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When Chicago Fire came to a close for its sixth season, viewers were shocked to witness Jesse Spencer's Matt and Monica Raymund's Gabby getting into an extremely serious argument where it was revealed that the couple couldn't naturally conceive a child together, leading Gabby to seek employment in Puerto Rico. The shocks kept coming when Raymund officially announced she would be leaving the NBC hit ahead of Season 7. Now, showrunner Derek Haas has revealed how heavily Gabby's absence will affect things when the show returns.
It is a big blow to the marriage. The same frustration and lack of understanding that I think our audience is going through, so is Casey. It's not going to be just one episode that he's going to be dealing with the ramifications of her having taken this gig.
As ultimately disappointing as it will be to lose Monica Raymund and Gabby for Chicago Fire Season 7, fans can at least take comfort in knowing the show's creative team won't be unfairly throwing the character under the bus for those marriage problems. As well, nothing is being swept under the rug and ignored as a way to avoid the topic, which would have been a cheap way to handle the departure of a character we've been spending primetime with for six years.
Derek Haas made it clear to TVLine that within this emotional story, the automatic solution won't just be to write the characters into a big divorce. In fact, the writers spent quite a bit of time readying themselves to handle the relationship problems. In Haas' words:
A realistic thing happens sometimes when a partner in a marriage takes a long-distance job, and so then you have to deal with a new reality to your relationship. That's what Casey's dealing with. We actually did a lot of research about the modern long-distance relationship, and how those are dealt with and/or overcome and/or fraught with danger.
In the case of Gabby and Matt, the dangers that can result from such a break-up would likely happen on the job. If Matt is en route to a big fire, and he can't stop thinking about either that big argument or any that may have come after, then it could seriously affect his job performance, which could lead to a loss of lives. It's a similar situation for Gabby as a paramedic, where being distracted by personal circumstances can be a major hindrance in deescalating emergency medical situations. Stay safe, guys.