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The fall finale of Chicago Fire is fast-approaching, and it will deliver something that once seemed unlikely to ever happen: the return of Gabby Dawson. Monica Raymund is reprising the role of Dawson for the first time since departing in Fire's Season 7 premiere. Although Dawson is back to raise money for the relief organization she's working for in Puerto Rico, she'll also drop by Firehouse 51 to reunite with longtime flame and former husband Matt Casey.
How will these two interact once back together for the first time in nearly a season and a half? Will there be awkwardness or attraction or good old-fashioned friendship? Fans will have to wait until the Season 8 fall finale, called "Best Friend Magic," to find out for sure, but Chicago Fire showrunner Derek Haas chatted about Dawson's return with CinemaBlend, and he promised "the heat" between Dawson and Casey hasn't gone anywhere. Here's how he put it:
The goal was to touch base with her and see what the last year and a half has been like for her and to have Casey in close proximity to her, and to open up both their eyes in terms of the meaningful six years that they had on our show together, and more years beyond that. And to explore what their long distance proximity has meant to the heat that's still between them.
While Dawsey wasn't the only romance over the years of Chicago Fire, Dawson and Casey's love story has spanned more highs, lows, and seasons than any other. Dawson was crushing on Casey before the series even began, and it only took a couple of seasons for them to hook up. They even had their own theme! Bless Mouch and Trudy, but they definitely don't have their own twinkly theme to play over their scenes.
The departure of Monica Raymund meant an end to the Dawson/Casey romance... or so it seemed. Maybe there's still hope, since the heat hasn't died down despite a long separation and Casey exploring other potential relationships! The sparks are evidently going to be flying in the fall finale; will anything catch flame? (Other than actual fires, of course. This is Chicago Fire, after all.)
There are no reports at this point that Monica Raymund will be back for more than just this one episode of Season 8, which may not be conducive to Casey forgetting that flirtation with Brett to restart things with Dawson. Derek Haas also shared in his interview with CinemaBlend why the time was right to bring back Dawson:
It's always the right time to bring back Dawson, in my opinion, but you also didn't want waste it on an episode that doesn't have as much momentum building up to it, in my mind. So it just seemed smart from a storytelling standpoint to have it hit in the winter finale when we're going to have the most attention on the episode.
Why spend a Dawson appearance on an episode in the middle of one of the halves of the season? While the return of the former Chicago Fire leading lady would undoubtedly attract a lot of eyes no matter when it aired, bringing her back in the fall finale guarantees that a big episode will be all the more significant.
That said, the reunion of Dawson and Casey won't be the only storyline in the fall finale. In "Best Friend Magic," Severide will continue his stint at OFI by working to exonerate a wrongly convicted arsonist. Cruz revisits the loss of his best bud on a mission to fix one of Otis' old toys. Meanwhile, Kidd -- who may have bitten off more than she can safely chew thanks to taking an Academy teaching gig on top of her work at 51 -- pays the price for taking on so much.
And given that this is a Chicago Fire finale we're talking about, we shouldn't rule out a cliffhanger! If the episode does leave viewers hanging on the edges of their seats throughout hiatus, hopefully the resolution won't be as gruesome as what happened with the last cliffhanger. Losing Otis was hard enough!
See what happens on the Dawson and Casey front, as well as the rest of the ensemble, when "Best Friend Magic" airs as Chicago Fire's fall finale on Wednesday, November 20 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between the fall finale of Chicago Med (which will be a big one for Natalie) at 8 p.m. ET and the fall finale of Chicago P.D. (which will be a bloody one for Halstead) at 10 p.m. ET.