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How Matthew Casey Became the Heart of Chicago Fire

From the very beginning, we loved him.

By Jessica White

Throughout Chicago Fire's 10-season run, we've met many beloved characters, but it's hard to beat the endlessly courageous Captain of Firehouse 51, Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer.) Between Casey's self-sacrificial nature and his compassion for others, it makes sense that he's become a Chicago Fire fan favorite. Whether he's charming his partners or rescuing someone from a fire, Casey is always looking out for Firehouse 51 and never fails to reach out a helping hand. 

How to Watch

Watch Chicago Fire on NBC and Peacock.

Casey is one of the standout characters of Chicago Fire, and as Season 10 ends, we're taking a look back at Casey's long-running place in fans' hearts. 

Season 1: Matthew Casey handles tragedy

Chicago Fire begins with a tension between best friends Casey and Severide (played by Taylor Kinney) due to the recent death of one of their fellow firefighters, Andy Darden. Casey takes the loss hard and partially blames Severide for the incident (which Severide reciprocates). Luckily, during a rescue mission of another fellow firefighter, the two rectify their differences. During Season 1 of Chicago Fire, Casey was also navigating an on-and-off-again relationship with his fiancée, Hallie Thomas, but the two break up. Meanwhile, one of the paramedics of Truck 81, Gabriela Dawson (Monica Maria Raymund), secretly pines for Casey as the two flirt and play cat-and-mouse.

Gabriela's bubble bursts after Casey decides to get back together with Hallie. But Hallie becomes the victim of a fire at the clinic where she works, an incident that reeks of corruption. While Casey rescues her from the fire, she succumbs to her injuries and dies, leaving Casey devastated. Casey teams up with Chicago P.D's Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) to track down the arsonist. Finally able to grieve his fiancée's death, Casey takes solace in being comforted by Gabriela. 

Season 2: Matthew Casey moves on

Season 2 begins with Casey attempting to help Andy Darden's widow, Heather, as she struggles to take care of her two children, Ben and Griffin. Casey, compassionate as ever, does his best to lend a helping hand, but things get complicated once Heather is arrested for vehicular manslaughter and goes to prison. Heather asks Casey to take care of her kids during the 18-month prison sentence. Due to his close friendship with her late husband, Casey agrees. Luckily, Casey doesn't have to tackle the challenge on his own. Gabriela, who has been helping Casey grieve the loss of Heather in Season 1, helps Casey with the children, and the two eventually begin dating.

Casey forms a bond with the two boys, which is cut short after Heather is released from prison early due to overcrowding. While Heather is thankful and can see the connection between the kids and Casey, she decides to move the family to Florida, to Casey's dismay. Casey and Gabriela's relationship continues to heat up, and in the final episode of the season, Casey proposes to her. Right after the proposal, Firehouse 51 gets a call about a structure fire, which leads to the entire building collapsing with the firefighters inside. Casey's proposal to Gabriela goes unanswered. 

Season 3: Matthew Casey and Gabriela get engaged

Season 3 begins with a gut-punch: The building collapse from Season 2 resulted in the tragic death of one of the Firehouse 51 firefighters, Shay. Everyone reacts emotionally to the news, with Gabriela taking a month off work and Severide going MIA. Having dealt with his fair share of tragedies, Casey helps both Severide and Gabriela attempt to move forward. After Gabriela takes a month off work, Casey confronts her about the proposal, resulting in Gabriela turning it down. Because the proposal occurred on the same day Shay died, Gabriela doesn't want to mix the tragic memory with the one of their engagement. Lucky for fans of Gabriela and Casey (because who wasn't?), the pair get engaged later after Casey reveals Shay helped pick out the ring. 

While the engagement is great news, tensions rise between Casey and Gabriela after she begins working under him on Truck 81. This complicates their relationship because if they marry, she can't work under him as a firefighter candidate. Predictably, the two butt heads after Gabriela makes a mistake under Casey, and he is forced to kick her off the Truck. The two break up, and Casey decides to find some off-shift construction work at a nearby club owned by a former firefighter, Nesbitt. Casey learns that the owner leads a human trafficking ring, and being the endlessly helpful person Casey is, he becomes entangled in the mess as he helps one of the girls. The season ends with Gabriela visiting Casey's apartment to discuss a pressing matter, only to find the body of the girl Casey was helping dead on his floor.

Season 4: Matthew Casey's budding political career 

Gabriela reveals she's pregnant with Casey's baby. Meanwhile, Casey isn't over the human trafficking incident after learning Nesbitt is working with both the Feds and the traffickers. Casey, predictably, takes the matter into his own hands, leading Nesbitt to follow and threaten him. The FBI and Chicago P.D. save Casey, and Nesbitt is arrested. Hoorah! Happy ending, right? Wrong. 

While at work with Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker), Gabriela suddenly cries out in pain and is taken to the emergency room, where she is taken care of by none other than Chicago Med's Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss). Casey and Gabriela are devastated to learn that she has miscarried, which results in the heartbroken couple struggling within their relationship. After a tornado hits the city, an alderman asks Casey to make a speech to drive in relief donations, as Casey was at the scene and helped save many lives. Casey is happy to do so, drawing in many donations. After the families receive no relief, Casey learns the alderman took the money for personal use and effectively says, "That's politics, kid!"

As we see throughout Chicago Fire, Casey isn't for the whole corruption thing. He chooses to run for city alderman with Gabriela's encouragement. Casey struggles with balancing his job at Firehouse 51 and his political aspirations and is tempted to quit the campaign, but he luckily doesn't. After being photographed missing one of the debates against his opponent to address an emergency, the image of heroism helps him win a four-year alderman term. Meanwhile, Gabriela finds a young boy in an apartment fire whose mother overdosed and becomes close to the child. She learns that the boy was being fostered and will be placed back in the system, so she tells Casey she wants to become a foster parent. Casey initially disapproves of Gabriela's decision but ultimately decides to support her and the child, Louie.

Season 5: Matthew Casey gets married

Season 5 deals with Casey's political career and how it impacts his foster child, Louie. Gabriela and Casey wish to adopt Louie, but an opposing politician tells the media that Casey leveraged his alderman position to expedite the fostering waiting times for Louie. The accusation hits Casey and Gabriela hard, as they are both terrified of Louie getting taken away from them. As the political conflict is resolved, Casey and Gabriela learn they can adopt Louie. However, Gabriela will be considered a single parent due to them not being married.

After realizing that they are short of options, Casey and Gabriela decide to get married at the courthouse in their uniforms, surrounded by the entirety of Firehouse 51. Happily ever after? Rarely for Chicago Fire couples. The beautiful moment is effectively shattered on the way home after Casey confronts a man who has been following them for a few days. The man turns out to be Louie's biological father, who wants him back, again devastating the couple.

Season 6: Matthew Casey moves up the ranks

After a risky rescue mission, Casey anticipates he is in trouble with the CFD due to a visiting supervisor breathing down his neck. Instead, Casey learns that he is commended for his efforts, receiving a recommendation for a promotion to Captain. 

Gabriela tells Casey that she wants to try having a baby again, which is delightful news to Casey. The couple visit a doctor and sadly learn that Gabriela has a 10% chance of dying if she becomes pregnant. Casey suggests they adopt and researches the process behind closed doors. This infuriates Gabriela as she is fearful that their history with Louie will repeat itself. The two have an explosive argument, leading Gabriela to leave their apartment, where she asks about a job in Puerto Rico. Casey sits at home, unaware of his wife's whereabouts.

Season 7: Matthew Casey deals with divorce and PTSD

The tides begin to turn in Gabriela and Casey's relationship after she tells him that she has accepted a job with a relief effort in Puerto Rico. The iconic pair sadly separates for good, leaving Casey heartbroken. Casey channels his emotions into solving a series of explosions in trailer parks. Working with reporter Naomi Graham, the two become closer and eventually arrest the arsonists responsible. Casey addresses a suicide call and is ambushed by a gunman, narrowly escaping his death. The incident results in Casey struggling with PTSD.

Casey tells Severide of the divorce and becomes closer to the Paramedic in Charge  (PIC) and Gabriela's close friend, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer). Brett is dating Kyle Sheffield, a chaplain for the CFD. Brett helps Casey confront his grief over Gabriela's sudden departure and his ongoing issues with PTSD. The two become closer, which results in both of them realizing they have feelings for each other. As Casey's attraction to Brett grows stronger, he is dismayed to learn that she has become engaged.

Season 8: Matthew Casey is unlucky in love

Another member of Firehouse 51 is killed in a factory fire, forcing Casey to choose a replacement. Casey struggles with this assignment as he blames himself for the death and grieves silently. Casey hires Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), a reckless firefighter, to join Truck 81. Casey tries out the dating scene but seems to be unlucky in love.

Then, Casey and his fellow firefighters are shocked to find out that Gabriela has returned to Chicago for a fundraiser connected to the Puerto Rico relief efforts. She asks Casey to attend the event with her, and Casey is understandably hesitant due to their history. He asks for Brett's advice on whether or not attending is a good idea, and she encourages him to go. Gabriela and Casey easily fall into their old ways, enjoying the gala together and hooking up at the night's end. While the moment is intimate, Gabriela returns to Puerto Rico, and Casey's situation remains the same.

Season 9: Matthew Casey's new love story begins

Casey and Brett's bond grows stronger throughout the ninth season of Chicago Fire. After Brett deals with a stalker, Casey spends the night at her place to make sure she is safe. Both single and available, Casey and Brett's feelings for each other deepen. And later Brett tells Casey, "It's always been you." 

Casey visits Brett's apartment, and they kiss. But before they go further, Brett asks Casey if he is still in love with his ex-wife and if he'd leave Chicago for her if she wanted. Casey is stunned by the question, and although he wishes to stay, he leaves her apartment. Things get awkward quickly.

Casey tells Brett that despite his history with Gabriela, he wants to make him and Brett work. His words fail to comfort Brett, and she tells Casey to forget that anything happened between. This proves to be difficult, and the pair continue to battle their actual feelings until Brett finally admits that the feelings are mutual. They kiss, make up, hook up, and things finally seem to be going up for Casey at the end of the season.

Season 10: Matthew Casey Leaves Firehouse 51

Casey and Brett thrive in their new relationship, but Casey receives a surprising message from Andy Darden's son, Griffin. Casey learns that Griffin is looking for him, so he travels to Oregon for a visit. Griffin tells him that his family is in trouble because his mother is in prison again and his younger brother, Ben, is struggling. Casey is a bleeding heart of a man, so he naturally wants to help. Deciding that the two boys need him again, Casey tries to move them from their home in Oregon to Chicago but is unsuccessful. He chooses to make the ultimate self-sacrifice: move to Oregon to take care of them until Ben turns 18 and can go to school in Chicago. 

Ben is 15, so the relocation wouldn't take place for another three years, naturally upsetting Brett. While the situation seems rocky for the couple, she decides to stick it out and agrees to a long-distance relationship with Casey. After ten seasons of endless bravery, Casey leaves Firehouse 51 to move to Oregon. 

Season 11 of Chicago Fire will return to NBC this fall. The show airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.