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Chicago Fire: Jesse Spencer to Return in Season 11 amid Taylor Kinney’s Absence

On Thursday, PEOPLE confirmed that Jesse Spencer will be returning to the NBC drama after Taylor Kinney took a leave of absence from the series. Variety was the first to report the news.

Spencer will be coming back as Capt. Matt Casey in the 18th episode of season 11, which will air on April 5. No details about his character’s storyline have been released. PEOPLE confirmed in October 2021 that the actor would be leaving the series. The original cast member’s character departed on the 200th episode when Casey moved to Portland to become the legal guardian to the two teenage sons of Andy Darden, a Firehouse 51 firefighter who died in the show’s pilot episode in 2012. However, Spencer returned once before since his exit when Casey came back for the wedding of his best friend Kelly Severide (Kinney) to Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) during the season 10 finale.

“Jesse Spencer so understands the character — and especially the relationship that Casey has with Severide, the bond of that friendship — and he knew the character had promised to be there at the wedding as the Best Man,” Chicago Fire co-showrunner Andrea Newman told PEOPLE at the time. “Jesse is just like Casey: he’s a man of his word and he was going to make it happen. He is completely connected to the character in that way.” But Casey will not be reunited with Severide during this return as a source close to the production of Chicago Fire confirmed to PEOPLE in January that Kinney would be taking a leave of absence from the series “to deal with a personal matter. In the March 2 episode titled “Damage Control,” it was revealed that Kinney’s character was attending “the best arson investigation training program in the world” to explain his absence from the show.

According to Capt. Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper) from the Office of Fire Investigation, the program was a last-minute opportunity that was too good for Severide to pass up. Even though Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) was upset that he lost one of his best firefighters, Van Meter reminded him that Severide joining the program doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s leaving the firehouse.Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.


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