Chicago Fire interview: Derek Haas on Monica Raymund’s fall finale return

Chicago FireWednesday night marks the Chicago Fire season 8 fall finale, and all signs suggest that this one is going to be huge! How can it not be, given that Monica Raymund is returning as Dawson? This marks her first on-screen appearance in more than a year, and her appearance is sure to stir up all sorts of feelings in Matt Casey. Just the sight of her visiting Otis’ memorial in the promo is emotional in itself! Rest assured, that’s a jumping-off point to so much more.

As we lead up to the big episode, now feels like the perfect time to check in with showrunner Derek Haas! In our interview below, Haas discusses the process of getting Raymund back for this episode, plus also the oh-so-curious title of “Best Friend Magic” and (of course) whether or not there will be a cliffhanger. Check back with CarterMatt after Wednesday’s episode for part 2 of the interview, where we go through many of the episode’s big moments.

CarterMatt – What was the process like getting Monica back on the show? Is this something you went to her with a while back?

Derek Haas – Yes. Back in June when we were first breaking the season, we knew we had the death of Otis and the memorial where Boden said ‘if you see someone standing down here, whether it’s a firefighter, a friend, or a neighbor, walk down and bring this memorial to life.’ That image of Dawson standing at the memorial and Casey walking down and having a growing realization of ‘is it? Yes, it’s Gabby’ — that is what we started with from a storytelling standpoint.

We pitched that to Dick [Wolf] and he loved it and was fully on board. I reached out to Monica way back in June and then again in September, saying that we wanted her for this. Thankfully, she agreed.

So, I imagine that for Casey, seeing her again after so long is going to be a shock to the system.

Yeah. Here is this woman who was the love of his life for a long time, and someone who we as an audience got to see for six seasons on the show. I think a lot of the feelings that he’s feeling, including ‘what am I going to do to keep a fortress around my heart while she’s in town,’ is the great conflict of this episode.

One thing we wanted to make sure we did was give an honest betrayal of what it’s like when your true love walks back through the door. All of the emotions and the roller-coaster you go through, we wanted Casey to go through.

‘Best Friend Magic’ is the title of this episode, and when I first saw it I admittedly thought of My Little Pony or something in that vein (laughs). It’s just so happy! How does that title apply to this episode?

We always do our titles from dialogue. It’s hilarious that you say that, because my two head writers Andrea [Newman] and Michael [Gilvary] made fun of me so bad for that title. I think they had the same My Little Pony reaction. Gilvary even drew a pony on the cover of the script. I’ve been mercilessly ridiculed for that title, but I stand by it and I think it’ll have a beautiful payoff.

Finally, and I of course have to ask, will there be a cliffhanger?

There will be. We are Chicago Fire. We not only expect cliffhangers, we embrace them. If we do it correctly, our audience is furious going into the winter break.

Related News Be sure to get some more information now regarding Chicago Fire!

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