After 10 seasons and 200 episodes on Chicago Fire, fans said goodbye to Jesse Spencer’s character, Matthew Casey. During last Wednesday’s episode, we learned that Casey would be moving to Oregon to look after Station 51 firefighter Andy Darden’s sons following his tragic death back in Season 1. The news is definitely a bit disappointing for fans. After all, Casey was a central member of the Chicago fire department. However, if there’s anything we know about the OneChicago shows, it’s that there’s always an open ending for characters.
The same is true for other characters that have departed from Chicago Fire, including Steven R. McQueen’s character, Jimmy Borrelli. Unlike Casey, Borrelli’s last episode was quite messy, resulting in life-altering injuries, shattered relationships and unresolved feelings. Though its been several years since we’ve seen Borrelli, executive producer Michael Brandt teased the idea of the character’s return in a 2016 interview.
“Character-wise, you can never burn bridges on a show too badly to not salvage them,” Brandt told TVLine. “At the end of the episode, there’s a scene between him and Boden where you realize everything is OK between them. Boden respects why Jimmy did what he did. But that said, there are no plans right now to bring Jimmy back to the show.
‘Chicago Fire’ Executive Producer Discusses Decision to Write Off Jimmy Borrelli
Back in Season 4, Borelli lost his older brother and fellow firefighter, Danny. At the time, Danny was under Chief Wallace Boden’s (Eamonn Walker) watch. When Borrelli blamed the chief for his brother’s death, it signified the start of Borrelli’s spiral. Soon, the tension between the two men escalated, and it was clear that one of them had to go.
Of course, as we know, this ended up being Borrelli who breached protocol during a rescue and sustained severe burns and trauma to his eye. The Chicago Fire team member lost his eye, forcing him to leave the station altogether.
The decision to write off a character is never an easy one. Not only does the audience become attached to the persona, but the cast becomes attached to the castmate. But, in the end, Brandt knew that Borrelli’s exit was the right decision for Chicago Fire.
“We’ve wrestled with this over the last four years, in terms of threats and real dangers to people in the firehouse,” Brandt explained. “There are times when people get injured, or really bad things happen to them, and we don’t follow through on that, and sometimes we feel like we have to pull the trigger on certain things.”
Perhaps, several seasons later, Borrelli will return to Chicago if not as a firefighter then maybe as a supportive friend coming home for a visit.