Skip to Content

Why Did Yuri Sardarov Leave Chicago Fire? Why Otis Left

Why Did Yuri Sardarov Leave Chicago Fire? Why Otis Left

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

Firefighting is a noble but also dangerous service, and NBC’s Chicago Fire doesn’t shy away from showing both sides.

After eight seasons of bonding with the characters on the show, the writer’s did the unthinkable and wrote off the beloved Brian “Otis” Zvonecek, played by Yuri Sardarov.

It was hard to watch Sardarov go after so many years, and many fans were left wondering why it happened. Find out below the surprising reason behind Yuri Sardarov leaving Chicago Fire and what he’s been up to since his departure.

Why Did Yuri Sardarov Leave Chicago Fire?

The showrunner for Chicago Fire chose to kill Yuri Sardarov’s character Otis Zvonecek to remind viewers of the high-stakes of the show.

Derek Haas, the showrunner for Chicago Fire, told TVLine in 2019 that they wanted to kill off a major character so it would have the most impact on the viewers.

Haas said he spoke to the head writers, saying “We gotta put some teeth back into the show, and we gotta show that the dangers are real.”

Chicago Fire character Brian 'Otis' Zvonecek

When he told executive producer Dick Wolf that he wanted to kill off Otis, Haas says that Wolf told him, “As long as you’re honest with the storytelling, the audience will go with you.”

They considered killing off a newer character like Ritter, played by Daniel Kyri. But, in the end, they decided it wouldn’t have the same impact. “It almost wouldn’t be the same situation or effect, because he [Ritter] was such a new character that the audience would think, “Oh, we were just doing that intentionally from the beginning,” because it wouldn’t have had the stakes that it would have if it were a core cast member.”

So, Yuri Sardarov, the actor for Otis Zvonecek, didn’t necessarily want to leave the show. However, according to Haas, Sardarov understood the decision. “I called Yuri and told him what we were going to do, and I’ve never had a call as professional and as gracious.”

“[…] He’s a writer himself, and he understands that you, as a writer, have to surprise the audience and give them something that they weren’t expecting. Plus, he’s at the beginning of his career, and this isn’t his swan song by any stretch.”

Fans and Cast Reactions To Leaving

Yuri Sardarov said farewell to Chicago Fire fans on Instagram, and they returned the sentiments tenfold.

Sardarov wrote “Thank you for the greatest 7 years of my life” over a quirky goodbye poem on Instagram:

Some of his Chicago Fire costars posted their own farewells to the actor and character. “Love you brother,” commented Taylor Kinney (Kelly Severide) on the Instagram post.

Christian Stolte shared a picture of Sardarov, writing, “How lucky I have been. Seven years in a truck with this man.”

Fans also responded strongly to Sardarov’s departure, with one saying, “I’m crying […] Otis was my fav and will remain in my heart as the best Chicago Fire character.”

Elsewhere on the internet, other fans also expressed their sadness over Otis’s death on the show.

Although some were more angry than sad:

It’s clear that the writer’s decision to raise the stakes of Chicago Fire had the exact emotional reaction they hoped for.

What Is Yuri Sardarov Doing Now?

Yuri Sardarov was a guest star in two episodes of The Rookie and FBI: International.

In 2022, Sardarov appeared in two episodes of The Rookie on ABC: “Simone” and “Enervo.” The following year, he had a guest role in season 2, episode 18 of FBI: International, “Blood Feud.”

Since leaving Chicago Fire, Sardarov has also acted in three movies: Adam (2020), Amy and Peter Are Getting Divorced (2021), and Daddy (2023).

How Was Otis Written Off Of Chicago Fire?

Otis Zvonecek (Yuri Sardarov) died in a boiler explosion in the season 8 premiere.

“Sacred Ground,” the first episode of season 8, has Otis and his company fighting a fire in a mattress factory. A boiler explosion critically injures Otis, and he sadly dies at the hospital from his injuries.

Because Otis died and didn’t simply leave his firefighting team, it’s unlikely he’ll ever return to Chicago Fire. However, he could always appear in a flashback.