When you're part of the Firehouse 51 family on Chicago Fire, danger comes with the territory. The series follows the firefighting personnel within the Chicago Fire Department as they face disaster and personal drama at every turn.
The team members at Firehouse 51 often lay their lives on the line to protect people from peril. More often than not, the show pulls a few punches as to who on the crew stays or leaves. The Season 11 penultimate episode definitely delivers on that front.
Firehouse 51 recruits come and go each season, either from dangers on the job or getting caught up in political storms. It's tough to say who will stick around and who might have to leave the department at some point.
Since joining the Chicago Fire Station, Sam Carver (Jake Lockett) has had more than a few challenges. And now, he could be in trouble with the law. Is Carver leaving Chicago Fire?
Is Carver leaving 'Chicago Fire'? His job is in danger.
Sam Carver first appeared in the Season 11 premiere, "Hold On Tight." He is currently assigned to Truck 81 of Firehouse 81. He replaced the likes of Mason Locke (Chris Mansa), an ex-convict who became a firefighter and was on the crew for Seasons 9 and 10.
Carver’s appearance initially caused some tension with Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo), which was a significant part of his earlier storyline.
Fortunately, Carver and Kidd resolved their issues by the Season 11 fall finale, which eventually led to Carver's conviction and potential jail time. Basically, Carver witnesses Shep (Eric Peterson) stalk and threaten Kidd's safety. So Carver loses it and fights Shep. But the law sees Shep as a defenseless unhoused person, not a dangerous stalker.
Throughout Episode 21, "Change of Plans," Kidd and the CFD attempt to get the charges against Carver dropped. But while he's under investigation, Kidd is also forced to suspend Carver in the meantime. By working with various lawyers and even offering Shep help, Kidd eventually convinces Shep to drop the charges.
Thanks to this, Carver gets his suspension lifted and his job back. But this could simply be a misdirection if Carver is intending to leave. It's common for Chicago Fire to give us a sigh of relief just before pulling the rug out from underneath us!
‘Chicago Fire’ showrunner says Carver is one of the “more complex characters” of the show.
Although the newer addition initially didn’t have the best relationship with Kidd or his other Firehouse peers, things shifted as time went on. According to Chicago Fire’s EP Andrea Newman, Carver’s slow burn (no pun intended) was the direction the writers always wanted to take for the “complex” character.
“It's going to be a journey for Carver," Andrea previewed to TVLine in December 2022. "He's probably one of our more complex characters brought into 51 in terms of knowing how to fit in exactly."
The crew eventually accepted Carver after the fall finale. Also, he has had a few love connections this season. His first match was with Wendy Seager (Andy Allo), although he recently spent more time with Violet Mikami (Hanako Greensmith).
Neither Jake Lockett nor the 'Chicago Fire' producers have hinted at a Carver exit.
While the stars of long-running procedurals don't always reveal who will or will not survive the season, there are usually a few clues to help us figure out who's leaving. Jake Lockett, who plays Carver, proudly displays his job as an actor on Chicago Fire on his Instagram feed and bio. Even still, he hasn't posted since November 2022, so he may want to leave us on the edge of our seats.
He does have a couple of upcoming projects in post-production, according to his IMDb, titled Gingersnap Christmas and The Alpha System. Because they are both in post-production, Jake shouldn't have any upcoming scheduling conflicts that could affect his time on Chicago Fire. On the other hand, due to NBC budget cuts reported by Deadline, it's possible that several series regulars, such as Carver, could get downgraded.
"One Chicago and Law & Order franchise producers Universal Television and Dick Wolf’s studio-based Wolf Entertainment also are trimming talent costs after reaching an agreement with NBC on budgets that will keep the series on the air for another season," Deadline reported. "I hear episodic guarantees — the number of episodic fees per season each series regular is entitled according to their contract — are being renegotiated and are going down across the board."
Could these cuts affect Jake's time on Chicago Fire? Say it ain't so!
Catch new episodes of Chicago Fire Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.