‘Chicago Fire’: One Actor Spent Years Trying to Get on the Show

by Madison Miller

“Chicago Fire” was the spark that ignited the entire “One Chicago” franchise, leading to key roles for iconic actors in shows like “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” There was even the short-lived “Chicago Justice” series that didn’t last.

The popular drama series first aired in October 2012 and follows the lives of the firefighters, rescue squad, and paramedics at the Chicago Firehouse 51. The Dick Wolf show has helped launch successful careers for many up-and-coming actors.

For Adriyan Rae, joining “Chicago Fire” was a goal that nearly seemed unobtainable for some time. While some of the cast on “Chicago Fire” has been there since the beginning, Rae showed up during season nine.

Adriyan Rae and ‘Chicago Fire’ Role

She stars as a paramedic named Gianna Mackey, who is also a childhood friend of Joe Cruz (played by Joe Minoso). Mackey was a popular character in the series.

According to People, however, she had spent two years auditioning for different parts within the “One Chicago” franchise. Eventually, she tried out for the part of Gianna and everything seemed to work out perfectly. At the same time, another series she was working on called “Vagrant Queen” had been canceled.

She instead got to finally land what was a dream role of hers for a couple of years. She said “it felt so good, I cried” after officially getting the notice that she would appear as Gianna on “Chicago Fire.”

Some of her other roles include “Light as a Feather,” “Atlanta,” and “The Game.” Although she was ecstatic to land her role, Rae has since left the NBC drama.

Rae Leaves Her Role on NBC Drama

In March, her character was offered a position at a different firehouse and she ended up accepting it. She also confessed to Cruz during that episode that she often worries about him whenever he’s off on a call.

As for why Rae decided to leave, that is a private matter. “Adriyan let us know she had some private reasons to leave Chicago. To hear that as a showrunner, you absolutely respect what an actor needs. All I can say is we love her, and I know she’s going to be great on some other series. And she left 51 on great terms, so there’s a chance we could check in on her,” showrunner Derek Haas said to Entertainment Weekly at the time.

She is amongst many characters to come and go on the series. That includes other medics played by Annie Ilonzeh, Monica Raymund, Dora Madison, Charlie Barnett, and Lauren German. Once Rae officially left the show, she shared an intimate and heartwarming message regarding her time on “Chicago Fire.”

“Though it’s coming to an unexpected end, this journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. I have learned sooo many valuable lessons, gone through acting Olympics and come out stronger, and most importantly, met & made so many amazing friends. I ask that you extend to me the same grace, space, and understanding you’d want in any transitional time…” Rae wrote on Instagram.