‘Chicago Fire’: The Real Reason Leslie Shay Was Killed Off

An integral part of the Wolf Entertainment trilogy, Chicago Fire has been on the air for almost a decade. The popular television series has seen its fair share of tragedies, plot twists, and socially relevant storylines.

One of the biggest moments on the show, that rocked fans to the core, was when the ever-popular paramedic Leslie Shay (Lauren German) was suddenly written out of the storyline. Viewers were shocked by her unexpected tragic death and saddened to learn she was never coming back.

Despite being part of the original cast, and a fan-favorite, show creators had their reasons for killing off the multifaceted character. Loyal viewers of Chicago Fire are still trying to come to terms with the loss of Shay.

RELATED: ‘Chicago Fire’ Actor David Eigenberg Says the Cast Is ‘Like Family’

Executive producer Dick Wolf started the One Chicago franchise with Chicago Fire, which debuted on NBC in 2012. The sister television series of Chicago PD and Chicago Med were soon to follow.

Shay’s character was a likable paramedic that played a pivotal role in Firehouse 51. The blonde-haired beauty had emotional ties to many of the other characters, including her partner Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund). She shared an apartment with station heartthrob Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney), and the two best friends were even considering having a child together.

In Season 1 of Chicago Fire, Shay’s character was developedand she quickly became a fan-favorite. Being a lesbian, she developed a strong following in the LGBTQ community.

In the Season 2 finale, “Real Never Waits,” viewers were shocked to see Shay seriously injured in a building explosion caused by a serial arsonist. The cliffhanger left fans wondering who would survive the deadly blast.

As Season 3 returned, viewers learned that Shay was hit on the head by a pipe in the explosion and did not make it. After appearing in 49 episodes, Chicago’s favorite paramedic was written off the show.

‘Chicago Fire’: Saying goodbye to Leslie Shay 

Lauren German as Leslie Shay
Lauren German as Leslie Shay | Elizabeth Morris/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Shay returned for a cameo role in 2015, appearing in the Chicago Fire episodes “I Am the Apocalypse” and “Call It Paradise.” As her story arc came to an end, Shay’s name was etched on the door of Ambulance 61, and her character left the show for good.

Executive Producer Matt Olmstead explained to TV Line that they intended to shock fans with Shay’s sudden death. He explained, “Going into it, we knew if we were going to do it, it had to be to someone who was going to give us a big impact, as opposed to going for a lesser-known character, which would equate to a pulled punch. So as opposed to approaching it with timidity, we thought we’d go for it.”

Olmstead admitted it was a hard decision, but in the end, they chose to kill off Shay “because it affected the most people.”

One Chicago crossovers 

The One Chicago trilogy series has a lot of interconnecting plotlines and overlap between the shows. Over the years, there have been plenty of devastating deaths, sometimes involving central characters. The writing style keeps viewers on their feet, never sure if a major player will meet their fate.

One of the most heartbreaking deaths involved Nadia Decotis (Stella Maeve) on Chicago P.D. Erin (Sophia Bush) brought the former escort under her wing and was helping her become a police officer. Decotis was inevitably kidnapped by a serial killer and murdered. The gory details of the rape, and subsequent death, were revealed during a trial in a crossover episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Other major characters killed off unexpectedly include Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas) on Chicago P.D. and Brian Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov) on Chicago Fire.

TV Insider noted, “the firehouse hasn’t been the same” since Shay’s untimely death. They said fans stills miss “Shay and Severide’s friendship” and “there hasn’t been another one like it in the One Chicago universe, and there probably never will be.”