Chicago Fire and Chicago PD’s familiar yet radically different ships

"Light Things Up" Episode 819 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)
"Light Things Up" Episode 819 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett, Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey -- (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC) /

Both Chicago Fire and Chicago PD have romances boiling over this season—Fire has Sylvie Brett and Matthew Casey, and PD has Jay Halstead and Hailey Upton.

On the surface, these two relationships that have come to drive a large portion of their shows are totally different, but dig deeper and you’ll see they’re actually quite similar. It’s the way each series has handled them that’s put them on opposite ends of the spectrum.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers up to, and including, the most recent episodes of Chicago PD and Chicago Fire. If you’re not caught up, you can do so here.

Chicago Fire saw Casey (Jesse Spencer) and Brett (Kara Killmer) finally share a passionate kiss in the second episode of season 9. However, when Casey couldn’t say he was completely over his ex-wife, the moment fizzled out and Brett later told him it couldn’t happen again.

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Over on Chicago PD, Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) locked lips with Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) after she got a job offer from the FBI. While One Chicago fans won’t see what happens next until this week, it certainly looks like the two will become an official couple.

Two completely different outcomes—but they’re not exactly different storylines.

Casey and Brett vs. Halstead and Upton

The Halstead and Upton, and Casey and Brett storylines have a number of similarities about them. Both are plots that came to a head this season, after simmering over previous season(s).

Both Casey and Halstead were previously in long-term relationships with other main characters—Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund) and Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) respectively—that ended with them being left and their exes taking other jobs away from Chicago.

Both of them then had an ill-advised fling (remember Naomi or Camila?) before their shows focused in on their current pairings.

On the ladies’ side, both Brett and Upton were previously involved with other co-workers—Kyle Sheffield, the Chicago Fire Department chaplain, and Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger). Both of them worked directly with the exes of the people they’re in love with; in Upton’s case, she’s now exactly in Lindsay’s old spot!

Both relationships saw the women realize their feelings first and struggle with whether or not to reveal them before the couples finally shared an impulsive, passionate kiss.

And yet, the two ships have ended up in diametrically opposite places; one is soon to be together and the other couldn’t be further apart. How did that happen, and what exactly does that mean for both Chicago PD and Chicago Fire?

Chicago Fire vs. Chicago PD

While Chicago Fire as well as Chicago PD have used the same general template for their burgeoning ships, they’ve wound up telling different stories because the writers have taken different approaches to each pairing.

Fire has been exceedingly slow-burning the Brett and Casey story, but it’s also had more pieces to move around the board. While Monica Raymund chose to leave, she’s already reprised her role as Dawson in both seasons since she left.

That, in turn, gave Derek Haas and company the ability to do an episode in which Dawson and Casey had a one-night stand—which obviously then further complicated Casey’s feelings and set up the predicament he’s in now. It’s hard to argue there isn’t a “regardless of Gabby” when fans know he slept with his ex-wife less than a season ago.

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Conversely, given the circumstances under which Sophia Bush left PD, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see Lindsay on the show again. Rick Eid and his team also aren’t in the habit of looking back; the show only mentioned Erin and Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda) in the episodes immediately after their exits. Eid has said publicly that the series has moved on from Antonio, so it’s fair to assume it’s the same with Lindsay.

So while Chicago Fire has Brett and Casey addressing their feelings about his ex-wife, and even having her make a reappearance, Chicago PD has yet to have Halstead and Upton talk about any issues Jay might have about dating his partner again. Or Hailey’s own history having been in love with a colleague before.

While Fire is digging into the issues, PD is wholesale moving past them so far.

That then explains why the outlook is so much sunnier for Halstead and Upton right now, then it is for Brett and Casey. The two relationships are looking in different directions.

It would be incredibly interesting if Jay and Hailey do bring up their baggage; there’s a lot to unpack there, which is great material for both character and relationship development. They’ve both been in similar places relationship-wise, which could bring them closer together.

It would also be a way for Chicago PD to show how Jay and Hailey will be different from Jay and Erin; whereas a large part of Linstead was Jay supporting Erin with her issues, Upstead could be Hailey supporting Jay as he moves on, not just romantically but remember this is a guy who ended up in therapy not so long ago.

Meanwhile, Brett and Casey still have hope. Chicago Fire may have had Brett close the door on any future involvement with Casey, but in the same episode Casey made clear to Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) that Brett’s the only girl he’s thinking of. If he can only articulate that to Brett somehow, it would go a long way. She’s someone who’s had two broken engagements now; she needs to feel that this won’t be another fleeting romance.

These are two diverging stories, each with their own journeys to take, which makes it all the more interesting that they began in largely the same place.

Next. Revisit Chicago PD's Upton and Halstead moment. dark

For the latest Chicago Fire season 9 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.