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Is Eamonn Walker Leaving Chicago Fire? Chief Wallace Boden's Leave Of Absence, Explained

Over the years, a number of actors have left "Chicago Fire" for various reasons, and some of them have been pretty major names. With that in mind, it's only understandable that fans may get worried whenever a prominent character seems to be inching their way toward the exit door. And now, after "Chicago Fire" Season 12, Episode 9, "Something About Her," Eamonn Walker's Wallace Boden seems to be in this sort of situation.

There's no information indicating that Walker is exiting the show for good, but the possibility of Chief Boden leaving the series behind seems more real than ever. In "Something About Her," the character chooses to take a leave of absence in order to be more available for his adopted son, James (Juan Lozada). Though his discussion with Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) implies that he doesn't expect to be gone too long, the true severity of James' money troubles and tenant issues doesn't seem like an issue that will be easily solved. As such, Boden's departure might turn out to be longer than the character anticipates.

Boden is arguably as close to a true backbone character as an ensemble show like "Chicago Fire" can get, having presided over Firehouse 51 since the very beginning of the "One Chicago" franchise. As such, Walker leaving the show would be monumental, but until the actor's potential departure is officially announced, it may be safer to assume that Boden is simply going on a little side quest that will give other Firehouse 51-centric arcs some room to breathe.

Boden still has an enemy to vanquish

This is not the first time the question of Eamonn Walker possibly leaving "Chicago Fire" has arisen. Still, despite his upwardly mobile career path, Boden has remained an integral part of the show throughout its 12 seasons. 

Granted, "Chicago Fire" Season 12, Episode 9 seems to effectively sideline the character for family reasons, but there's one simple thing that strongly suggests Boden's story is far from over — his beef with Laura Allen's Paramedic Chief Jude Robinson. Season 12, Episode 8 features a serious confrontation between the two first responder chiefs over a major promotion, and while Robinson loses the battle, the episode makes it extremely clear that she's now after Firehouse 51 and Boden. 

Allen's power-hungry Robinson is a brilliant hate sink of an antagonist, and since she's still out there making plans, it seems unlikely that "Chicago Fire" and Boden would part ways before this particular arc gets a satisfactory solution. As such, Boden's time off with James may very well be a way for the show to allow Robinson to run rampant for a while ... until Boden makes his dramatic return to face his Season 12 nemesis.