Things are changing at Firehouse 51. At the end of Chicago Fire season 6, Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) decided to take a job in Puerto Rico, leaving her husband Casey (Jesse Spencer) and her job as a paramedic behind. Shortly after the finale, Raymund announced that she was leaving the show – a decision that cocreator Derek Haas did not see coming.
“I was shocked by it. She told us in plenty of time to adjust story lines, but I was in denial. In all honesty, I thought she was just negotiating. I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Haas told Us Weekly exclusively ahead of the season 7 premiere.
He continued: “I was thrown off. I probably didn’t do the best job of writing the ending story line. In my head, she was still gonna come back and in my head, I’m still gonna talk her into it at some point.”
Raymund is part of NBC’s Female Forward Directors Initiative, a master class that helps women take on directing. She’s currently shadowing a director on Law & Order: SVU, Haas shared, noting that he will always support her.
“In all honesty, there’s nothing Monica can’t do. I’m very excited watching this part of her career, but at the same time, if she wants to come back to Firehouse 51, we will accommodate her story line wise and production wise,” he told Us.
When season 7 returns, the reactions of Casey will mirror that of the fans, Haas said.
“We’re gonna do a time jump to a couple months later and Casey is going to be going through, pretty much what our audience is going through – frustration, disappointment, anger, unresolved feelings,” Haas noted. “There’s going to be talk of how quick she left and how long it’s been and what is happening.”
Casey will also find comfort in his best friend Severide (Taylor Kinney), but don’t expect rooftop cigar chats this season.
“Severide’s in a good place in his life and he gives Casey maybe the talking to that he needs to do something about his situation,” he said. “Instead of a cigar chat, this year there’s going to be a boat chat!”
Chicago Fire returns to NBC Wednesday, September 26, at 9 p.m. ET.