Christopher Herrmann, Chicago Fire
Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

As one of the few original firefighters left at Firehouse 51, it’s safe to say that no one wants to see Herrmann go. But after 11 seasons and hundreds of fires, could Christopher Herrmann be leaving Chicago Fire? There’s a convincing fan theory season 11 could be his last.

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. David Eigenberg plays Lieutenant Christopher Herrmann, a senior firefighter at Firehouse 51, and the husband of Cindy Herrmann, his wife whom he shares five children with: sons Lee Henry, Luke, Max and Kenny James, and daughter Anabelle. (Kenny James was born in season 1.)

Herrmann is one of the last original firefighters who have been on Chicago Fire since season 1, along with: Lieutenant Kelly Severide; Randall “Mouch” McHolland; Joe Cruz; and Chief Wallace Boden. Like many firefighters at Firehouse 51, Herrmann hasn’t had it easy on Chicago Fire. But after more than a decade on television, could Christopher Herrmann be leaving Chicago Fire? Read on for what we know about if Christopher Herrmann is leaving Chicago Fire and what could happen to David Eigenberg’s character.

Christopher Herrmann, Chicago Fire

Is Christopher Herrmann leaving Chicago Fire?

Is Christopher Herrmann leaving Chicago Fire? Fans first speculated that Herrmann — who has been played by David Eigenberg since season 1 — was leaving Chicago Fire in January 2023 when his wife, Cindy Herrmann, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Cindy discovered she had lung cancer in season 11, episode 11, “Guy I Used to Know,” which saw her suffering  from a cough and a fever. During the episode, Herrmann checks on Cindy and learns that her illness had only become worse. The episode ends with Cindy seeing a doctor who tells her that she has lung cancer, despite never smoking a day in her life. “And I’m a firefighter. I go into smoke and chemicals all day. I’m the one that’s supposed to get lung cancer. Not her,” Herrmann says in the episode.

In season 11, episode 12, “How Does It End?”, Cindy undergoes surgery for a tumor in her lung. After the surgery is done, the doctor tells Herrmann that Cindy is doing well and made it through the surgery, however, she isn’t cancer-free as the surgeons weren’t able to clean the margins and Cindy still has cancer in her lymph nodes. The doctor informs Herrmann that Cindy will need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. A Reddit user posted a thread in March 2023 speculating that Chicago Fire was using Cindy’s cancer diagnosis as a way to set up Herrmann’s exit from the series.  “I have a feeling that this is going to be David Eigenberg’s last season,” the user wrote. “They’ve set up the Cindy cancer storyline as a device for Herrmann’s exit from the firehouse. Cindy will succumb to her illness, Herrmann will be running into fires but this time it will be different. He’ll no longer be able to put his kids aside and risk his life, now as the sole parent responsible for them. If something happens to him, his 5 kids will be orphaned. Come the end of the season, he’ll make the tough decision to say goodbye to his 51 family, in sacrifice for his own. Here’s hoping my prediction is wrong though. Herrmann is the heart of this show.”

Other users speculated that Herrmann could leave Firehouse 51 but still remain on Chicago Fire in a reduced role through appearances at Molly’s, the bar he owns with Randall “Mouch” McHolland and Trudy Platt, which would give Eigenberg the option to return for future seasons. “IF it comes to that, I’d like that he leaves 51 but still stays in the show while just appearing at Molly’s. Then maybe … he’d go back when he’s ready,” a Reddit user wrote. Another Reddit user commented, “I think even if they wanted David to have a smaller role he would probably still stay at Molly’s.”

The theories could be true. In “Guy I Used to Know,” Herrmann leaves Cindy at home to return to Firehouse 51 thinking that her cough and fever were a result of a cold. When he comes back to find their kids fighting and Cindy’s condition even worse than before, Herrmann seems to express guilt over leaving Cindy alone.  Chicago Fire co-showrunner Andrea Newman also hinted at Herrmann and Cindy’s “rough road ahead” in Chicago Fire season 11 in an interview with NBC Insider in February 2023. “It is going to be a rough road for the whole Herrmann family as Cindy battles lung cancer. There’s a tough fight ahead, with no short cuts or easy solutions, but the Herrmann family, and the 51 family, will come together to help in all sorts of ways as the situation progresses,” she said.

Eigenberg is also one of the few main cast members of Chicago Fire season 11 to film two shows at the same time. Along with Chicago Fire, Eigenberg also stars as Steve Brady in HBO’s Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That. (Eigenberg also played Steve on seasons 2 to 6 of Sex and the City, and the franchise’s two movies.) He was photographed on the set of And Just Like That season 2 on Coney Island, New York, in February 2023, alongside Sarah Jessica Parker (who plays Carrie Bradshaw) and John Corbett (who plays Aidan Shaw.) And Just Like That films in New York City, while Chicago Fire films in Chicago.

Chicago Fire airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Check out our photo gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their real-life relationships.