Chicago Fire Boss: Who's Going to Lead Truck 81 Will Be a 'Major Storyline'

Chicago Fire‘s significant cast departure has a left a big hole in the ranks at Firehouse 51.

In Wednesday’s 200th episode, Jesse Spencer exited the series as his character Matt Casey left the Windy City to take care of his late best friend Andy Darden’s sons, in Oregon. The move leaves Truck 81 without a captain, and the question of who will take over that leadership position will play out “through the winter break,” showrunner Derek Haas told reporters during a Zoom press conference. (Read our post mortem with Haas and Spencer about the actor’s departure here.)

“We’re doing a major storyline [about] who’s going to be next to be the commanding officer of Truck 81,” Haas shared. “Obviously, there are some shifting chairs within the firehouse.”

Stella, who passed the lieutenant’s exam last season, seems like a natural candidate to take on the job, but the fact that she’s currently in Boston to help launch a Girls on Fire program there might be an issue. “The spot on Truck 81 is potentially open, and she hasn’t come back to claim it as of the next episode, so that has its own issues and ramifications,” Haas previewed.

At least one firefighter can be ruled out entirely for the promotion: “Herrmann is Engine lieutenant. I think that’s going to stay,” Haas said.

With all the changes at 51, Haas was looking to add some stability by bringing Deputy District Chief Boden back to the firehouse. (You can thank Boden’s assistant Kylie for discovering that his headquarters should actually be at his old stomping grounds.) “If Jesse [was] leaving, it felt like we needed somebody there to keep it from being so untethered,” Haas shared. “As we were mapping all of these moves out, one of them was having Boden come back.”

Casey’s departure will also have a big impact on his girlfriend and his best friend. “We’re going to see some, obviously, aftereffects with Brett,” Haas teased. “It’s going to be hard on Brett, going into a long-distance relationship and not knowing what the rules are of a long-distance relationship.”

“We have Severide, obviously, looking at Casey’s quarters in the next episode and what that means to him,” Haas continued, “and then we’ll play around with everyone’s reactions” to Casey’s absence.

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

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