Chicago Fire season 7 preview: Life after Dawson

Chicago Fire navigates life after Dawson this season. Find out what you can expect from the new Chicago Fire season in our Chicago Fire season 7 preview.

Monica Raymund may have left Chicago Fire, but her presence is very much felt when the new season begins next Wednesday.

The primary storyline in the Chicago Fire season 7 premiere, called “A Closer Eye,” is about how Gabriela Dawson’s absence affects the people she left behind at Firehouse 51.

It’s been a few months since Dawson was asking about traveling to Puerto Rico, and fans find out that she accepted the position and left Chicago—leaving her loved ones in an emotional lurch.

Her husband Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) is keeping their now long-distance relationship alive through texts and phone calls, but it’s clear that things aren’t as rosy as they used to be for One Chicago’s first couple.

It’s interesting to see Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney), he of the long list of love interests, now the one in a stable relationship and giving advice to Casey.

But it’s not just Casey who’s affected by the lack of Dawson. Chicago Fire also focuses on her partner, Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), who was similarly caught off-guard by Dawson’s departure and does not want to work with someone else.

Too bad that Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh, best known for playing one of the Angels in ABC‘s 2011 Charlie’s Angels remake) is coming whether she likes it or not.

Foster is bright and bubbly; she’s the Brett to Brett’s Dawson, essentially flipping the character dynamic on Ambulance 61. While audiences don’t get to know her too well, she has definite potential, even if her entrance is a little too over-the-top cute.

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The other major storyline in Chicago Fire season 7 is actually a continuation of what happened in the second portion of season 6, as the new regime in the fire department begins to make life a lot harder for Firehouse 51.

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Jerry Gorsuch (new recurring guest star Steven Boyer, from the NBC comedy Trial & Error) is assigned to take a closer look at the house, much to the irritation of Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), who knows the gig is meant to undermine him.

It’s the same “Firehouse 51 vs. superior officers” material that Chicago Fire has shown us with a not so short list of characters: Grissom, Anderson, Pridgen. So far, Gorsuch is just another white shirt with a bad attitude.

Where the new season makes up for all that and truly shines, though, is in its tribute to DuShon Monique Brown, the beloved recurring cast member who passed away earlier this year after heart issues. Not only does Chicago Fire explain what happens to Brown’s character Connie, but the way that’s handled doubles as a more than fitting tribute to Brown herself. There won’t be a dry eye in the house, and it’s easily one of the most moving moments in the show’s entire history.

The seventh season begins more dealing with the past than starting new storylines, so it’s hard to gauge the new season just yet. But where it matters most, Chicago Fire delivers what the viewers need, even if it’s not necessarily what they want.

For the latest Chicago Fire season 7 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Fire category at One Chicago Center.