Why did Yuri Sardarov leave Chicago Fire?

Chicago Fire has introduced a lot of polarizing characters over the years, but one character who fans could always agree on was Yuri Sardarov’s beloved firefighter Brian “Otis” Zvonecek.

Otis was hands down was one of the purest and kindhearted characters ever to be introduced in the One Chicago Franchise.

He was always going the extra mile in looking out for those in his 51 family, supporting them and rooting them on along the way. He was also among the most relatable members of the grew, what with his unabashed love of pop culture and struggles with feeling underappreciated/overlooked at times.

These reasons and so many countless others, are part of the reason why his shocking departure in the season 8 premiere left fans stunned and still talking about his departure to this day. But what exactly set the stage for his departure from the show? Let’s take a look.

What happened to Otis on Chicago Fire?

In the Chicago Fire season 8 premiere, “Sacred Ground,” Otis suffered what would be fatal injuries after a boiler exploded at a mattress factory fire 51 was responding to at the time of the explosion.

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In the episode, Cruz (Joe Minoso) discovered an unresponsive and massively burned Otis in the aftermath of the explosion. After safely pulled out of the mattress factor, Otis was rushed to the hospital where he succumbs to his injuries, but not before an emotional goodbye with his Cruz.

Why did Yuri Sardarov exit Chicago Fire?

Much like his costar Lauren German’s departure, it turns out Yuri Sardarov’s departure from Chicago Fire was not connected to his desire to leave the show. Instead, his exit from the series was a result of a story-driven plotline in which the writers decided to kill Otis off as a means of reminding the audience of the grave dangers that firefighters put themselves in.

When deciding to kill a character off as a means to show the real dangers that come with the job, the writers also looked for someone whose death would cause a ripple effect across the show due to their strong connections to multiple characters.

As showrunner Derek Haas revealed to TVLine after the season 8 premiere aired:

“We just decided it would be Otis because he lives with Cruz and Brett, and he’s on Casey’s truck, and he’s in Boden’s house, and he’s best friends with Mouch, and owns a bar with Herrmann… There are a million feelings that everybody has from a guy who’s been on the show from almost the first scene.”

Although disappointing to fans, it turns out that Sardarov was a true professional upon learning the show was going to write his character off the show, understanding that sometimes as writers you have to make difficult calls to kill beloved characters off.

“I called Yuri and told him what we were going to do, and I’ve never had a call as professional and as gracious, and I think, in the back of my head, that I know why, which is that he’s a writer himself, and he understands that you, as a writer, have to surprise the audience and give them something that they weren’t expecting,” Haas revealed.

Will Yuri Sardarov ever return to Chicago Fire?

Because his character was killed off, it’s unlikely that we’d ever see Yuri Sardarov return in a series regular or recurring role on Chicago Fire. However, there is always a possibility that he could return as Otis in a guest appearance as it’s not uncommon for shows to find ways to bring departed characters back from time to time.

Should Otis return, it’s likely that his return would be connected to some sort of flashback sequence or as part of a special episode that finds a more unique way to bring him back into the fold — such as how Grey’s Anatomy used dream sequences to bring back many departed favorites during its seventeenth season.

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