'Chicago Fire': Annie Ilonzeh Not Returning for Season 9 Amid Cast Shake-Up

Chicago Fire

The actress leaves the NBC firefighter drama after two seasons.

Chicago Fire is losing one of its stars.

One day after the NBC firefighter drama wrapped up its eighth season, the series will be without series regular Annie Ilonzeh, who plays paramedic Emily Foster, when it kicks off season nine, a source confirms to ET.

Ilonzeh, who joined Chicago Fire in 2018 as Gabby Dawson's (Monica Raymund) replacement, will be leaving after two seasons.

In Wednesday's finale, Foster revealed that she had reapplied to med school at Northwestern and landed an interview with the board of admissions. While her partner, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), was initially upset at her friend's possible new career path, she ultimately came around. It is unclear whether Ilonzeh will return to wrap up Foster's arc at the beginning of season nine.

The actress' departure marks the season's second major cast exit in season eight, following Otis' (Yuriy Sardarov) shocking death in the premiere. 

Showrunner Derek Haas alluded to big cast changes for next season when asked about the future of the show amid its massive three-season pickup from NBC.

"We will definitely have more cast shake-ups in the coming season," Haas told ET. "It’s just part of the way we work to keep our audience on their toes. When viewers say, 'It’ll never happen' on other shows, we want them to say, 'It’s Chicago Fire… they might just do it.'"

And he hinted that Foster's new professional aspirations were a long time coming, potentially suggesting that an exit was imminent.

"We started teasing it back in the 10th episode this season, when she saw the picture of her graduating class from when she gave up on her med school dreams," Haas said. "It has been growing this whole time."

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