Chicago Fire’s Annie Ilonzeh promoted to series regular

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Going to War" Episode 702 -- Pictured: Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Going to War" Episode 702 -- Pictured: Annie Ilonzeh as Emily Foster -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire has officially named Annie Ilonzeh as Monica Raymund’s replacement, making Emily Foster a series regular in Chicago Fire season 7.

The expected Chicago Fire casting change has finally been made official.

NBC confirmed on Thursday that Annie Ilonzeh, brought aboard as new paramedic Emily Foster, is a series regular—after she was originally announced as a recurring guest star.

Ilonzeh makes her first appearance in Wednesday’s Chicago Fire season 7 premiere, when Foster comes to Firehouse 51 to fill in for the absent Gabriela Dawson (Monica Raymund).

Since One Chicago fans already knew that Raymund left the series after her contract expired and wasn’t coming back, perhaps NBC decided to just make official what viewers were already almost certain was going to happen.

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This practice isn’t uncommon in TV, where some actors are officially referred to as recurring guest stars instead of regulars for a number of reasons.

The most recent example is Philip Winchester, who was referred to by NBC as a recurring guest star when he joined Law & Order: Special Victims Unit last season—so as not to spoil the reveal that the former Chicago Justice star was replacing Raul Esparza.

There are also cases where a character is brought in as a recurring guest star with the plan being to make them a regular, but sometimes that doesn’t always work out.

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When Tracy Spiridakos joined Chicago PD in season 4, she was a recurring guest star and then promoted to series regular for season 5.

But over on Chicago Fire, both Warren Christie (Scott Rice in season 3) and Kamal Angelo Bolden (Jason Kannell in season 5) were cast as recurring guest stars with the option to become regulars, and neither actor actually made it to the main cast. In fact, neither have been seen on the show again.

In the case of Annie Ilonzeh, naming her a series regular was pretty much a given, because of the way Chicago Fire is set up. Both paramedics need to be on the show each week, because they are a team; it would be odd if Emily Foster was just not seen while she was supposed to be on a call.

And Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) can’t ride on the ambulance alone, because how would she treat patients effectively on her own? She can’t drive the rig and take care of the patient at the same time.

So why not just say Ilonzeh was a regular when she was cast? NBC may have thought it was a spoiler to say that Foster was replacing Dawson, not realizing that fans had already spoiled that on their own. Or maybe there was something contractual that needed to be worked out.

Whatever the reason, the network has confirmed One Chicago’s worst-kept secret and now when audiences meet Emily Foster next week, they’ll know that she’s sticking around permanently.

Next. Read our Chicago Fire season 7 preview. dark

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