Chicago Fire loves to pull the rug out from under its viewers. There have been too many shocking character exits to count over the course of the show, and they serve two very important purposes: they keep the viewer constantly off guard, and they ensure that they never forget about the risks that firefighters take on a regular basis.
We’ve covered the most shocking character exits extensively over the years, but a less explored topic within the One Chicago universe are the instances where a character makes an unexpected return to the show. Sometimes, these returns prove more memorable than the exits that preceded them. Let’s break down the ones that have stood the test of time:
Andy Darden returned via flashback in Chicago Fire S3
Andy Darden (Corey Sorenson), we hardly knew ya. The character has cast a large shadow over the show, especially when it comes to his children, but he died pretty abruptly in the pilot episode. By the time season 3 rolled around, then was a general acceptance that fans would never really get to see more of the character in action.
Then then episode “Always” dropped. A rare instance of Chicago Fire using flashbacks to tell a story, the episode brought back dead characters like Darden and Paramedic Leslie Shay (Lauren German) and gave us a chance to get to know them better. It was bittersweet, as we knew how their respective stories ended, but it was a welcome surprise nonetheless.
Gabby Dawson visited the firehouse in Chicago Fire S8
Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) had it rough on Chicago Fire. The character had a relationship fall apart and witnessed the death of several friends, so it made sense why she would want to relocate to her native Puerto Rico and start fresh.
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Dawson always seemed like a person who was ironclad in her decisions, which is what made her sudden appearance in the season 8 episode “Best Friend Magic” so surprising. Suddenly, she was back in the Windy City and reconsidering her romance with Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer). It didn’t go anywhere, and Dawson soon returned home, but the episode was a fascinating glimpse into what could have been.
Emma Jacobs makes an unwelcome return in Chicago Fire S11
Emma Jacobs (Caitlin Carver) is one of the Chicago Fire characters fans love to hate. She really established herself as a manipulative presence in season 10, and her fate at the end of the season seemed as though it would mark the end of the her story. No dice. She reemerged with a higher position in the episode “A Guy I Used to Know”, and even had some tense moments with Violet (Hanako Greensmith) to boot.
While Jacobs only appeared in the one episode, it feels as though the writers are setting her up to play a bigger role down the line. The fact that she remains part of the firefighting ecosystem, in a higher position than before no less, suggests that we haven’t seen the last of her…
Matt Casey popped up and proposed in Chicago Fire S11
Casey can’t seem to stay away. He technically left the show in season 10, but he returned for the season finale, and then two more times in season 11. The last of these appearances was the big one, though, as he decided to get on one knee and pop the question to ex-girlfriend, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), in the closing moments of the season 11 finale.
There was a sense that they might get back together, but proposing marriage took it a whole new level. It also means that we’re guaranteed at least a little bit of Casey screen time in season 12, regardless of whether or not Brett says yes (we hope, and assume, she will).
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