‘Chicago Fire’: Here’s Why Lauren German Left the Show

by Victoria Santiago

Lauren German’s character was truly a staple on Chicago Fire. If she was so important to the show, then why did she leave?

Her character, Leslie Shay, was the first major person to die on the popular drama. Fans and other characters alike mourned the loss of Shay, and the show was never quite the same after German’s character left. In fact, the series has continued to talk about Leslie Shay years after the actress has left.

As it turns out, there wasn’t any real reason that Lauren German left the show. She didn’t even ask to. Instead, writers just wanted to kill off one of the Chicago Fire characters. Since then, they’ve pulled the same move multiple times. Killing off characters can definitely serve a purpose, but still: why?

When talking about the decision, executive producer Matt Olmstead says that it had to be done. “We knew if we were going to do it, it had to be someone who was going to give us a big impact — as opposed to going for a lesser-known character, which would equate to a pulled punch.” Just like the producers wanted, German’s departure from the show did more than give viewers a punch.

Lauren German’s Departure Created New Storylines For ‘Chicago Fire’

“As storytellers, you have to be unsentimental,” Olmstead added. “Sometimes, you have to do that to bring more storylines into a show, and that’s what we decided to do.” Leslie Shay’s death did indeed create more storylines for Chicago Fire. In fact, it even added to one of the show’s greatest mysteries: the fire that killed Peter Mills’ father 20 years before. Major Chicago Fire mysteries aside, the death of Lauren German‘s character had severe impacts on some of the other characters. Thanks to her, we get to see Dawson and Severide go through the incredibly dark grieving process.

On the show, German played a paramedic. She was great at her job, funny, and the glue that held Firehouse 51 together. Although she was sacrificed to create more storylines for the show, her legacy lived on. Firehouse 51 memorialized Shay on the door of an ambulance. That way, paramedics would always have her with them on calls. Seasons after her death, Severide even makes a point to go back and get the door after the ambulance gets totaled. Of course, when the team gets a replacement, the memorial door gets attached to it.

It might seem unfair to kill off the character of an actress that didn’t want to leave, but German’s career was fine. Afterward, she got a recurring role on Hawaii Five-0, according to CBR. Now, she’s probably best known for her starring role on one of Netflix’s hit shows, Lucifer.