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You Totally Forgot Jesse Spencer's Big Break Was in This Iconic 2000s Comedy

Neal Fox was the dreamboat of Uptown Girls, and Spencer was responsible for every swoon. 

By Jessica White

Jesse Spencer may be best known among Chi-Hards for his beloved role as Matthew Casey on Chicago Fire, but he has some seriously cherished projects within his portfolio. Exhibit A: Before his days in the firefighter uniform, Spencer actually got his big break as an early 2000s heartthrob. 

How to Watch

Watch Chicago Fire Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

If you'll recall, Spencer's breakout role was in the charming dramedy Uptown Girls (2003), starring alongside the late Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning. The film follows a flighty and free-spirited young woman named Molly (Murphy) who becomes a nanny after losing her trust fund. Spencer plays Neal Fox, a charming young musician who quickly strikes up a romance with Molly despite her chaotic lifestyle. 

Jesse Spencer in Uptown Girls: Remember the Chicago Fire star's big break

The acoustic guitar-wielding Neal is simply adorable in each of his swoon-worthy scenes. His and Molly's Uptown Girls relationship is iconic, much like Casey's connection with Chicago Fire's Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer).

Watch one of Spencer's most heart-wrenching scenes from Uptown Girls, below: 

Spencer bid farewell to Chicago Fire full-time in 2022, but luckily Casey has returned to the Windy City a few times in Season 11. For the finale, Casey actually proposed to Brett, but her answer is a mystery until Season 12 premieres this fall

But does Casey's proposal mean that he could return to Chicago Fire permanently? The short answer: We will have to wait to see, but it's possible.

"The idea when I left the show was that if it was appropriate and it would work with the storyline they wanted to do, I would be open — and they would be open — to bringing Casey back," Spencer told NBC Insider. "The storyline [in Episode 18] does allude to Casey sort of eyeing whether he could actually move back to 51. Can he potentially, in the future, rekindle his relationship with Brett [Kara Killmer] and start that fire again? We’re 'gonna have to see. Casey’s looking at it; it’s a potential thing, but we just don’t know right now. We’ll leave that to the future. We’ll throw it to the gods and see what they say." 

Actor Jesse Spencer in his firefighter gear on Chicago Fire.

Regardless, Spencer continues to enjoy playing Casey, the certified heart of Chicago Fire for many seasons. "It was actually really smooth," Spencer told NBC Insider about slipping back into the role for his Season 11 scenes. "It was really great. It had been a while; it’d been, like, over a year or something since I’d been back. But it's like riding a bike, you know? There are familiar faces. I know pretty much all the crew and pretty much all the cast. I had a ball."