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Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of Chicago Fire. Look away if you haven't watched yet!
Anyone who's seen the Season 7 premiere of Chicago Fire knows that we got a resolution to the relationship cliffhanger involving Monica Raymund's Gabby Dawson and Jesse Spencer's Matt Casey that we were treated to in last season's finale. While it wasn't the ending any Dawsey fans wanted for the long-running couple, Gabby and Matt decided to part ways, with her taking a permanent, full time job working with the relief efforts in Puerto Rico. But, why did the show decide to wrap her story up the way it did? Now we know. When I spoke with the show's executive producer, Derek Haas, at One Chicago Day a few weeks ago, he revealed that how the story wrapped up was, well, basically his fault. Here's what he had to say:
That took a lot of wrangling. Basically, I screwed that one up. Monica told me, in particular, that she was going to be leaving after Season 6. But, in my head, I thought it was just negotiating. Like, 'Oh, ok. This is what they say when it gets close to the end of the season.' Then I remembered that it's Monica, and she's brilliant at planning out her career and has ambitions beyond acting. And, then I realized, 'Oh, shit. She's actually doing this.'
So, while all of us, Derek Haas included, would have loved to see Gabby and Matt ride off into the Chicago sunset together, with Jesse Spencer deciding to sign on for another season, and Monica Raymund committed to leaving her paramedic jacket behind, the show wasn't left with a lot of options. Of course, all of that was compounded by the fact that Haas and his writing team hadn't been feverishly working out a way for a better resolution to Gabby's story, especially with regards to her marriage to Matt.
All the "wrangling" Haas mentioned had to do with the moments of the premiere that likely came as quite a shock to many fans: when we got our last looks at Monica Raymund in character. She had two scenes as Gabby where she talks to Matt, once in a video call, and, during the final moments of the episode, in person. Haas had a very different ending in mind for this story, but once he fully realized that Raymund wasn't coming back, he had to come up with a new plan.
We had this idea she was going to Puerto Rico to help with the relief effort there, but it wasn't supposed to be the end. In my head, Casey was going to go back and get her, and then we'd go on with Season 7. I basically begged her for one more episode so I could at least, [well] it may not be the ending everybody wants, but [give] some type of more satisfying, more real conclusion to what their characters are.
I can appreciate that Derek Haas fully shoulders the responsibility for the way Gabby and Matt ended on screen, and at least did all he could to make sure we weren't left up in the air with concern to their relationship. This might not have been the ending most Chicago Fire fans wanted for them, but can you imagine if she were in Puerto Rico and we only heard half-hearted things about she and Matt as the season went on...or nothing at all? That may have sucked even more.