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Chicago Fire Doesn't Stand A Chance Without Matt Casey

Jesse Spencer walked away from "Chicago Fire" midway through its 10th season, with "Two Hundred" serving as his last episode as a full-time cast member. His character, Matt Casey, was a pillar of the series for those two hundred episodes, and his departure was something that blindsided fans. Despite appearing in the Season 10 finale as a special guest star, there is no indication that Spencer will be back for future episodes. The actor admitted he was stepping away from television to focus on his family, and there are currently no rumors of a Season 11 return.

Casey's sudden departure was explained by having him leave for Oregon to care for the Darden boys. This was understandable and rather admirable but didn't make any sense for the Brettsey storyline, which was building for three seasons. Casey and Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) officially became a couple just a few episodes before the former's departure, which suggests even the writers didn't know Spencer was planning on walking away. The shocking exit of Casey has left a choppy wake behind it, and "Chicago Fire" is going to really struggle without its lovable captain. The drama series doesn't stand a chance of surviving much longer without the character so many viewers have loved for 10 seasons. 

No more Brettsey, no more watchy

Casey and Brett declare their love for one another in the Season 9 finale, "No Survivors." Five episodes later, Casey leaves Chicago for Oregon. There were three seasons of excruciating build-up for a relationship that only plays out for six episodes (seven including the Stellaride wedding) onscreen. This is unacceptable. We watched Casey and Brett live through plenty of heartbreak before. It was their time to find true happiness in each other, but all we've seen is a devastated Brett crying in the firehouse because she misses her boyfriend so much. This isn't what any viewer wants for Brett, who was written as a boy crazy character for far too long. There doesn't seem much hope for Brettsey in Season 11, meaning sweet Brett will be starting over yet again.

Who wants to watch this? A fan-favorite character is constantly getting knocked down repeatedly in the love department, and enough is enough. Bretty and Casey admit that they belong together; they're right for each other, and "when you know, you know." How are we supposed to take any relationships on this show seriously moving forward? Sure, there's Stellaride, but plenty of fans have admitted the couple has absolutely no chemistry. Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) are now the main couple on "Chicago Fire." In terms of romantic relationships, this duo cannot carry the show on their back — not long before fans are sick of them.

Severide is not enough to keep Chicago Fire going

Prior to the news of Jesse Spencer's departure, if you were to ask a viewer of the series who the two main characters are on "Chicago Fire," they would more than likely say Casey and Severide. When the series debuted, they were the two lieutenants leading their teams, and many of the romantic storylines revolved around them. With Casey gone, Severide is the last big-time OG who remains on the show. Sure, some original Season 1 characters are still around, but they don't hold the same weight as Severide. "Chicago Fire" so heavily relied on the bromance between Casey and Severide, and no one has been able to fill the latter's role, making beloved cigar chats a thing of the past.

It obviously would not be Taylor Kinney's fault if "Chicago Fire" bombed from here on out, but a show this massive needs more than one person holding down the fort. While Brett is a fan-favorite and lead character, her future is so in the air as there's no telling what Season 11 has in store for her. Kidd, another lead, is not as much of a fan favorite as some would like to believe and is regularly bashed on Reddit. Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) isn't as big as he once was, and OG's Christopher Hermann (David Eigenberg) and Mouch McHolland (Christian Stolte) don't have what it takes to lead the series alongside Severide. Case in point: Casey is irreplaceable on "Chicago Fire," and his perfect partnership with Severide isn't either.

We know what you might be thinking. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" did just fine without Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). No offense to the stars of "Chicago Fire," but there is no Mariska Hargitay on that set.

Chicago Fire fans have already spoken

Any social media platform where "Chicago Fire" fans can discuss the series is a place where you will find hundreds of posts about the loss of Matt Casey. Since Jesse Spencer's exit was announced back in October 2021 (via Deadline), fans have expressed their utter disappointment in the news and how it changed everything for them. Right after the news broke, Twitter user @anarozee wrote, "my thoughts are that I love Matt Casey and there's no Chicago Fire for me without him." Mirroring that sentiment was @lady_dorota, who tweeted, "​​Thank you for all you did... for your beautiful and amazing role, for being our Matt Casey for so long... without you it will not be the same so I will stop watching it."

In the comments section of the aforementioned Deadline article, some viewers admitted they couldn't see watching "Chicago Fire" without Casey. "I am shocked that Matt Casey wont be a charwcter [sic] on Chicago Fire any more! What the heck!!! He was THE BEST!!! In my opinion this series was going downhill before Capt. Casey left. Now I probably wont even watch it at all now," one upset fan wrote. "With him leaving the show I probably won't be watching it anymore very disappointed," a second added.

To be fair, there are likely thousands of viewers and of fans who will continue watching "Chicago Fire" without Casey. There are plenty who never liked the character, to begin with — like Redditors on this thread. But those in support of Casey seem to outweigh those who don't. "Chicago Fire" is only greenlit for Season 11, with a twelfth undetermined. But it's fair to assume that with one of the great OGs officially gone, the show will have a hard time keeping longtime viewers glued. Whether the show is canceled soon or not, "Chicago Fire" is nothing without Matt Casey.