Since 2012, viewers have been transported to Chicago, Illinois for a glimpse into the lives of firefighters, police officers, healthcare workers, attorneys and paramedics in NBC’s “One Chicago” universe, which includes Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med and, for one season, Chicago Justice, according to NBC.
Before her exit at the beginning of the third season of Chicago Fire, Leslie Shay, played by actress Lauren German, was a fan favorite. Over two seasons, Shay, a paramedic and homosexual, developed a strong following in the LGBTQ community as her character allowed the show to explore the complexities of same-sex relationships. It didn’t hurt that Shay also shared an apartment with her best friend, Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, who has long been considered a heartthrob on the show.
Given her popularity on the series, she came as a surprise to many fans when, at the end of the second season of Chicago Fire, Shay was involved in a building explosion by a serial arsonist that left her critically injured. As reported, fans were left waiting to learn Shay’s fate until the show’s third season premiere, which confirmed what many feared: Shay was dead, and Lauren German would never return to Chicago Fire to reprise her role.
Much like shows like Grey’s Anatomy, the “One Chicago” universe is prone to hurting or killing characters simply for dramatic effect. This flair for the dramatic was on display when the show’s writers decided to kill off beloved character Leslie Shay at the start of the third season. In an interview, Chicago Fire executive producer Matt Olmstead said that it was decided that they would kill off Shay to have a “big impact, rather than go with a lesser-known character.”
The producer’s words began to resonate among the fans who did not agree with this decision. Removing such a popular character from the series and, above all, losing a great actress like Lauren German from the drama, could be lethal for what I followed in the series. Still, the NBC drama went on its way, and she wasn’t the only one who ended up walking away.
Lauren German has since moved on from her role on Chicago Fire and most recently played Chloe Decker on Lucifer, a show that follows the devil himself as he leaves Hell behind to start a new life in Los Angeles. Lucifer officially came to an end after six seasons in September 2021 and no announcements have yet been made of the actress’s next steps.