Why Nick Gehlfuss Left Chicago Med After 8 Seasons

Actor Nick Gehlfuss has revealed the reasoning behind concluding his long-running starring role on "Chicago Med." Gehlfuss portrayed the character Dr. Will Halstead for over 160 episodes of "Chicago Med" from 2015 to 2023. Over the years, he additionally played this role on certain episodes of the series "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Fire." In a 2016 chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Gehlfuss spoke about the rare opportunity of being able to act in three different shows of a franchise. 

"That's what makes this whole franchise so unprecedented. They're seamlessly intertwined; it's synergy at its finest," Gehlfuss said of the three series. "An actor, when they get on a TV show, they're unavailable because they have no time, but here you get to book other jobs on top of that like going to the other shows. It's a dream come true, really." Us Weekly wrote in May 2023 that Gehfluss' last episode of "Chicago Med" had been released, and his leaving had taken place following a total of eight seasons with the show. Amid this episode airing, Gehfluss detailed that he walked away from the well-known part because he was ready for a new chapter. 

Nick Gehlfuss says he went 'as far as [he] can go' as Halstead

Nick Gehlfuss stopped portraying Dr. Will Halstead on "Chicago Med" due to the amount of time he'd been playing the same part. In May 2023, Gehlfuss chatted with Variety about the tough choice to move on from the role after nearly a decade of embodying the character. "It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, I felt I'd taken Dr. Halstead as far as I can go with him," Gehlfuss said. He added, "I think that comes down to a creative part of you, or the energy or spirit you have that you're either built for a very long time with one person or not." 

The performer went on to note his interest in the range of opportunities that the acting world has to offer. "I am attracted to the profession for the variety in it, and eight years is a long time," Gehlfuss said. Gehlfuss additionally opened up to TVLine about wrapping up filming for his final episode of "Chicago Med," which included Halstead resuming his relationship with Dr. Natalie Manning, played by Torrey DeVitto. During one touching scene in the episode, per One Chicago, Halstead bid farewell to the Gaffney emergency department. "The last scene I shot was saying goodbye to the entire ED, and it was a really emotional day, of course, but so beautiful at the same time," Gehlfuss said. Costars and viewers have expressed their sadness in seeing Gehlfuss go.

Nick Gehlfuss is missed by the Chicago Med cast and fanbase

As Nick Gehlfuss concluded his time as Dr. Will Halstead, the "Chicago Med" family shared their deeply felt emotions over this departure. His cast mate Marlyne Barrett posted a photo of herself and Gehlfuss on set via Instagram after his "Chicago Med" finale. Barrett captioned the post with the heartfelt message, "It wasn't an easy goodbye...Big Red.. you will be missed." One fan commented, "He surely will be missed. One of my favorites." Another added, "Won't be the same ... But good luck to him on his next journey..."

During his May 2023 TVLine interview, Gehlfuss touched upon the fact that he and "Chicago Med" executive producers and showrunners all agreed that the door should be left open for Halstead to potentially make a return to the series at some point in time. "This universe has become so big, and these shows are going to go on for a long time, and who knows what would make sense in the future?" Gehlfuss said. "We all wanted to preserve that possibility, and I was happy that they were on the same page with that."