"I realized I've been doing TV for a long time. I added it up, and I think this year is my 18th year of network television," the actor shared in a Zoom press conference. "I called [showrunner] Derek [Haas] and broke him the news, said I thought it was time to leave the show, and he agreed that we should at least get Casey to 200 episodes."
Spencer admitted, "It was a difficult decision because I've loved the show from the start, but there are other things that I would like to do in the future, and there's some family that I need to take care of, and 18 years is a long time."
Derek Haas, executive producer of "Chicago Fire," also spoke to the press on Monday -- confirming the actor’s departure and admitted that he had "bittersweet feelings -- or just bitter feelings" about his exit.
Haas thanked Spencer for "years of amazing friendship and service and acting and making the show credible." He also producer admitted the sendoff episode was difficult to write given the circumstances.
"All of us felt that anything past the first 13 episodes was a bonus," Haas revealed. "I just feel like we've been on borrowed time for a long time and of course I wanted to talk Jesse into staying and coming back and doing all the things for as long as we could, but I was very happy that he gave us five more episodes instead of just leaving at the end of the [last] season, which led us to be able to bring back a storyline from Season 1 — to bring back the Darden boys."
Of course, Spencer's exit doesn't mean he won't ever be back. "This is a three-year commitment that Casey is making, but hopefully, we'll see him before those three years are done," Haas said.
Spencer also the details of his send off organized by "Chicago Fire" cast and crew, recalling how cast and crew mates struck pipe poles to the ground and began chanting his name.
"It became this, pseudo-tribal send-off. It was awesome because everyone was sitting outside of the burn stage and it is raised up, and it gave off this big, hollow sound," he shared. "And then they wheeled out a cake and we gave out speeches. It was a fitting way to finish it. We started with fire and we ended with it."