The 10 most shocking exits from Chicago Fire

Chief Hawkins Chicago Fire
Jimmy Nicholas played Chief Hawkins on the Chicago Fire cast. Pic credit: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBCUniversal

Chicago Fire has had quite a few shocking exits over the years.

Whether it’s a character dying or simply moving on to other things, a lot can happen when a show has a large cast.

Midway through its 11th season on NBC, Chicago Fire has raced past 200 total episodes with no signs of slowing down.

The ratings for Season 11 are also very impressive, indicating they should reach 300 episodes very easily.

This article looks at which exits from the Chicago Fire cast have been the most shocking, which certainly includes one that just took place this season.

Below are 10 of the most memorable exits from Chicago Fire so far.

Chief Hawkins dies during a rescue

Jimmy Nicholas played Paramedic Chief Evan Hawkins on the Chicago Fire cast for only 19 episodes, but he left a huge impact on the show. At first, his relationship with Violet Mikami (played by Hanako Greensmith) caused a lot of drama, but they finally found happiness together.

Just as the relationship between Violet and Evan was becoming really strong, he was killed when the wall of a movie theater collapsed on him. Having gone back to help a man escape the fire that was taking place, Chief Hawkins died a hero. His heart-wrenching final scene will stick with Chicago Fire fans for a while.

Otis dies in a factory fire

Brian “Otis” Zvonecek was a fan-favorite character due to the humor that he brought to the show. Played by Yuriy Sardarov, Otis was typically involved in hijinks at Firehouse 51, usually with his best friend Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso).

Otis was caught in a fire during the Season 7 finale when a boiler exploded at a mattress factory. That cliffhanger hung over Chicago Fire fans during a long summer, and Otis then died on the Season 8 premiere.

Casey moves to Portland

Lieutenant Matthew Casey left Firehouse 51 during Season 10 when he found out that the sons of a fallen firefighter needed a guardian. He moved to Portland to be with them, and that move eventually brought an end to his romantic relationship with Sylvie Brett.

Behind the scenes, actor Jesse Spencer wanted to take a break and spend more time with his family, leading to the shocking character exit that is still being felt. Tying Casey’s story back to his friend and co-worker from Season 1 was a good way to wrap up his story, but it was still shocking when fans learned the news.

Gabby moves to Puerto Rico

Gabriela Dawson was the primary female lead at Firehouse 51, and she was played by Monica Raymund for 139 total episodes.

A main character for the first six seasons, Gabby dropped the bomb at the end of Season 6 that she would be moving to Puerto Rico to run a crisis relief organization.

She had personal ties to a lot of people within the world of One Chicago, including brother Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) over on Chicago P.D.

Gabby would come back for two more later episodes to close off the storyline with her husband, Matthew Casey, but she hasn’t been on the show since Season 8.

Jimmy gets badly burned in a rescue

Firefighter Jimmy Borelli (played by Steven R. McQueen) joined the show on the Season 4 premiere and ended up only being at Firehouse 51 for a short time.

During a rescue, Jimmy was badly burned, and his injuries brought an end to his career. He had to leave the job on Chicago Fire in the second episode of Season 5.after appearing in just 25 total episodes.

Though he was only on the show for a small stint, Jimmy’s exit still hit hard.

Hallie Thomas gets murdered

Teri Reeves played Dr. Hallie Thomas during Chicago Fire Season 1, and her character was the fiancee of Matthew Casey.

In one of the first really shocking moments from Chicago Fire, Hallie was murdered when she stumbled across a drug operation that was operating in her clinic.

Hallie was hit in the back of the head, and the building was set on fire, leading to Casey finding her right before she died. It was a very heartbreaking way for the writers to end the eight-year relationship that had been going on.

Shay dies in an arson fire

Leslie Shay was a paramedic for Ambulance 61 and worked closely with Gabby Dawson. She was also extremely close to Kelly Severide and was one of the main characters on Chicago Fire through the first two seasons.

In the Season 2 finale, Shay and the rest of Firehouse 51 were caught in a fire that was later determined to be arson. While Shay and Dawson were heading in to help someone who was injured, a pipe came down and hit Shay. She would die from her injuries.

Shay had become an integral part of the show and the writers killing her off left Chicago Fire fans gasping for air. Losing actress Lauren German also sent the show in some new directions.

Emily Foster goes to medical school

Stepping into the shoes of Gabby Dawson was a tough task for the character of Emily Foster (played by Annie Ilonzeh). She did really well, though, and became a good partner to Sylvie Brett for two seasons of the show.

At the end of Season 8, Foster noted that she was planning to return to medical school, but it didn’t hit home with many fans that Foster would never be seen on screen again.

When the show returned with Season 9, it was simply revealed that Foster was gone, and though she was mentioned in passing a few times, the character hasn’t been seen since then.

Peter leaves to open a restaurant

For the first three seasons of Chicago Fire, Charlie Barnett played firefighter Peter Mills. The character was involved in many important episodes during that time, and he had even dated Gabby Dawson for a while.

The producers decided that it was time to shake things up in Season 3, and they wrote it up for the character to leave the show in order to go help run a restaurant with his family in North Carolina.

Derek Haas leaves One Chicago

One of the creators of Chicago Fire and a showrunner for years, Derek Haas was one of the key reasons that the drama was so successful for so many years.

But Haas decided to leave One Chicago, setting his sights on new projects down the road. His exit has been shocking and could lead to changes within the show. His impact will also carry on for many years.

To go back and re-watch any of the classic Chicago Fire episodes, everything is available for streaming on Peacock.

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

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