Off to med school! Annie Ilonzeh, who played paramedic Emily Foster on Chicago Fire, will not be returning for season 9, a source confirms to Us Weekly. Ilonzeh’s exit marks the second shocking departure during season 8 as Otis (Yuriy Sardarov) was killed off in the season premiere.
Illonzeh joined the show as a series regular in season 7, replacing Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) when she exited the show. During the Wednesday, April 15, season finale of the NBC drama, Foster revealed that she had re-applied for med school and landed an interview with admissions.
While her best friend on the show and fellow paramedic, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), was annoyed that she hid the news from her, by the end of the episode she fully supported her.
It’s safe to assume that Brett will be devastated when Foster leaves the firehouse, especially since she already lost her first partner and former best friend, Gabby. Raymund, 33, announced she was exiting the show in May 2018 after seven seasons.
“I am so thankful for the journey and especially to all of you for watching, but I have made the decision that it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter in life,” she wrote via Instagram in May. “I’ll always be proud to have played a fierce paramedic with such an incredible cast and crew. On to the next! See you on the ice.”
Luckily, she returned as a guest star sporadically throughout the next two seasons.
Chicago Fire, as well as Chicago Med and Chicago P.D., were forced to air early finales of their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. While each show had planned three more episodes, they were not able to continue the season.
“We were just about to start two major storylines in the next three episodes that would have had the fans cursing over the summer, ‘HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?'” cocreator Derek Haas told Us Weekly exclusively about the original plans for the end of season 8. “We’ll save it for next season.”
As for where next season will pick up, they’ve yet to figure that out. “We’re really not sure how we are going to begin season 9,” the writer added. “We usually don’t figure that out until June.”