Natalie Manning in Chicago Med
Credit: Getty Images

We’re still not over Natalie’s exit from Chicago Med at the beginning of season 7. As one of the show’s original cast members, why did Natalie leave Chicago Med after six years? Read on as we break down her exit and the story arc that got her character fired.

Chicago Med is NBC’s medical drama, created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead, that follows the doctors and nurses at the Gaffney Chicago Medical Center Emergency Department. The series is the third installment of the Chicago franchise (following Chicago Fire and Chicago PD) and is currently in its eighth season, which premiered in September 2022. Torrey DeVitto played the role of Dr. Natalie Manning, the attending physician in emergency medicine who has a specialization in pediatrics. Manning first appeared in the pilot episode of season 1, “Derailed,” during the ED’s grand opening. She has one son, Owen Manning, with her late husband, Jeff Manning, who was killed in Afghanistan before she came to Chicago Medical.

In an interview with Glitter Magazine in 2020, DeVitto talked in-depth about her character ahead of the season 5 premiere. “Every year, Natalie evolves and grows and gets stronger. We can definitely see her coming into her own more. We will see new romances. And we will see the doctors and staff at Chicago Med dealing with all the things the rest of the world is dealing with now as well. I think that’s my favorite thing about the show,” she explained. “We take what’s going on day to day and implement it into the show. We stay true to the real world. Audiences will see COVID in real-time, from the hospital’s POV.”

DeVitto also expanded about how her character has been a voice for equality in the workplace. “I love that she has had moments of talking about equality amongst male and female doctors in the workplace. She had a moment of fighting with ICE about immigration injustice issues,” she said in the interview. “Most recently, in episode 2 of this season that already aired, she had that moment witnessing first-hand racial injustices. I do feel like the writers use her a lot to play out very important story points, which I am always honored to be a part of.”

Considering DeVitto’s importance on the show and Natalie’s fan-favorite status, why did the actress leave Chicago Med at the start of season 7? Keep reading to find out.

Why did Natalie Manning leave Chicago Med?

Dr. Natalie Manning in Chicago Med

Why did Natalie Manning leave Chicago Med? DeVitto didn’t give a clear answer about why she was leaving the Chicago-based medical series. It’s likely that after her six-year contract expired, she decided to explore new opportunities outside of Chicago Med.

DeVitto shared an emotional Instagram post in May 2021 about her departure, saying “All good things must come to an end.” She added: “It has been such an honor and pure joy to bring Dr. Natalie Manning to life for all of you on Chicago Med for the past 6 seasons. But it is now time for her and me to bow out and say goodbye.”


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Read DeVitto’s full statement on Instagram, below:

“Well, looks like the cat is out of the bag…All good things must come to an end. It has been such an honor and pure joy to bring Dr. Natalie Manning to life for all of you on Chicago Med for the past 6 seasons. But it is now time for her and me to bow out and say goodbye. Thank you to all you loyal watchers who adored her as much as I did. I can’t wait to share what’s to come with all of you. New adventures await! With love and gratitude, Torrey.”

DeVitto wasn’t the only Chicago Med star stepping away from the series at the time. Yaya DaCosta (April Sexton), who also a mainstay since the first season, said farewell to Chicago Med at the end of season 6. Both DeVitto and DaCosta appeared in other episodes in the Chicago world, including Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

Since leaving Chicago Med, DeVitto has starred in a few Hallmark films, including The Christmas Promise, Rip in Time and Twas the Night Before Christmas. She is also slated to appear in the upcoming 2023 film, Skelly. 

How did Natalie Manning leave Chicago Med?

Natalie and Will in Chicago Med

How did Natalie Manning leave Chicago Med? Writers started planning Manning’s exit in season 6 when she stole medicinal drugs for her mother after her condition worsened. Although her ex-fiancé, Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss), tried to take the blame for the missing meds, Natalie eventually spoke up and confessed what she did. This deteriorated Director Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) and the rest of the Emergency Department’s trust in Natalie.

In the premiere episode of season 7, she is let go for stealing the medication. Will helps Natalie pack up her car, as she’s decided to moves elsewhere with her son Owen. “I’m going to be okay,” she says to Will. She also tells him that he should try to get his job back because she feels bad about her role in his firing. The two hugged and they promised to keep in touch. So, where is Manning is headed off to next? Showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov spoke with TV Line in September 2021 about Natalie’s future.

“We also wanted to give closure to his long-running relationship with Natalie. That relationship was so integral to the show for six years, and we felt we owed it to the audience and the characters to give them a goodbye,” Schneider said. Froloy added: “As for where Natalie’s off to next, “She’s, right now, going back to Seattle, where she’s from, and being with her family. Her mom is from there, and she’s going to be getting a gig at a hospital there.”

Schneider also assured that Natalie is at a good hospital and her “career is not damaged” by her actions at Chicago Medical. “She is going to be fine,” he concludes.

Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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