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What Happened to Jessica "Chili" Chillton on Chicago Fire?
Dora Madison Burge played both paramedic Chili and her identical twin, Jellybean, in two tragic storylines.
Chicago Fire has had many new additions over the years—including Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Blake Galla (Alberto Rosende), who both became One Chicago staples after joining the show. Paramedic Jessica "Chili" Chilton (Dora Madison Burge) was another such fresh face after joining Firehouse 51 at the end of Season 3. However, she sadly departed in Season 4.
Her departure left a lot of fans wondering why her character left for good, and if she would ever return. Relive Chili's character arc and read up on what the show's writers have to say about the burning questions.
When Did Chili First Appear on Chicago Fire?
In Season 3, Episode 21 ("We Called Her Jellybean"), Chili joined the ranks of Firehouse 51. "Everyone calls me Chili because I hate the name Jessica. It's better than my sister, I guess, because we call her Jellybean," she said to the rest of the team on her first day.
She received a lukewarm welcome from the group, who were all still upset about their old friend Peter Mills (Charlie Barnett), who'd just left Chicago to live with his family in a surprising turn of events. Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) scolded the team's behavior toward Chili, encouraging them to welcome her with more open arms. "Stop looking like somebody just pissed in your coffee," the chief yelled.
Chili was understanding of their attitude, though. "Sorry if it was a little frosty back there," Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) said when the two had a moment alone. A calm Chili shrugged and responded, "They're just honoring their friend."
What was Chili's role on Chicago Fire?
Chili was a paramedic who quickly proved her medical skills in her very first episode when she made a call—against Brett's opinion—to administer life-saving fluids to a fire victim. That didn't mean the team was willing to accept her quite yet though: Brett turned down her offer for lunch and she got the memo.
Later in the episode, though, she earns the attention of Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) when she talks about her adult beverage invention in the break room. Her idea, which she called "Chilleeze," would chill bottles of champagne instantly, and Herrmann wanted to see if his bar, Molly's, could benefit from it.
It soon became clear that Chili was funneling all of her money into the business idea, and showering at the firehouse because she couldn't pay her water bill. Herrmann offered her a no-interest loan from Molly's so that she would stop using her personal funds for the business, kickstarting a nuanced relationship between the two that came crashing down just days later, after champagne company announced a similar device and beat them to the market.
What happened with Chili and Borrelli?
Chili's tenure on Chicago Fire included a dramatic, fast-burn relationship with Jimmy Borrelli (Steven R. McQueen). The two first lit a spark in Season 4, Episode 5 ("Regarding This Wedding"), after Chili told the whole firehouse about her complicated past.
One Chicago fans had met her sister, Jellybean (also played by Burge) over a year earlier, when that character appeared on Chicago P.D as a civilian informant (CI) to Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda). She earned his trust but eventually left town per his instructions.
In a moment of alone time, Borrelli asked Chili about her absent family. "My sister moved to Kansas City, I've been trying to call her, but she's a mess," Chili said.
"Oh, she's the mess?" Borrelli joked.
After the two hit it off, Casey found them kissing and warned Borrelli not to pursue a work relationship, advice that escalated when Dallas Patterson (Brian White) also walked in on the couple. Borrelli broke things off with Chili rather quickly after that and she told him she didn't want to be friends.
"I can't believe that you actually broke up with me just because your Lieutenant told you to," she said to him in the locker room.
Who was Chili's twin sister?
The Borrelli breakup was the beginning of the end for Chili's tenure at Firehouse 51. Many of her coworkers assumed that she was upset about the end of the short-lived love affair, but there was really something bigger going on for the paramedic.
In Season 4, Chili's identical twin, Jellybean had gotten into trouble after her move and was found dead in a "Kansas City flop house."
In Season 4 Episode 11 ("The Path to Destruction"), Antonio Dawson broke the news to his sister, Gabby (Monica Raymund), who told the rest of 51 about Chili's tragic loss.
Why did Chili leave Chicago Fire?
Chili's personal life impacted her career in a lot of ways, most notably when she administered the wrong drug to a patient and lied to officials to cover it up, which happened in the same episode as the reveal of Jellybean's death.
Eventually, Chili's grief impacted her ability to serve as a paramedic at all. Season 4, Episode 14 ("All Hard Parts") was Chili's final appearance on Chicago Fire. After Casey and Brett had witnessed Chili drinking on the job, Chief Boden asked her to leave Firehouse 51.
Showrunner Matt Olmstead told The Hollywood Reporter that Chili's mid-season departure was meant to surprise viewers. "You can’t just save up the big moments and departures and entrances for characters at Episode 1 and Episode 22," he said. He also confirmed that they had no plans for Chili to return to the show, which has remained true through Season 10.