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#OneChicago Bosses Reveal What’s Behind All the Recent Cast Departures

Over the past year, fans of NBC’s #OneChicago shows have gotten used to frequent headlines announcing that a cast member has exited or plans to depart the Dick Wolf-produced franchise.

Last season, Chicago Med bid adieu to three series regulars: Guy Lockard, who played ED pediatrician Dr. Dylan Scott, plus original stars Brian Tee (aka Dr. Ethan Choi) and Nick Gehlfuss (Dr. Will Halstead). Meanwhile, longtime Chicago P.D. star Jesse Lee Soffer (Jay Halstead) left the cop drama in Season 10’s third episode.

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And there are even more goodbyes ahead: It was announced last October that Soffer’ P.D. co-star/on-screen (ex?) wife Tracy Spiridakos (Hailey Upton) will depart the series during the current 11th season. Over on Chicago Fire, Kara Killmer’s swan song as paramedic Sylvie Brett is still to come this year, while Alberto Rosende’s final episode as firefighter Blake Gallo just aired this past Wednesday.

So what’s behind the recent bout of turnover in the Windy City?

“Honestly, longevity is really just part of it,” Fire showrunner Andrea Newman tells TVLine.

The firefighter drama just kicked off its 12th season, while P.D. and Med are airing Seasons 11 and 9, respectively. With runs that long, which have become something of a relic in today’s TV environment, shaking things up is a necessity.

“[In] storytelling and in terms of real life, 12 years is a long time and things need to change, just dynamic-wise. You want new characters and you want new dynamics,” Newman explains.

The same goes for the stars, who are sometimes playing the same character for over a decade. “Actor-wise, 12 years is a long [time]. Nobody expects in TV [that] they’re going to be anywhere for 12 years, I can say that for sure, from all sides,” Newman shares with a laugh.

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Med co-showrunner Andrew Schneider echoes Newman’s sentiment about keeping the creative juices flowing by changing up the ensembles.

“That’s really what the Wolf [Entertainment] company likes to do is have characters leave and bring in new characters in an effort to keep the shows fresh or find new dimensions to the show and new dynamics,” Schneider says. (Wolf’s other two franchises, FBI and Law & Order, are also undergoing some cast changes this season.)

Newman adds that Fire’s lengthy run has “been a gift,” especially because it allows the writers “to really get to arc these things out and see these characters change,” she says. “But you need to mix it up. It can’t be the same the whole time.”

And even as people come and go, the Firehouse 51 family “still feels very intact to me,” Newman continues. “There’s still Boden at the helm and Severide and Kidd. It still feels very strong, and it still feels, because we’ll see Matt Casey [played by former series regular Jesse Spencer], like most people who’ve been part of it are still part of it in lots of ways. So that’s lucky for us, too.”

#OneChicago fans, how are you feelings about all the cast changes? Hit the comments!

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