Could Monica Raymund leave Chicago Fire?

CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "The Grand Gesture" Episode 623 -- Pictured: Monica Raymund as Gabriela Dawson -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Could Monica Raymund leave Chicago Fire? The season finale cliffhanger involving Gabriela Dawson has fans wondering if the actress won’t return.

UPDATE (5/15/18): Monica Raymund has confirmed that she is leaving Chicago Fire.

Have we seen the last of Gabriela Dawson on Chicago Fire? Between a cliffhanger ending to last night’s season finale and recent media reports, that rumor has begun to circulate.

Having fought with her husband Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) over wanting to have their own baby despite an aneurysm that might kill her, and after getting an earful from partner Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), Dawson asked for more information about a job in Puerto Rico—but the finale ended right after she did, leaving fans hanging.

The cliffhanger was not helped by the fact that Monica Raymund‘s contract is up after Chicago Fire season 6, according to Deadline. She would have to negotiate a new deal to continue on in season 7, or she could choose to move on. The Deadline report says there’s “speculation” that she’s considering leaving, but it doesn’t provide any details beyond that.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the fact that Chicago PD just lost a main cast member less than 48 hours ago is likely on One Chicago fans’ minds when they look at Dawson’s cliffhanger. There’s no relation between the two situations, but it still puts characters leaving on the brain.

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So how realistic is the idea of Gabriela Dawson leaving Chicago Fire, or is this just the show giving us another good scare coupled with the rumor mill?

Let’s first look at what happened in the episode. The first thing to do is state the obvious: there have been three previous cliffhangers dealt with this season (we’re counting the resolution to the season 5 finale), in which it turned out that absolutely nothing bad came to pass. The worst thing that happened out of any of them was that Dawson’s father was in the hospital for an episode.

So just because Dawson is thinking of leaving doesn’t automatically mean it’s a serious possibility. It means she’s thinking of leaving, which means she’s also thinking about not leaving.

And even if she wants to leave, the other option is that Chicago Fire does another time jump between seasons, and we find out that she went to Puerto Rico for a few months before coming back to Firehouse 51—again making this a non-issue.

There is that third possibility that Dawson is permanently gone, but that seems like the most logically improbable of the three based on what we have seen to date.

Now that we know our options, there are two sides from which we have to evaluate Dawson’s future—the story side and the off-camera side—and let’s break them both down after the jump, including the video of Dawson and Casey’s season finale fight.

From the perspective of the Chicago Fire writers’ room, season 7 without Dawson is a very hard thing to crack. She’s just too much a part of the show to write around. She’s one-half of the main ship (which is also a fan favorite ship); she’s the lead paramedic; she is and has always been the most prominent female character. If she’s not there, a large section of fans will get very upset.

That’s before you try to figure out how to write it within the show. Even though Dawson seems to be alienated from the closest people in her life right now (except her brother), would we really buy that she’d up and leave her husband and her job permanently? If she said she needed some time away—like a separation—that’s one thing. That, again, could happen between seasons.

But we’re talking about the character not coming back at all, and it seems unrealistic that she’d just split up with Casey and move away. Not after these two chased each other for seasons and when they’ve had similar disagreements about their lack of communication before. This one is particularly bad, but it’s not a new issue in their relationship. As Casey pointed out, the divide in their decision-making goes back to the Louie storyline, at least.

So while what Dawson went through in the finale was very tough, there’s not anything here that can’t be overcome or anything that particularly suggests she is gone for good. In fact, there’s a lot more reasons to say she’ll be back.

Plus, how do you write Casey without Dawson? (Per the Deadline report, Jesse Spencer already has a contract for Chicago Fire season 7.) This isn’t like Chicago PD where you can kill someone off and so there’s a natural way to move on. Chicago Fire has written Dawson and Casey so closely together for so long that now the show has a problem if it were to break them apart.

All of this is moot, though, if Monica Raymund makes the decision not to renew her contract. Like Sophia Bush and Brian Geraghty, it’s completely up to her and if she wants to do other things, we have to respect that—after all, six seasons and more than 120 episodes is a lot of time for anyone to play one character. Should she want to leave, the show needs to let her go, thank her for all that she’s put into Chicago Fire and just make the best of it.

The Deadline report is just speculation so without some proof or direct comment from Monica (who hasn’t said anything on social media about Dawson’s fate), it’s hard to put too much stock in the idea that Thursday was her last episode. It may make the cliffhanger more buzzy, but there’s no concrete reason to worry.

It will likely be months before we have any clarity on Dawson’s future. We may or may not hear publicly if Monica Raymund re-ups for more seasons; sometimes that news breaks and other times it doesn’t (see how Sophia Bush was planning on leaving well before it came out that she was).

Stars and shows aren’t obligated to say anything on social media about contract negotiations either. And obviously, we won’t see the resolution to that cliffhanger until September.

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So could Monica Raymund leave Chicago Fire? Yes, there is that possibility for the sole reason that she doesn’t have a contract for next season yet.

But the show has every reason to want her back and a history of psyching us out, so let’s not get too worried just yet and wait to see what develops over the summer before we start being too concerned about Gabriela Dawson.

Next: What we've learned from Dawson and Casey

Do you think Monica Raymund is leaving Chicago Fire and we’ve seen the last of Dawson? Give us your thoughts on that cliffhanger in the comments.

Chicago Fire airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.