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Why these One Chicago stars left the franchise and where they are now

Find out what Colin Donnell, Sophia Bush, and more have been up to since leaving the show

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Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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We love settling down on the sofa for Chicago Wednesdays, but with the longest-running show Chicago Fire having been on screens for a decade now (Chicago PD and Chicago Med were launched in 2014 and 2015 respectively), the One Chicago family has lost several cast members over the years. 

Have you ever wondered why they left and where they are now? From Taylor Kinney's recent absence to Colin Donnell's departure in 2019, find out what the actors who have left are up to now...

WATCH: Are you a fan of the One Chicago franchise?

Taylor Kinney

In January 2023, Chicago Fire revealed via its official social media channels that lead star Taylor, who plays Lieutenant Kelly Severide, would be away from the show for an undetermined time as the actor took a leave of absence. Scripts for the show had to be hastily rewritten after Taylor departed to deal with his personal matter, but the show managed to continue despite its obvious lack of the popular figure. 

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire© NBC
The future of Taylor Kinney's role on the show is uncertain

NBC has not commented further on whether Taylor will be back for season 12 and beyond or not, so the future of his character on the series remains in doubt.

Sophia Bush

One of the original stars of Chicago PD, Sophia Bush left after four seasons. Her character Detective Erin Lindsey was written out as having moved to New York City to take a job with the FBI. Since leaving the show, Sophia has starred in several successful films such as The Incredibles 2 and the Netflix feature Hard Luck Love Song, and has also had TV roles on shows including Love, Victor, Jane the Virgin, and Good Sam - the latter of which she leads and produces.

sophia bush

The circumstances around Sophia's exit behind the scenes are a little bit more complicated. Speaking to fellow actor Dax Shepard during an appearance on his Armchair Expert podcast, she revealed that she stepped away from the show for personal reasons as a result of "a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior" from show bosses. 

EXPLORE: Inside Chicago PD star Sophia Bush's feud with former co-star 

Yaya DaCosta

yaya dacosta

Yaya DaCosta's April Sexton left Chicago Med after it was revealed in June 2021 that she would be relocating to a different show. Speaking to Deadline not long after the news broke, the actress revealed that her exit came about after falling in love with another show - the new FOX drama Our Kind of People.

She said: "My exit from Chicago Med and the arrival of this show happened really simultaneously. There isn't much to say about it. There was a window opening and a question mark as to whether I should stay or go." Sadly, Our Kind of People was cancelled after one season, but thankfully for fans, this news did mean that Yaya was able to return to Chicago Med in a recurring role in season eight.

Colin Donnell

colin donnell

Chicago Med fans were crushed when it was announced that Colin Donnell would be leaving the show due to "creative reasons" in 2019. The actor starred as fan favorite Dr Connor Rhodes in the medical drama's first four seasons and it's never been revealed what exactly caused his exit. 

Since his time on the show, Colin has made a return to theatre and has had leading roles in the Hallmark movies Love on Iceland and To Catch a Spy. He also had a lead role in the Peacock miniseries Irreverent in 2022.

Jesse Spencer

Jesse Spencer stands by engine in Chicago Fire© NBC
Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey in Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire bid farewell to original star Jesse Spencer in 2022, leaving fans devastated. His character Captain Matt Casey decide to leave the Windy City for three years, with him and girlfriend Sylvie Brett attempting to try long distance.

Jesse's decision to bow out of the series came after 18 years on network TV; he worked for eight years on the hit NBC show House before joining the cast of the firefighter drama. Discussing his exit, he told press: "I realized I'd been doing TV for a long time, so I added it up… We were coming up on the 200th episode and I called Derek to break the news that it was time for me to leave the show.

"He agreed we should at least get Casey to the 200th episodeIt was a difficult decision because I've loved the show from the start but there are other things I'd like to do in the future. There's family I need to take care of, and 18 years is a long time."

Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey looking ahead in Chicago Fire© NBC
Jesse Spencer left the show in 2022

Thankfully for fans, Jesse made a return to Chicago Fire as a guest cast member in season 11, so Casey has not disappeared from screens for good. Away from the show, the actor joined the Disney+ series Last Days of the Space Age in 2023.

Lauren German

lauren german

Lauren German starred as paramedic Leslie Shay in Chicago Fire for the first two seasons but was sadly killed off in the season three premiere. The much-loved medic met her fate after walking into a trap set by a serial arsonist. Opening up about why the show killed off Lauren's character, executive producer Matt Olmstead revealed to TV Line that he chose her "because it affected the most people". Explaining, he said: "Going into it, 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."

MORE: Tom Ellis lands first role following end of Lucifer - and it sounds amazing

It didn't take Lauren long to land her next role; the following year she was cast as Detective Chloe Decker on the fantasy crime drama Lucifer opposite Tom Ellis, which recently wrapped up after six hugely successful seasons.

Monica Raymund

monica raymund

Monica Raymund's exit from Chicago Fire in 2018 came as a bit of a shock to fans. On the show, her character Gabby Dawson left her Chicago life behind to help with post-hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

However, there was no dramatic reason why Monica chose to bow out. It was simply a case that her contract was up and she was keen to explore other roles away from the NBC drama. As she stated on Twitter after the news was announced, it was time to "move on to the next chapter in life". The door has remained open for Monica's return ever since and indeed, the actress who currently stars in Starz crime drama Hightown, made a small guest appearance in season eight.

Steven R. McQueen

steven mcqueen

Former Vampire Diaries star Steven R. McQueen's time on Chicago Fire was short but sweet. He joined in 2015 for a one-season arc as new recruit Jimmy Borelli before bowing out of the show in season five. Since then, he's appeared in Home by Spring, Medal of Honor and even reprised his role of Jeremy Gilbert in Vampire Diaries spinoff series Legacies.

MORE: Where are the cast of The Vampire Diaries now?

Charlie Barnett

charlie barnett

Another shocking exit for Chicago Fire came in 2015 when it was revealed that rookie firefighter Peter Mills would be hanging up his uniform - and it seems that the news came as something of a surprise to actor Charlie Barnett too. Speaking to Sarasota Herald-Tribune, he said his exit came out of nowhere. "They expressed that it wasn't about me or myself as an actor or my personality... But they felt that Peter had reached a plateau and the writers didn't know where to take him because he'd done so much already."

MORE: See the cast of Chicago Fire’s Instagram accounts: Taylor Kinney, Miranda Rae Mayo and more

However, what was Chicago Fire's loss was Netflix's gain. Starting with a small role on Orange is the New Black, Charlie has appeared in many of the streaming site's most popular shows including Russian Doll, Special and You. He also stars in new NBC drama Ordinary Joe and in 2022 was cast to appear in Disney+'s The Acolyte.

Jon Seda

jon seda

Jon Seda first appeared as police officer Antonio Dawson in Chicago Fire in a recurring role and was added as part of the main cast of Chicago PD when it launched in 2014. He also starred in Chicago Justice in 2017. However, just five years later in 2019, he was written out. According to sources, producers felt that his character "had been played out," which ultimately led to his exit. There seem to be no hard feelings, though, and Jon has since gone on to land the main role in 2021 sci-fi drama La Brea.

Yuri Sardarov

Yuri Sardarov as Brian "Otis" Zvonecek© NBC
Yuri Sardarov as Brian "Otis" Zvonecek

Yuri began as Brian 'Otis' Zvonecek in season one of Chicago Fire, but at the time was only a recurring character. This changed in season two however, and the Argo star became and stayed on the show as a regular until its eighth season, when Otis was killed off in its premiere episode after being wounded in the season seven finale.

The actor's reason for leaving appears to have again been in the hands of the writers and producers who wished to provide a shock death which would really affect fans of the show at the beginning of its eighth season. Since finishing in Chicago Fire in 2019, Yuri has starred in The Rookie and FBI: International.

Jesse Lee Soffer

Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead© NBC
Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead

Jesse's role as Senior Detective Jay Halstead saw the actor work alongside stars including Sophia Bush, Elias Koteas and Tracy Spiridakos - the latter of whose character Hailey Upton married Jay in season nine of the show. Jesse left the show a season later after his character became disillusioned by the force. 

SEE: Chicago PD stars celebrate milestone moment as Jesse Lee Soffer breaks silence on exit 

However, for the actor, it was a desire to expand on the roles he was working in which led him to not renew his contract in 2022. "I was ready for more," he told Variety in February 2023. Jesse returned to the show in 2023 to direct and episode of the ninth season.

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