Chicago Fire: Why have so many characters been MIA?

Mouch on Chicago Fire S11
Christian Stolte stars as Randy “Mouch” McHolland on the Chicago Fire cast. Pic credit: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBCUniversal

Many Chicago Fire characters have been missing in action this season, leading to questions about their whereabouts.

The absences became particularly pronounced during the latest episode (Inside Man), where Kelly Severide (played by Taylor Kinney) got taken for a ride by some domestic terrorists.

Truck 81 was stolen from Firehouse 51, forcing the remaining people on shift to work together with Chicago P.D. to track down and save Severide.

With Chief Boden still on leave and Severide mysteriously gone, it fell upon the other leaders of the firehouse to lead the rescue.

The action helped shift some of the focus away from the fact that Mouch (Christian Stolte) and Sam Carver (Jake Lockett) were also gone.

Within the storylines, Mouch was at a training session, Carver was on furlough, and Boden was off helping his stepson.

Why are so many characters missing from the Chicago Fire episodes?

Having fewer stars appear in the latest episodes was a money-saving move by the production company.

Rather than cut the salaries that these actors and actresses are paid each episode, the decision was made to have them appear in fewer Season 12 episodes.

The cost-cutting measure ensures that the hit drama can continue producing episodes without harming the storylines too much.

This is also the reason that Taylor Kinney (he plays Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire) and Tracy Spiridakos (she plays Detective Hailey Upton on Chicago P.D.) were absent earlier this winter.

It was announced last summer that the One Chicago stars wouldn’t appear in every episode, and here we are experiencing it on a wider scale.

Large ensemble casts can be expensive, but the Chicago Fire writers found a way to have a few episodes where they could (almost) seamlessly film with fewer people.

The writers also did a good job not hiding Boden’s absence but rather steering into it and showing that Severide had a difficult time.

More news and notes from One Chicago

Mouch, Carver, and Boden are all back for the upcoming season finale, and here are some spoilers about that final Season 12 episode.

Some bad news was also revealed about Boden, though. Eamonn Walker (Chief Boden) is out as a series regular. He will become a recurring character that only surfaces sporadically – and Boden won’t be in many Season 13 episodes.

We also know when the final episode of Chicago P.D. for Tracy Spiridakos debuts. The hit police drama is heading into uncharted territory as they lose the actress who has played Detective Hailey Upton for years.

Previous episodes from Chicago Fire are available for streaming on Peacock. As are older episodes of Med and P.D.

Chicago Fire airs Wednesday at 9/8c on NBC.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments