CHICAGO FIRE Post-Mortem: Derek Haas on the 'Dawsey' Reunion, Fall Finale Cliffhanger, and that Heartbreaking Surprise - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHICAGO FIRE Post-Mortem: Derek Haas on the ‘Dawsey’ Reunion, Fall Finale Cliffhanger, and that Heartbreaking Surprise

November 20, 2019 by  

Chicago Fire Dawsey reunion

CHICAGO FIRE — “Best Friend Magic” Episode 809 — Pictured: Jesse Spencer as Matthew Casey — (Photo by: Adrian Burrows/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the CHICAGO FIRE fall finale, “Best Friend Magic.”]

Gabby Dawson (Monica Raymund) returned to CHICAGO FIRE…and the sparks with Casey (Jesse Spencer) followed.

Though Casey was originally hesitant about spending time with his quasi-recent ex, he agreed to go to a gala with her—and it led to the duo spending the night together. (With the awareness it was a one-time thing.)

Things weren’t quite as good for Stella (Miranda Rae Mayo), whose burning out led to her causing a car crash—and an epiphany from Boden (Eamonn Walker) that he was pushing her further than it was healthy due to his own grief.

But Severide (Taylor Kinney) ended up in the worst position, as the episode ended with the new member of OFI cornered by an arsonist and a whole lot of flammable material.

So what comes next? Showrunner Derek Haas broke down the episode’s biggest moments and how it impacts the show going forward…

Once you got Monica to return, what was the internal debate among the writers on how far wanted to take that reunion with Casey?
We wanted to see through Casey’s eyes, where he knows that she’s only going to be back for a couple of days, too. So we really mirrored her return to what we thought the character is going through.

For Casey, it’s the love of his life and there’s a fortress around his heart that he put up. How do you knock those walls down? It’s seeing her in her element, now, and how much she’s respected in her field—that she’s the secret weapon of this organization and the joy that she has when she talks about her job. It doesn’t hurt she’s in a dress and the orchestra is playing.

But we started this whole thing with Otis’ memorial [in the premiere and that Boden speech] where if you see anyone standing there, I want you to walk down here and bring this memorial to life. And, and when I wrote that scene back in June, the image I had in my mind was Dawson standing in front of the memorial and Casey walking out, with the growing realization, “Oh my God, is this Gabby?” That’s where that originated.

Casey has mostly been okay, now, with the loss of Dawson, but for a bit of time, it was a roller coaster of emotions. How will he be bouncing back now that she’s gone again?
Yeah, I didn’t want him spun out about this. He says it to her in the room: just because you’re leaving, doesn’t make this a mistake. And I loved the little smile he’s got on his face as he’s leaving the hotel the next morning and then [hears] the voicemail from her. To me, he had a great weekend. It wasn’t like he’s all, “Oh my God, what have I done?” or “I’m spun out.” They were the loves of each other’s lives, and we, as an audience, got a front row seat to that for six seasons.

As of now, are there plans for Monica to return in the near future?
It’s up in the air. There’s no plans right now, at all, because I have no idea if Monica would do it again. I think she had a great time. And I’m such a pain in the ass, where I’m always asking; I would have her back in a second. But we have no plans. It wasn’t, we’ll do this and there’ll be consequences two episodes down. We knew it was a one-off.

So she’s not going to show up but the season finale pregnant or something like that?
No. [Laughs.] What? [Joking.] Okay, maybe now. [Seriously.] We have no plans for her to come back.

Looking to the cliffhanger, things don’t look so great for Severide. Does the series pick up immediately from that moment in 2020, and what comes next?
It’s one millisecond later. We just go right into the situation. But what we wanted to do—again, this little writers’ room, how the sausage is made—we were talking about the arsons and arsonists we’ve done in the past. And we’ve always had our guys or our gals have mental health issues, and we thought, how can we mix it up? Let’s do something different. We thought, “Let’s do a arsonist for hire, a hardened contract criminal, who’s obviously just doing this for greed and because he’s a bad guy.” To me that’s more intimidating and scary than somebody who’s not fully there. So a great ending for me is anytime you’re trapped with a cornered rat who is dangerous and they’ll fight to the death.

Certainly Severide’s no stranger to being in very dangerous situations. What’s his approach here with someone who is prepared to fight their way out?
And with flammable chemicals and a torch in the guy’s face. The great thing about Severide, and the scary thing about Severide, is he doesn’t get intimidated. So he’s gonna put this guy down whether his own life goes up or not, because justice has to be served. Severide’s not the kind of guy who says, why don’t we leave and we’ll settle this another day?

How does Stella’s figurative stumble impact her going forward? Will she be changing her approach to anything?
That was actually more of a Boden storyline that morphed into a Kidd storyline, which came out of our desire early in the season to say that people have different levels of grief and ways of dealing with grief. It hits people in different ways and strengths and Boden needed a project. He needed, to himself, to justify that he’s a chief and he puts men in danger and so he made that project Kidd. And yes, we played it from Kidd’s POV a lot of times, but it was really a Boden story and that comes to a head in this episode, which I thought was a really well, directed scene when the crash happens.

Boden, it’s in that moment that Kidd is talking to Severide about pushing her body beyond the limits in the hospital that Boden clues in on that and it’s like, “Oh man, I owe you an apology for the way I pushed you.” That’s not going to stop her from ascending towards the leadership position; she’s a natural. Hopefully we get more and more seasons of CHICAGO FIRE and we get to keep watching this growth.

One of the beautiful things about the episode was the little Otis video, which led to the episode’s title. What was the origin of that?
That was planned at the premiere. I talked to Yuri [Sardarov, who played Otis], even before I wrote the premiere, and said I wanted to do this scene in the winter finale.

This came out of my own personal life. I was in college and my really great friend, Tommy Michaels, died in a car wreck between my senior year and graduate school. Of course it hit all of us, his friends, hard. And you grieve and you try to get on the other side of it. And then two and a half years later when I was graduating from grad school, I found this video camera—I was always carrying a camera around. And I didn’t know what was on the tape that was in the video camera. I plug it into the TV, and it’s this poker game, and people around the poker game are talking to me, because I was holding the camera. It’s like a close up of them, and then I swing around and there’s Tommy Michaels face, that I hadn’t seen since the day he drove off. And he’s talking to me [in the video], and, of course, I burst into tears. And I just held on to that story for 25 years. When we conceived this, I told Yuri that story and said I wanted to do this for the fall finale and he agreed.

I really loved the scene—Cruz has this thing in his life that he couldn’t fix. He wants to fix this drone, but he really wants to fix his whole life [and the loss of his best friend]. It was a sweet way to remind him that what they had was way beyond any small problem.

CHICAGO FIRE, Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC


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