Captain Matthew Casey

Chicago Fire is NBC’s drama series following the professional and personal lives of firefighters, rescue personnel and paramedics of the Chicago Fire Department’s fictional Firehouse 51. Spencer made his debut as Captain Matthew Casey, a lieutenant (then captain) at Firehouse 51 and an officer in charge of Truck Company 81, in season 1 of Chicago Fire in 2012.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in October 2012, Spencer explained why he wanted to star in Chicago Fire after eight seasons as Dr. Robert Chase on FOX’s medical drama, House. “It was kind of one that felt like the right fit. [House] was a very cerebral show and it was a really, really really, good show. Chicago Fire was just something different. It’s not cerebral. It’s more of a character-based show with a lot of action,” he said. “After eight years of being an intellectual and spewing out medical terms, it was time to do something in the opposite direction. And running around in [firefighter’s] gear for 14 hours seemed like the right thing to do.”

Spencer also told Entertainment Weekly that he was “hesitant” to join Chicago Fire in the event the show went on for 10 years. “I was a bit hesitant at the start but the other cast was great and Taylor [Kinney who plays Kelly Severide] is great,” Spencer said. “I met him at the audition, and we got along great. And the writers are awesome. Also, the odds of something going 10 years is actually really slim. But it was a bit scary because I guess it could. If it does, it’s a huge success, which is not a bad thing either. We’re taking it one day at a time. We’ve got to get past the first season and the first 10 episodes before we have to start being concerned about it going for 10 years.”

Coincidentally, after almost 10 years on the show, Spencer announced he was leaving Chicago Fire in season 10 in 2021. Two years after he left, however, Spencer is making his grand return to the series in a special appearance. But could Casey be back at Firehouse 51 permanently? Read on for what we know about if Jesse Spencer is returning to Chicago Fire for good.

Chicago Fire, Jesse Spencer

Is Jesse Spencer returning to Chicago Fire for good?

Is Jesse Spencer returning to Chicago Fire for good? The answer is no. However, he will be returning as Captain Matthew Casey for a special guest appearance in episode 18 of season 11, which will air on NBC on April 5, 2023, according to a report by Variety on March 9, 2023. The episode marks Spencer’s second return to Chicago Fire after his guest appearance in the season 10 finale, where he attended the wedding of his best friend Captain Kelly Severide and his wife, Stella Kidd.

Spencer’s return comes two months after news broke that his former co-star, Taylor Kinney, who played Severide, was taking a temporary leave of absence from Chicago Fire due to a personal matter, a source told Deadline in January 2023. Deadline also reported that the cast and crew of Chicago Fire were informed of Kinney’s leave on January 20, 2023, and that future scripts would be rewritten to accommodate for Kinney’s absence.

Spencer’s return also comes less than a year after Chicago Fire‘s co-creator and co-showrunner, Derek Haas, announced he was leaving the show at the end of season 10 in November 2022. “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 said in a statement at the time. “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.”

Chicago Fire, Jesse Spencer

Why did Jesse Spencer leave Chicago Fire?

Why did Jesse Spencer leave Chicago Fire? Spencer announced he was leaving Chicago Fire after almost 10 seasons as Captain Matthew Casey in October 2021. “I added it up, and this year is my 18th year of network TV, straight — I went straight from House into Chicago Fire,”Spencer said on a press call at the time. “Coming up to the 200th, I called [showrunner Derek Haas] and broke him the news that I thought it was time to leave the show. He agreed we should at least get Casey to 200 episodes. “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.”

He continued, “It was a difficult decision, and I hate to leave the show because I do love it, but when the time comes, the time comes.”

Haas told reporters that he “of course wanted to talk Jesse into staying” but was thankful that Spencer agreed to at least film the first five episodes of Chicago Fire season 10 to give Casey a proper goodbye. “That let us bring back a storyline from season one that I know Jesse was excited about when we pitched it to him, to bring back the Darden boys and really tie in the pilot to Jesse’s leaving,” Haas said.

Spencer’s last episode as a series regular on Chicago Fire was season 10, episode 5 “Two Hundred,” which was also the show’s 200th episode overall. The episode sees Spencer leave Firehouse 51 and move to Oregon after he’s contacted by Griffin Darden, the son of a firefighter killed in Chicago Fire‘s pilot to asks for help for him and his brother. Casey, who had become a father figure to the brothers after their dad’s death, decides to move to Oregon to become the boys’ legal guardian to prevent them from being separated and sent to foster care. The episode also sees Casey and his love interest, paramedic Sylvie Brett (played by Kara Kilmer), agree to try to make their relationship work long distance. “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,” Spencer said on the press call in 2021. “There is the chance that I will come back. We’re toying with, ‘Will Casey come back?’ … That’s a possibility for me too.”

So why did Jesse Spencer leave Chicago Fire? Spencer explained on the press call in 2021 that he left Chicago Fire, which films in Los Angeles, to spend more time with his family, who live in Chicago. “As a lead, you don’t want to leave a show. But I wanted to leave the show. It was time for me,” Spencer said, calling his exit “bitter sweet.” “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.”

He 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.”

For more about Jesse Spencer, check out our photo gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their real-life loves