Lauren German’s Leslie Shay is one of the most celebrated characters of NBC’s action series ‘Chicago Fire.’ Although she appears only in less than fifty episodes, Shay succeeded in captivating the ardent admirers of the show as a commendable paramedic and Kelly Severide’s roommate. Her bond with Kelly is one of the most heartwarming storylines of the show as well. Thus, it isn’t a surprise that the viewers were shocked to see her dead in the third season premiere. Shay’s death paved the way for Lauren German’s exit from the show as well. But why did German bid adieu to the action drama? Let’s find out!
Why Did Leslie Shay Leave Chicago Fire?
In the second season finale, a minor fire leads the firefighters and paramedics of Firehouse 51 to a five-story building. Gabriela “Gabby” Dawson, the paramedic in charge, asks Shay to take lead in the intervention since the latter is expected to replace the former once Gabby leaves the fire station. As they get involved in the emergency intervention, an explosion happens in the building and a collapsing pipe hits Shay, killing her. Shay’s death paves the way for the conclusion of Lauren German’s celebrated time in the show.
According to Matt Olmstead, one of the executive producers of the show, Shay’s death is a creative decision. The creative heads of the show wanted to kill off a character, seemingly to depict the stakes of the job, in the third season premiere and they chose a character who is beloved by the fans to have the maximum impact. “Going into it, we knew if we were going to do it, it had to be 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 explained the reason behind killing off Shay to TVLine.
In fact, the writers of the show did consider several other “candidates” for the death in the third season premiere. “In the writers’ room, we have [photos of] all the actors in character lined up just as a visual reference. We went down, one by one… It’s like a roster of a sports team when you’re having to make a cut. You’re having to weigh the pros and cons of each one,” Olmstead said in the same TVLine interview. Ultimately, Shay was picked since her death was expected to astound the viewers immensely. “We came back to Shay because it affected the most people,” he added.
German not only didn’t initiate her exit from ‘Chicago Fire’ but also accepted the creative decision with utmost professionalism. “There was some discussion that this might be happening, and she was very professional about it. She joked that she wasn’t going to miss the Chicago winters,” Olmstead told TVLine. “My experience, having done this a couple times, is you’re expecting the worst and then you’re relieved [by] the professionalism and the graciousness of the actor. They almost know that you’re feeling worse than they are,” he added.
Where is Lauren German Now?
After leaving ‘Chicago Fire’ after her appearance in the third season premiere, Lauren German returned to the show in the same installment as Shay, featuring in flashback scenes in Kelly Severide’s storyline. German appears in the fourteenth and nineteenth episodes of season 3. Even though German hasn’t been featured in the show since then, Shay is mentioned by Severide in different instances, especially to console Violet after the death of her partner Chief Evan Hawkins.
After her final appearance in ‘Chicago Fire,’ German joined the cast of FOX and Netflix’s fantasy series ‘Lucifer.’ In the famed show, the actress portrays Detective Chloe Decker, a homicide detective who sets out to solve crimes with the titular Lord of Hell in the city of Los Angeles. German co-performed the song “Another One Bites the Dust” for ‘Lucifer,’ which features in the tenth episode of the fifth season. Her uncredited performances for the same series include “Heartbreaker” in the fourth episode of season 2 and “Heart and Soul” in the ninth episode of season 1. Other than ‘Lucifer,’ German hasn’t appeared in any other productions yet. Apart from acting, she is also a regular painter who frequently spends her time with her parents and dog.