Tragedy befell the One Chicago family on Monday, when it was confirmed that Treat Williams had died at the age of 71. The actor appeared in sixteen episodes of Chicago Fire, and left an indelible impression as an ex-arson investigator and the father of Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney).
Williams’ passing may inspire some fans to go back and revisit his episodes, which were spread out between 2013 and 2018. There’s also been some speculation about the fate of his character Benny Severide. When did he die? What season did he last appear in?
Why did Treat Williams leave Chicago Fire?
Benny Severide made his Chicago Fire debut in the season 1 episode “Warm and Dead”. He was quickly set up as a foil to the younger Severide, in terms of his approach and his willingness to cut corners to get the results he needed. He was most prominent in season 2, however, when he was in nine episodes and pivotal to a subplot involving Kelly and his sister, Katie (Brittany Curran).
Benny’s presence diminished after that, and he didn’t appear in seasons 5 and 6. He returned for the season 7 episode “A Volatile Mixture”, but the comeback proved short-lived, as he died in the episode “All the Proof.” Benny suffered a stroke, and was honored by the fire department for his years of service. Both of his children were in attendance.
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Williams, who established himself as a reliable actor in films like Hair (1979), Once Upon a Time In America (1984) and 127 Hours (2010), posted a photo alongside his fellow cast members as soon as he wrapped shooting on Chicago Fire.
“Finished my #ChicagoFire episodes,” the actor tweeted out. “Miranda Rae Mayo, Taylor Kinney, Kim Delaney. Great actors all.”
There was no behind-the-scene reason why Williams was written off the show in season 7, as the writers merely felt that they had taken the Benny Severide character as far as it could go, and felt that his death would do more to inform Kelly’s character moving forward.
Williams continued to act on television until his death. He had guest spots on Hawaii Five-0 (2013) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2015) and he played crucial supporting roles in shows like Blue Bloods (2016-2023) and We Own This City (2022). He will be missed.
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